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Les fleurs of the third entrée are of course roses, which can still be savoured delectably in Iranian Shiraz. It is devised as an act of little drama but much misunderstanding, which is cleared up before anything catastrophic can occur. After the first performance, indeed, drastic alterations were made, as the Parisians had viewed with hilarity the spectacle of a transvestite hero. One of the pieces abandoned was a quartet of surpassing beauty, the only piece of its kind in all Rameau's œuvre. William Christie as musical director has rightly insisted on restoring it so that it can stand out as the high point Rameau originally intended [listen -- 'Tendre amour, que port nous ta chaîne', DVD2, Troisième entrée, chapter 7, 0:00-1:44].

A scene from 'Les Indes galantes'. Photo © Cosimo Mirco Magliocca
A scene from 'Les Indes galantes'. Photo © Cosimo Mirco Magliocca

Les sauvages was an afterthought from six months after the première; but its inspiration goes back more than ten years to the dancing in Paris of two American Indians, which Rameau commemorated in a harpsichord piece. It is now basic to the 'Pipe of Peace' ceremony that crowns the heroine's sensible choice of the noble savage rather than competing Europeans from France and Spain. Musically the crux of the matter is 'notes inégales'. Notes can undoubtedly be made more unequal than others, so much so in William Christie's view that Rameau's even quavers and marking of 'doux' (sweetly) can be hijacked from the libretto's 'peaceful forests' into the vibrant atmosphere of a Parisian disco and so provide copy for the 'Swinging Rameau' of the final documentary. The Adario of Nicholas Rivenq and Patricia Petibon's Zima, as also the orchestra and chorus of Les Arts Florissants, would triumph in any location [watch -- 'Forêts paisibles', DVD2, Nouvelle entrée, chapter 14, 0:00-1:32].

Copyright © 7 September 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


Jean-Philippe Rameau: Les Indes galantes

OA 0923 D 2xDVD9 NTSC 16:9 anamorphic region 0 (worldwide) LPCM stereo + DTS digital surround NEW RELEASE 244' 2003 LGM - Opéra National de Paris, 2005 Opus Arte

Danielle de Niese, Hébé; João Fernandes, Bellone; Valérie Gabail, L'Amour; Nicolas Cavallier, Osman; Anna Maria Panzarella, Emilie; Paul Agnew, Valère; Nathan Berg, Huascar; Jaël Azzaretti, Phani; François Piolino, Don Carlos; Richard Croft, Tacmas; Nathan Berg, Ali; Gaële Le Roi, Zaïre; Malin Hartelius, Fatime; Nicolas Rivenq, Adario; Christoph Strehl, Damon; Christophe Fel, Don Alvar; Patricia Petibon, Zima; Les Arts Florissants Orchestra and Chorus; William Christie, musical director; Andrei Serban, stage director; Marina Draghici, set and costume designer; Blanca Li, choreographer; Robert Wierzel, lighting designer

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764): Les Indes galantes - opéra-ballet in a prologue and four entrées (Le Turc généreux; Les Incas du Pérou; Les Fleurs - fête persane; Les Sauvages) (1735), libretto by Louis Fuzelier. Recorded live at the Opéra National de Paris - Opéra Garnier on 22, 24 and 25 September 2003. Extra features: 'Swinging Rameau' - a documentary analysis by Reiner E Moritz featuring interviews with William Christie, Nicolas Rivenq, Blanca Li, Andrei Serban, Paul Agnew and Patricia Petibon; Illustrated Synopsis; Cast Gallery; Biographies (William Christie; Les Arts Florissants)


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