Rameau was praised as "the Orpheus of our century" after the premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie. Experience the French composer's groundbreaking tragédie en musique in Jonathan Kent's 2013 Glyndebourne re-interpretation, starring Ed Lyon as Hippolytus, Christiane Karg as Aricia, and Sarah Connolly as Phaedra.
Jonathan Kent and William Christie's 2013 Hippolyte et Aricie was Glyndebourne's first-ever French Baroque opera production, and proved to be a smash hit, with critics declaring, "Few nights at the opera will be as rewarding as this one." (The Arts Desk) Kent's incredibly engaging modern staging intertwined with the cast's captivating interpretations of the titular young lovers' story and the masterful performance of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment led by the great William Christie.
1733 saw the Paris premiere of Rameau's first tragédie en musique, a collaboration with Montclair's librettist Abbé Simon-Joseph Pellegrin based on Racine's tragedy Phèdre. The new work proved incredibly provocative, dividing the musical world of mid-18th century Paris into Rameau's supporters (the "ramistes") and the traditionalist supporters of the old order represented by Lully (the "lullistes"). To 18th century French ears, Rameau's music seemed strange, dissonant, and even inhuman, not to mention unplayable. The controversy defined Parisian musical culture for the next 20 years, reviving each time Rameau produced a daring new opera.
Photo: © Glyndebourne