17th December 2010
filmed by Olivier Simmonet
for ARTE Live Web
Running time: 02:57:17
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687)
Robert Getchell - Bacchus, La Pythie
Evgeny Alexiev - Pan, Jobate
Jean Teitgen - Apollon, Amisodar
Cyril Auvity - Bellérophon
Céline Scheen - Philonoé
Ingrid Perruche - Stenobée
Jennifer Borghi - Argie, Pallas
Namur Chamber Choir
director: Thibaut Lenaerts
Les Talens Lyriques
conducted by Christophe Rousset
"One could say that all Paris was there, and never was there a more numerous nor more illustrious assembly. I hear from all sides the cry of 'miracle'. Each one agrees, M de Lully has outdone himself and this latest work is his masterpiece." This was the reception for the creation of Bellérophon, heroic tragedy in honour of the Sun King, on the 31st January, 1679. Regularly staged up until 1773, the work has since sunk into oblivion.
The libretto of Bellérophon is a landmark in the history of French opera. The mix of comic and tragic genres, hitherto assiduously practiced by Quinault, is totally rejected. French lyric tragedy is liberated, and the increased importance given to the music itself is another feature of this work: for the first time ever, arias and recitatives accompanied by the full orchestra predominate. This method was taken up by the immediate successors of Lully (Colasse, Desmarest, Marais, Campra). In Bellérophon, Lully in places surpasses anything he had written up to then, especially in the second and third acts: the appearance of Pythia and the magic rites are treated in vast frescoes of sound, where the orchestra and the choir combine to create a particularly impressive monumental whole.
Bellerophon was until now the only tragic opera by Lully not to have been performed since the revival of the French Baroque in the early 1980's: this happens now in 2010 under the baton of Christophe Rousset.