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A distiller of harmony

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philipps Rameau’s operas comes to 'Dardanus', arguably one of his most inspired creations.

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philipps Rameau’s opera comes to “Dardanus”, arguably among his most inspired creations.
At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.

Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

Rameau was an innovator who found new ways of writing for different combinations of instruments and voices. Today Donald explores how he used this ability in his operas.

Overture to Dardanus
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 5)
Rossignols amoureux
Carolyn Sampson, soprano, a shepherdess
Ex Cathedra
Jeffrey Skidmore, director

Dardanus, (Prologue, excerpt)
Mireille Delunsch soprano, Vénus
Françoise Masset, soprano, Amour
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Dardanus (Act 1, Sc 3)
Entrée pour les Guerriers
Magdalena Kožená, soprano, 1stPhrygienne
Laurent Naouri, baritone, Anténor
Russell Smythe, baritone, Teucer
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Nouvelles suites de pieces de clavecin
Les tricotets
L’indifferente
La poule
l’enharmonique
l’égiptienne
Angela Hewitt, piano

Dardanus (Act 4, Sc 1)
Lieux funestes
John Mark Ainsley, tenor Dardanus
Les musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

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