Armide 1778 by Lully / Francoeur

Coproduction Outhere Music, Centre de musique baroque, Le Concert Spirituel
With Alpha Classics

released 28 August 2020

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Hervé Niquet and the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles present here the revised version by Louis-Joseph Francœur, the great administrator of the Opera in the last quarter of the 18th century.

Véronique Gens, Armide
Reinoud Van Mechelen, Renaud
Tassis Christoyannis, Hidraot / la Haine 
Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Phénice / Lucinde
Katherine Watson, Sidonie / une Naïade / un Plaisir
Philippe-Nicolas Martin, Aronte / Artémidore / Ubalde
Zachary Wilder, Le Chevalier danois

Le Concert Spirituel, Choir and orchestra
Hervé Niquet, Conductor

Recorded by Manuel Mohino on April 2019 at Arsenal - Cité Musicale - Metz

Coproduction Le Concert Spirituel / Centre de musique baroque de Versailles

Scores realized and edited by Centre de musique baroque de Versailles

Lyric tragedy in 5 acts, premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in Paris on February 15, 1686 on the libretto by Philippe Quinault / Music by Jean-Baptiste Lully
1778 version reworked by Louis-Joseph Francœur

Armide, premiered in 1686, was the last joint work of Lully and the poet Philippe Quinault. It immediately became a pillar of the Opéra’s repertory, which it finally left only in 1766, when it was removed to make room for a new wave of composers, Philidor, Grétry, Gossec and soon Gluck. A few attempts to restore former tastes still allowed audiences to hear such works as Persée, revived in 1770 (and recorded in that version by Hervé Niquet, ALPHA967). But these operas were profoundly modified in order to increase the role of the orchestra and tailor the vocal numbers to the singers of the day. This was the context for the fascinating and unpublished version of Armide that has lain dormant in the Bibliothèque Nationale for more than two centuries. The revisions to the original are by Louis-Joseph Francœur, nephew of the celebrated François Francœur, one of Louis XV’s court musicians. This recording of the 1778 version of Armide, made at the Arsenal Cité Musicale-Metz (France) in collaboration with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, is not merely the first modern performance but the work’s world premiere, since none of its music was ever actually played at the time. It enables us to grasp the evolution of the ideas and practices of French music over a whole century.

teaser Armide 1778