Charpentier : Médée
Then came Médée… When Charpentier finally could compose an opera and have it performed in Paris in 1693 it was both a summit and a testament. After spending so many years spent prevented by Lully’s opera privilege to play anything else than pastoral compositions and religious music, Charpentier finally reached the opera stage when aged 50. He had already conquered the public with his Malade Imaginaire, the comedy-ballet created with Molière twenty years before.
Médée is Charpentier’s major work, the result of all his work on voice, an exceptional example of orchestral wealth, a magnificent drama due to Thomas Corneille’s libretto expressing Médée’s tragic and devouring fate: a masterpiece! However, the Parisians did not welcome Médée as it deserved, finding it not “fashionable” enough… so Charpentier gave up once and for all the idea of confronting the cabals, which made the Opera the source of all schemes! Médée remained Charpentier’s only opera and today still one regrets all the others he might have written if fate, politics and Lully had decided otherwise.
To revive this work in all its beauty, so prompt to move and charm us, more than three centuries after its creation, Marshal Pynkoski takes the Toronto Opera Atelier into the mysteries of French music of the 17th century, which he excels at revealing. It is a rare feast to see Médée on stage, Charpentier is still waiting for the performances his time did not grant him. What splendid music throughout…
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)
Opera in five acts and a prologue on a libretto by Thomas Corneille.
First performed on 4th December 1693 in Paris.
Production : Opera Atelier Toronto