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4.1.06

Baroque Music in Versailles

The Centre de musique baroque de Versailles is always doing excellent work, creating editions of historical music and hosting performances of Baroque music. This fall, the center hosted its annual Baroque festival, dedicated to the music of Jean-Marie Leclair. The highlight was a concert performance in the Versailles royal opera theater of Leclair's opera Scylla et Glaucus (1746), by Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques, reviewed in French by Viet-Linh Nguyen for ForumOpera.com. Now that the CMBV's musical autumn has concluded, what will they be doing next. An article by Jean-Louis Validire (Les menus plaisirs du baroque à Versailles, December 30) in Le Figaro filled me in (my translation):

In the Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs du Roy, where the Estates General were held in 1789 and that now harbors the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles more comfortably, its director, Hervé Burckel de Tell, already has Marin Marais on the brain. [...] Mozart Year oblige, the center will sacrifice the necessary commemoration but with its own personal touch. The season will be organized around three main periods that will incorporate the town of Versailles by using the Hôtel de Ville and the Manège. The Baroque festival will take place only in Versailles. In October, the Marin Marais Days will stretch into the capital with the performance of an opera at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. To develop the festive side of music at Versailles, a «picnic day» will be organized for a concert in the château. Finally, in November, other concerts will evoke the year 1778, the year the Mozart experienced the musical brilliance of Paris.

Beyond the festival period, the centre is planning to extend its lodgings to improve its ability to work. Installed since 1996 in the Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs, it has used the former Salle du clergé [Room of the clergy] of the Estates General to house a library that is the most important in the world for French music. It plans to transform the former Salle de la noblesse [Room of the nobles], today occupied by administrative buildings, into an auditorium. The Salle du tiers état [Room of the third estate], which had been temporarily built at the time, no longer exists. By completing the restoration of the whole building, the center would conclude, in pursuing its expansion, a patrimonial objective that would undo the outrages perpetrated on the buildings in the 19th century. Beginning in January, a large multifunctional rehearsal hall for choruses, orchestras, and dancers will be created, with a working organ soon to follow.
Having been to some of the CMBV's concerts, I can tell you that they are excellent. I wish they were televised. Not that PBS would carry them.

2 comments:

Ténébreux said...

I don't know if you're aware that a few of the CMBV's concerts have been shown on French television, and committed to DVD.
The DVDs are available from Amazon (at least UK and France) and from FNAC (French cultural products and electronics retailer, whose site is www.FNAC.com).

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks for the information, Ténébreux. Once again, it's clear that I need to move to France. I'll look for some of those DVDs on my next trip to France. I can play the European zone DVDs on my laptop, if not on my DVD player.