Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse by Boismortier

A coproduction Région Lorraine

Recorded at the Arsenal de Metz on 6th and 7th June, 1996

Reedition of 1997 CD released in May 2007

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Ballet comique, on a libretto by Charles-Simon Favart (1710 - 1792), performed at the Royal Academy of Music, February 12, 1743

Stephan Van Dick Don Quichotte
Richard Biren Sancho Panza
Meredith Hall Altisidore
Paul Gay Le Duc, Merlin, Un Japonais
Marie-Pierre Wattiez Une Paysanne
Patrick Ardagh-Walter Montesinos
Akiko Toda Un Amant
Vrigitte Le Baron Une Amante
Nicole Dubrovitch Intendant de la Duchesse
Paul Médioni Le Traducteur
Anne Mopin Une Japonaise

Choir and Orchestra Le Concert Spirituel
Conductor Hervé Niquet

Producer: Dominique Daigremont
Engineer and editing: Manuel Mohino

"When the Musées Nationaux asked me in 1988 to illustrate the Fragonard exhibition musically, Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse was the obvious choice (Fragonard had illustrated the French edition of Cervantes' work). Thus Le Concert Spirituel was born again.
I had used for these performances the engraved edition of the work, produced by Boismortier for the general public. As usual, only the solo parts, the basso continuo and the first part on top are included. There must have been somewhere the version written for the orchestra of the Académie Royale de Musique, rich with parts for flutes, oboes, bassoons, and above all - which is the characteristic of the French "sound" - the "farce" composed of the haut-contres, tailles and quintes of violins. The manuscript simply slept in the Opera Library. When we decided to return this Don Quixote to its original version, it was necessary to adjust the orchestration of the first performances to Boismortier's revised score for the edition, which was tightened, dramatically stronger.
An eighteenth-century critic said that "poor Boismortier" could not musically develop an idea; certainly, but there are a hundred of them per page and, what's more, he is an eminently skillful theatrical man. How can you be bored for a moment when each short and brilliant aria announces another even more joyful one?
Yes, it is true, I have great affection for this work and its author! If I may express one wish, it will be that when listening to this record, Sieur Joseph Bodin de Boismortier has definitively ceased to appear to you as the composer of small works... "prout-prout ma chérie"!!
We would like to thank the Regional Council of Lorraine for its help with this crazy and carnivalesque project."

Hervé Niquet