• Didon
    Didon
  • Véronique Gens
    Véronique Gens

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 7.30pm
Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Véronique Gens Didon
Reinoud van Mechelen Enée
Thomas Dolié Mars, Iarbe, L’Ombre de Sichée
Marie Perbost Anne, La Renommée
Judith Van Wanrooij Vénus, Barcée, Une Nymphe, Une Carthaginoise, Une Dryade
Marie Gautrot La Magicienne, Une Dryade
Marine Lafdal-Franc Une Nymphe, Une Carthaginoise
Nicholas Scott Mercure, Arcas, Un Carthaginois, Un Faune, Une Furie, Un Plaisir
Guilhem Worms Jupiter, Acate, Un Carthaginois, Un Faune

Hervé Niquet, conductor
Le Concert Spirituel, choir and orchestra

Coproduction Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Le Concert Spirituel, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Lyrical tragedy in one prologue and five acts (1693)

In 1693, Henry Desmarest (1661-1741), a 32-year-old composer and former page of the Royal Chapel of Versailles, was in the news when his tragedy Didon was premiered: he had just revealed that he was the true author of the music of Nicolas Goupillet, sub-master of music of the Royal Chapel of Louis XIV. The deception ridiculed the monarch, his music and the competition that had made it possible ten years earlier to renew the official composers. While the success of the opera certainly benefited from the scandal, the failure of the powerful cabal that was set up to remove it from the stage confirms that the public immediately knew how to appreciate the quality of the work. This allowed the Académie Royale de Musique, which had been orphaned since the death of Lully and Quinault, to start afresh. The work has an undeniable personality. If it is strongly inspired by Lully's model of Armide, it emancipates itself from it by a new sense of drama and above all by a musical writing which owes much to the other great models of the composer, in particular Henry Du Mont and Marc-Antoine Charpentier (sources Centre de musique baroque de Versailles).

Hervé Niquet à propos de Didon de Desmarest