Four centuries ago, Louis XIII made the decision to build Versailles. The first stone was laid in 1624. “Returning to the origin is an element that allowed me to inspire this season, even if I move away from it to make people hear what has happened since,” says Laurent Brunner , director of Château de Versailles Spectacles, who signs the programming.
To all lord, all honor, in October he dedicated an evening to music under Louis XIII, an evening entrusted to Jean-Baptiste Nicolas. It evokes the consecration of Versailles as a royal residence. Louis XIV may well have overshadowed everything, Louis XIII had his composers and his musical tastes. The rest of the 400th anniversary celebration gives pride of place to one hundred and seventy years of music, between 1623 and the Revolution. And opens to the rest.
In the history of music at Versailles remain many masterpieces created for special occasions. Thus Platée, by Rameau, written for the marriage of the Dauphin, son of Louis XV, with the Infanta Marie-Thérèse, will be revived this year under the baton of Valentin Tournet. Also included, Les Boréades, by Vaclav Luks, rehearsed but never played due to Rameau's death. Or the Requiem by Campra, created in Paris in 1694 and this time entrusted to William Christie. “For the 400th anniversary, I also wanted to play a little different music: that of the Knight of Saint-George, a mulatto from Guadeloupe, composer, fencer, conductor, close to Marie-Antoinette. A considerable character who, compared to Mozart or Haydn, has disappeared from our shelves.” The violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte will perform his concertos.
Brunner also ventures into the history of opera, adds Monteverdi's L'Orfeo conducted by Savall and The Coronation of Poppea, Handel's Ariodante conducted by Christie, unearths rarities like Gasparini's Atalia, on the libretto inspired by Racine, given in the salon of Hercules. “I also wanted to program in concert what was given between the times of Lully and that of Rameau. Many new compositions were played at court. I like to entrust them to young performers who can give free rein to their talent in works that have not been hackneyed. The public is fond of the unknown facets of composers,” says Brunner, who has masterfully orchestrated the career launch of many young musicians.
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Versailles has several places that Catherine Pgard, president of Versailles and an experienced music lover, is proud to be able to open to concerts: the Opera for lyrical performances, the Royal Chapel for sacred music, and then, more marginally, rooms in the castle , Hall of Mirrors or lounges. This cosmos of the castle does not prevent Versailles from also shining elsewhere. With his orchestra which plays under his name, and which will accompany this year three new opera productions (Romeo and Juliet by Zingarelli, Don Giovanni and The Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart) and one dance production (Les Saisons by Thierry Malandain), Versailles has toured in France and abroad, including Hanoi, where he has just inaugurated the new Opera House, the Ho Guom Opera House.