Experience the modern-day premiere of Rameau’s masterwork — Le Temple de la Gloire (The Temple of Glory) — fully staged as Rameau intended, for the first time since the opera’s 1745 premiere. The magnificent libretto is by Voltaire. The original manuscript is housed at U.C. Berkeley’s Hargrove Music Library, making Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall the ideal setting for three spectacular performances. This co-production with Cal Performances and Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles represents a collaboration years in the making.
The version of this ballet héroïque that has been heard up until now is the second version which was substantially changed by Rameau to take into account the Parisian public’s aversion to moral maxims, and their preference for love scenes. Voltaire originally wanted this to be a philosophical reform of opera: an allegory around the idea of the temple of glory, a grandiose spectacle with moral and political overtones. This original 1745 version is much more spectacular, and its originality in the history of Enlightenment Theater calls for a twenty-first-century restaging. And this is the version audiences will experience in April 2017.
RAMEAU Le Temple de la Gloire (The Temple of Glory)
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Gabrielle Philiponet, soprano
Chantal Santon-Jeffery, soprano
Camille Ortiz-Lafont, soprano
Artavazd Sargsyan, haute-contre
Aaron Sheehan, haute-contre
Philippe-Nicolas Martin, baritone
Marc Labonnette, baritone
New York Baroque Dance Company
Catherine Turocy, director
Bruce Lamott, director
Friday April 28, 8 pm | Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
Saturday April 29, 8 pm | Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
Sunday April 30, 3 pm | Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
The plot centers around admission qualifications to an allegorical Temple of Glory, to which Apollo and other representatives of peace, happiness, and virtue spurn a succession of applicants from classical antiquity who represent envy, tyranny, militancy, and debauchery. The contrast of these vices with their corresponding virtues invites a panoply of musical styles and characterizations: demons and muses, shepherds and warriors, priestesses and satyrs. In the end, only the Roman Emperor Trajan is admitted by the goddess Glory to her temple, after he shows magnanimity in freeing his conquered captives. For the French monarch, fresh from victory on the battlefield, the opera was a cautionary tale rather than the apotheosis he expected.