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Special Oratorio Concert

WarsawPhil Ensembles
Kaspszyk / Kurzak / Rehlis / Alagna / Siwek
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Early Music Concert
Event type: Early music concert, Special concert
Hall: Concert Hall
Price: 50-120 zł

Following the death of Jean‑Babtiste Lully, the tragédie lyrique genre he had pioneered stagnated for several decades, and successive com­posers mainly copied templates they regarded as already perfect. The most important changes only came with the works of Jean‑Philippe Rameau. A Major distinctive feature of his operas was a synthesis of the elements of a traditional tragédie – recitatives, ariosos and airs – which in Rameau’s oeuvre formed a more consistent continuum, fully subor­dinate to the text. In addition, conventional orchestral interludes were transformed into wonderful symphonies, revealing great instrumental mastery. Another element that was both delightfully subtle and breaking with convention was the intimate, colourful and highly individual use of entrées de ballet – a mandatory feature of French opera. Naïs belongs to a sub‑genre of French theatre music, also derived from Lully’s tradi­tion, known as an opéra‑ballet, due to the accentuated role played by dance in it. It differed from the tragédie both in its structure, in that it usually comprised three acts compared with the standard five acts of the tragédie, as well as in the subject matter of the librettos, which were usually lighter in tone, and rather than originating from stilted mythical or epic stories were derived from pastoral poetry (such a variant was called a pastorale héroïque, e.g. Lully’s Acis et Galatée). Rameau’s work from 1749 bears the subtitle Opéra pour la Paix, and was written to cel­ebrate the Treaty of Aix‑la‑Chapelle, which ended the bloody War of the Austrian Succession. The libretto tells the story of Neptune’s love for the titular nymph, one of the Naiads, and his fight for her against the mortals (resolved through divine intervention, to the detriment of the mortals). It serves as a pretext for a full range of highly sophisticated musical, theatrical and ballet devices, which delighted aristocratic audiences in the times of Louis XV.

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