Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Jean-François Marmontel (1723-1799)
Since first performed in 1751, Acante et Céphise has never been staged in France again due to its notorious difficulties. The Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Alexis Kossenko and Les Ambassadeurs have decided to take up the challenge!
Acante et Céphise is a neglected masterpiece by Rameau. It has a very original orchestral score, the first to feature a clarinet. The overture alone is a marvel of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness. A series of choruses, ballets and virtuoso ariettes drive the dramatic plot. Its heroes, Acante and Céphise, are shown to be the playthings of superior powers, Good embodied by the enchantress Zirphile and Evil by the magician Oroès. Commissioned to glorify the Bourbon dynasty and celebrate the birth of the future King Louis XVI, Rameau’s pastorale héroïque surpasses its role and reveals his consummate genius. Inspired by his favourite singers Fel, Jélyotte and Chassé, he produced a work of unparalleled modernity and complexity. Now, with a prestigious cast headed by the incomparable Sabine Devieilhe, this new production will appear at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, benefiting from the latest research findings by the CMBV.