Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)


Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)

Lyric tragedy in a prologue and five acts to a libretto by Philippe Quinault, first performed on 3 February 1680 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Véronique Gens : Cérès, l’Abondance
Marie Lys : Proserpine, la Victoire
Ambroisine Bré : Aréthuse, la Paix
Jean-Sébastien Bou : Crinise, la Discorde
Nick Pritchard : Mercure
Laurence Kilsby : Alphée, une ombre heureuse, un juge des enfers, une furie
Olivier Gourdy : Pluton
Olivier Cesarini : Ascalaphe
Deborah Cachet : Cyané, la Félicité, une nymphe
David Witczak : Jupiter, Suivant de Proserpine, un juge des enfers, une furie

Chœur de chambre de Namur
Thibault Lenaerts
: Choirmaster

Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset : Direction musicale & harpsichord

“This opera retales the famous story of the abduction of Proserpina. She is captured by the god Pluto and forced to marry him, thus splitting half her year between her husband and her mother Ceres. Lully and Quinault did not stop there with leading ladies, as they gave an important role to Arethusa, the beloved nymph of Alphée, whose plots are secondary but highly developed, and accompanied by absolutely magnificent music.
In fact, the orchestra is very much in demand in this work, unlike Atys for example, which is essentially an opera for continuo. So I’m delighted to reunite with Proserpine and that it will be our penultimate recording before the fulfilment of our project to record all of Lully’s operas, the last being Cadmus et Hermione.
Especially as the iconography is particularly developed on the theme, this is an opera from Lully’s “middle” period. I divide Lully’s creative periods into 3 distinct periods. His first period was marked by his continuo operas such as Alceste, Thésée and Atys, followed by his “middle period” in which Lully began to tackle more heroic themes, essentially drawn from mythology. In his last period, Lully developed the role of the orchestra much more, as in Roland and Armide, with a completely new dramaturgy in which the orchestra became one of the protagonists of the drama.”

– Christophe Rousset