Les Indes galantes (The Amorous Indies)

Synopsis

 

Prologue

Scene: The palace of Hebe in the background and her gardens in the wings

Hebe, goddess of youth, summons her followers to take part in a festival (Air: Vous, qui d'Hébé suivez les lois). Young French, Spanish, Italians and Poles rush to celebrate with a series of dances, including a musette. The ballet is interrupted by the noise of drums and trumpets. It is Bellona, goddess of war, who arrives on the stage accompanied by warriors bearing flags. Bellona calls on the youths to seek out military glory (Air and chorus: La Gloire vous appelle). Hebe prays to Cupid (L'Amour) to use his power to hold them back. Cupid descends on a cloud with his followers. He decides to abandon Europe in favour of the "Indies", where love is more welcome.

 

Entrée I - Le turc généreux (The Generous Turk)

Scene: The gardens of Osman Pasha bordering the sea

Osman Pasha is in love with his slave, the young Émilie, but she rejects him, telling him she was about to be married when a group of brigands abducted her. Osman urges her to give up hope that her fiancé is still alive (Air: Il faut que l'amour s'evole) but Émilie refuses to believe this is true. The sky turns dark as a storm brews; Émilie sees the violent weather as an image of her despair (Air: Vaste empire des mers). A chorus of shipwrecked sailors is heard (Chorus: Ciel! de plus d'une mort). Émilie laments that they too will be taken captive. She recognises one of the sailors as her fiancé Valère. Their joy at their reunion is tempered by sadness at the thought they are both slaves now. Osman enters and is furious to see the couple embracing. However, unexpectedly, he announces he will free them. He too has recognised Valère, who was once his master but magnanimously freed him. Osman loads Valère's surviving ships with gifts and the couple praise his generosity. They call on the winds to blow them back to France (Duet and chorus: Volez, Zéphyrs). The act ends with celebratory dances as Valère and Émilie prepare to set sail.

 

Entrée II - Les incas du Pérou (The Incas of Peru)

Scene: a desert in Peru with a volcano in the background

Carlos, a Spanish officer, is in love with the Inca princess Phani. He urges her to escape with him but she fears the anger of the Incas, who are preparing to celebrate the Festival of the Sun. Nevertheless, she is prepared to marry him (Air: Viens, Hymen). The Inca priest Huascar is also in love with Phani but suspects he has a rival and decides to resort to subterfuge, Huascar leads the ceremony of the adoration of the Sun, which is interrupted by a sudden earthquake. Huascar declares this means the gods want Phani to choose him as her husband. Carlos enters and tells Phani the earthquake was a trick, artificially created by Huascar. Carlos and Phani sing of their love while Huascar swears revenge (Trio: Pour jamais). Huascar provokes an eruption of the volcano and is crushed by its burning rocks.

 

Entrée III - Les fleurs (The Flowers)

First version.

Scene: The gardens of Ali's palace
Prince Tacmas is in love with Zaïre, a slave belonging to his favourite Ali, even though he has a slave girl of his own, Fatime. Tacmas appears at Ali's palace disguised as a merchant woman so he can slip into the harem unnoticed and test Zaïre's feelings for him. Zaïre enters and laments that she is unhappily in love (Air: Amour, Amour, quand du destin j'éprouve la rigueur). Tacmas overhears her and is determined to find out the name of his rival. Fatime now enters, disguised as a Polish slave, and Tacmas believes he has found Zaïre's secret lover. Enraged, he casts off his disguise and is about to stab Fatime when she too reveals her true identity. It turns out that Zaïre has been in love with Tacmas all along just as Fatime has been in love with Ali. The two couples rejoice in this happy resolution (Quartet: Tendre amour) and the act ends with the Persians celebrating the Festival of Flowers.

Second Version.

Sultana Fatime suspects her husband Tacmas of cheating on her with Atalide; she therefore disguises herself as a slave, succeeding in gaining Atalide's confidence and eventually recognises her suspicions are groundless. The happy couple take part in the Festival of Flowers.

 

Entrée IV - Les sauvages (The Savages)

Scene: The stage shows a grove in a forest in America, on the borders of the French and Spanish colonies, where the ceremony of the Peace Pipe is about to be celebrated

Adario, a Native American, is in love with Zima, daughter of a native chief, but he fears the rivalry of the Spaniard Don Alvar and the Frenchman Damon (Air: Rivaux des mes exploits, rivaux des mes amours). The Europeans plead with Zima for her love, but she says Damon is too fickle and Alvar is too jealous; she prefers the natural love shown by Adario (Air: Sur nos bords l'amour vole) and the couple vow to marry (Duet: Hymen, viens nous unir d'une chaîne éternelle). The act ends with the Europeans joining the natives in the ceremony of peace (Chorus: Forêts paisibles).

Program and cast

Creative Team


Music : Jean-Philippe Rameau

Libretto : Louis Fuzelier

Conductor : Leonardo García Alarcón

Director : Clément Cogitore

Choreography : Bintou Dembélé

Set design : Alban Ho Van

Costume design : Wojciech Dziedzic

Initial costume concept : Tim Van Steenbergen

Lighting design : Sylvain Verdet

Musical dramaturgy : Katherina Lindekens

Dramaturgy : Simon Hatab

Chorus master : Thibault Lenaerts


Orchestre Cappella Mediterranea
Chœur de chambre de Namur
Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine / Chœur d’enfants de l’Opéra national de Paris


Cast


Hébé : Sabine Devieilhe

Bellone : Florian Sempey

L'amour : Jodie Devos

Osman : Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Émilie : Julie Fuchs

Valère : Mathias Vidal

Huascar : Alexandre Duhamel

Phani : Sabine Devieilhe

Don Carlos : Stanislas de Barbeyrac

Tacmas : Mathias Vidal

Ali : Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Zaïre : Jodie Devos

Fatime : Julie Fuchs

Adario : Florian Sempey

Damon : Stanislas de Barbeyrac

Don Alvar : Alexandre Duhamel

Zima : Sabine Devieilhe

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Paris Opera - Opéra Bastille

Opéra Bastille
A great modern theatre
The Opéra Bastille is the work of the Canadian-Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, who was chosen in November 1983 after an international competition that attracted entries from some 1,700 architects. The theatre was inaugurated on July 13th 1989.
Its architecture is marked by transparent façades and by the use of identical materials for both the interiors and the exteriors.
With its 2,700 acoustically consistent seats, its unique stage facilities, its integrated scenery, costume and accessory workshops, as well as its numerous work areas and rehearsal rooms, the Opera Bastille is a great modern theatre.
Stage facilities

Orchestra pit, mobile and adjustable, can be covered; at its largest it can house 130 musicians
Main stage, 45 m high, 30 m wide, 25 m deep, made up of 9 elevators allowing several levels to be created and supported by three main elevators, which bring scenery up from below stage
Clearing zones, 4 storage areas with the same dimensions as the stage
Backstage area, with its scenery turntable
Circulation area, scenery temporarily stored between the stage, workshops and rehearsal stage
Rehearsal stage, the Salle Gounod, with its orchestra pit and dimensions identical to those of the main stage

 

The building

Area at ground level: 22,000 m²
Floor area: 160,000 m²
Total height: 80 m (including 30 m below street level)

 

The auditoriums
The main auditorium

Area: 1,200 m², 5% of the total for the building
Dimensions: 20 m high, 32 m deep, 40 m wide
Number of seats: 2,703
Materials: blue granite from Lannelin in Brittany, pearwood from China, glass ceiling

 

The amphitheatre

Area: 700 m²
Depth : 21.4 m
Number of seats : 450
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona, staff ceiling

 

The Studio

Area: 280 m²
Depth: 19,5 m
Number of seats: 237
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona and pearwood

 

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