Tragédie lyrique in a Prologue and Five Acts (1730 version)
Music by André Cardinal Destouches (1672-1749)
Libretto by Simon-Joseph Pellegrin (1663-1745)
The joint residency project with Les Ombres, the Ambronay Festival and the CMBV culminates in an original production of Detouches’ opera Télémaque with the CMBV choir Les Chantres, which required considerable editing and re-writing.
Les Ombres, directed by Sylvain Sartre and Margaux Blanchard, joined the residency project in 2020, resulting in three French Baroque concerts and a recording of grands motets by Royal Chapel music master Gervais. For this final collaboration, the ensemble decided to stage a new production of Télémaque, an opera by André Cardinal Destouches. For the occasion they have brought in the CMBV choir Les Chantres and selected students from the ‘En scène !’ project.
Although Télémaque is less well known than the composer’s Issé or Callirhoé, it was one of his personal favourites. He found it profoundly tragic and moving, underpinned by Abbot Pellegrin’s remarkable libretto. It was premiered in 1714, but was not performed again till 1730 at the Paris opera, when Destouches took the opportunity to rework it, incorporating new elements into its Lully-influenced score. Les Ombres chose to perform this edited version. The richly annotated source material allowed for a fresh interpretation of the work, although it was necessary to rewrite the missing middle sections (subsequently published by the CMBV).