Sunday July 20, 6:30 PM
New HANDEL work: La Servante Maîtresse de Pergolèse et la Querelle des Bouffons.
ARMA initiated the performance of the entire oeuvre of Henry Purcell as part of the Summer Operas in Brittany, beginning in 2002. Frédérique Chauvet and his artists offer audiences vibrant, modern pieces of powerful artistic integrity.
Since then Fairy Queen, A Tempest, King Arthur, the Best of Purcell and Queen Mary have confirmed the expertise of Frédérique Chauvet and his BarokOpera Amsterdam in this exceptional genre of music. Gluck’s L’Ivrogne corrigé and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro were also wonderful pieces, reaching large and enthusiastic audiences.
Four singers and six musicians play, sing and guide the spectator with narrative, dramatic and humourous texts in French. And this year, Arma is offering us Handel’s: La Servante Maîtresse de Pergolèse (The Servant turned Mistress by Pergolesi) and la Querelle des Bouffons (Quarrel of the Comic Actors).
The artistic concept :
The colourful personnage of the composer George Frideric Handel is the theme for this piece which bounces around Europe, allowing us to observe the musical rivalry between the French and Italian styles. It came to a head with the Querelle des Bouffons when a performance of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona provoked a literary firestorm. Beyond the complete performance of this brilliant, joyous piece, the evening will also feature pieces by Handel, Lully and Rameau.
The success of The Best of Purcell and more recently Queen Mary, gave the company the idea of creating two new programmes in the same vein in 2014 and 2015. This particular kind of creation, opera and musical theatre, has also been extremely popular with audiences and critics alike.
Having traveled through the second half of the 17th century with Best of Purcell and Queen Mary, the 2014 production will deal with the period from 1702 to 1760: little by little music has opened up, it is no longer reserved only for the monarchy. New musical forms emerge to amuse the bourgeoisie in its constant social climbing.
It is Handel himself will be at the eenter of the work. We begin where Queen Mary ended in 1702, with the death of William III, the “placeholder” who became King of England. In a wink to Purcell, the piece begins with one of Purcell’s last odes, the one composed for the presumed successor to the throne of England. Then we are at the Court of Queen Anne, where Handel, who has just composed his first Italian opera, Rinaldo, is adored. The first half of the 18th century was dominated in Europe by the musical rivalry between the French and Italian styles, climaxing with the “Querelle des Bouffons” in Paris from 1750 to 1752. Passionate pamphlets were exchanged between the partisans of the conservative French style of Rameau and Lully, with their affected, elitist Lyric Tragedies, opposed to those espousing the Italian style, whose opera buffa, Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona would be the chosen symbol. The Italian style is defined as a more natural style, close to the people. And the bourgeois were participating more and more in the musical world as either spectators or sponsors, and their young daughters were learning to sing or playing chamber music …
In the first part, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht will be mentioned, an important European event which marked the end of the wars of Louis XIV. Sections of Handel’s Te Deum and the Grands Motets of Rameau, which were composed for the event, will be played. After that an excerpt of Armide, Lully’s masterpiece, will be played, a piece that was reprised in 1715 in the Hague, one of the only cities in the Netherlands where opera was not prohibited.
The second part will begin with Handel’s Serenade, composed in 1734 to amuse the crowds during the marriage of William IV to Anne of Hanover, Princess of England. And then the complete opera buffa, Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.
Frédérique CHAUVET, musical direction – Sybrand VAN DER WERF, theatrical direction – Jorine VAN KEEK, costumes et accessoires
– Soloists : Wendy ROOBOL, soprano – Caroline CARTENS – Gunther VANDEVEN, counter-tenor – Jost VAN VALZEN, tenor – Pieter HENDRIKS, baritone
– Musicians of the ensemble BarokOpéra Amsterdam (baroque instruments) : Frédérique CHAUVET, flute – Will WROTH, baroque trumpet – Jan Pieter VAN COOLWIJK, violin – Beto CASERIO, oboe – Robert SMITH, bass violin – Claude MENEUX POIZAT, harpsichord & organ.
Tickets 30 € full price, 15 € students, 10-18 years old, free for children under 10.
Performed OUTSIDE, weather permitting, in the great courtyard of the Château de la Ballue.