Les Arts Florissants



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The vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants is one of the most renowned and respected early music groups in Europe and around the world. Dedicated to the performance of Baroque music on original instruments, the ensemble was founded in 1979 by the Franco-American harpsichordist and conductor William Christie, and takes its name from a short opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Les Arts Florissants have been largely responsible for the resurgence of interest in France in 17th-century French repertoire as well as in European music of the 17th and 18th centuries more generally. This was repertoire which had, for the most part, been neglected (much of it unearthed from collections in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) but which is now widely performed and admired.

Since the acclaimed production of Atys by Lully at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1987, it has been in the field of opera where Les Arts Florissants have found most success. Notable productions include works by Rameau (Les Indes galantes in 1990 and 1999, Hippolyte et Aricie in 1996, Les Boréades in 2003, Les Paladins in 2004), Charpentier (Médée in 1993 and 1994), Handel (Orlando in 1993, Acis and Galatea in 1996, Semele in 1996, Alcinain 1999, Serse in 2003, Hercules in 2004 and 2006), Purcell (King Arthur in 1995, Dido and Aeneas in 2006), Mozart (The Magic Flute in 1994, Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Opéra du Rhin in 1995) and Monteverdi (the much praised The Return of Ulysses at Aix-en-Provence in 2000, revived in 2002, The Coronation of Poppea in 2005, and L’Orfeo at the Teatro Real de Madrid in 2008).

Photos credits: Guy Vivien

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