"Described as an Opera-Ballet in four Acts, Les Indes Galantes was Rameau's biggest stage success in his own lifetime, and one can understand why from this spectacular production, staged at the Paris Opéra in 2004. The director, Andrei Serban, presents the piece with the sort of lavish effects and movement that would have delighted 18th-century audiences…Outstanding among the soloists are Nathan Berg as Huascar…Anna Maria Panzarella as Emilie and Paul Agnew as Valere, with Joao Fernandez memorably in drag as Bellone. The final curtain brings an exuberant encore after the credits, with Christie hilariously joining in the dance.– The Penguin Guide
The Baroque music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, under Christophe Rousset's baton, performs Rameau's Les Indes galantes at the Opéra National de Bordeaux in a sensual and politically engaged production directed by Laura Scozzi, on the occasion of the festivities organized to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Jean-Philippe Rameau's death.
Rameau had the somewhat dubious fortune (in his own time, at least) to be such a powerful creative personality in the field of orchestral music that the quality of his dances sometimes overwhelms the operatic context in which he places them. From our point of view today, this hardly seems a liability, especially when it permits the performance of marvelous orchestral suites such as this from his various theatrical productions. Les Indes galantes (1735) contains some wonderful dance music, scored with the composer's usual imaginative flair.
For musicians of today, Rameau is often associated with the study of music theory.а His Traitщ de l'harmonie (1722) was incredibly influential Ч and controversial Ч in its new conception of the triad as an invertible entity.а While his critics often cited his theoretical background as making him unfit for composition, his considerable success as a composer of keyboard music and, later, opera called this accusation into question.
After a rather uninspired prologue as opening section according to Lully's five-part tradition, Rameau's ballet opera offers four different stories, each set in a different exotic locale. We get some idea of how Frenchmen conceived of the non-European world in the 1730s. The first story, "The Noble Turk," falls in line with Montesquieu's Persian Letters (1721) by suggesting that good character is more important than religious differences. This theme, alien to my own viewpoint and synonymous with the Enlightenment, led to an ideal of the Brotherhood of Man that dominated idealistic thinking for two centuries to come. The most remarkable of the four stories is the second, set in Peru at the time of the Spanish Conquest of the 1530s… By John D. Pilkey
Inspired by a fable by La Fontaine, Rameau produced perhaps his most brilliant music for his penultimate great work, blending reality and the surreal on several levels. This passionate new production by José Montalvo stunningly choreographed by Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu, sets new standards in entertainment, charm and ingenuity. The sharp and spectacular multimedia staging does full justice to Rameau's dazzling burlesque, confirming Olivier Rouvière's statement that ‘Les Paladins' is the last laugh of a witty 77-year old composer’. Recorded live in 2004 at the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet in true surround sound, both the virtuoso cast and Les Arts Florissants are in top form, clearly enjoying themselves in the masterful hands of William Christie.
"It's possible to recreate everything about an eighteenth century opera except the audience,’ says director Robert Carsen in a documentary included with this DVD. ‘My work is for modern audiences.’ And how…In this brilliant production, Carsen goes to the heart of the drama…Michael Levine's stylised, bold designs allow the story to unfold with gripping clarity and, remarkably, some of the spectacular set-pieces (especially the storm in Act III) work even better on DVD than in the theatre itself. Barbara Bonney is vocally and dramatically stunning as Alphise…Conductor William Christie responds to Rameau's varied and colourful score with élan, and Édouard Lock's choreography – a version of classical ballet deconstructed and then pumped with amphetamines – is breathtaking."– Classic fM - DVD Best Buy
Glossa continues its major contribution to the recording of the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau with a further ballet héroïque, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, directed by György Vashegyi and featuring accomplished ramistes such as Aurélia Legay, Emöke Barath or Mathias Vidal, and led by the incomparable Véronique Gens in the various vocal roles that appear in the Prologue and the three Entrées of this work.