Charpentier: Histoires sacrées
Marc-Antoine Charpentier is undoubtedly the 17th century composer with whom audiences of our time find the most affinities, as his direct and moving style speaks to us beyond the centuries. While it was difficult for him to develop his talents on the opera stage, he had wonderful opportunities to express his talent for drama in Histoires Sacrées, which he set to music along the model of Italian oratorios.
The heroines of his Christian dramas are Judith (who vanquished Holofernes) or Cecily (virgin and martyr): victims of biblical events, they confront injustice victoriously! The sinner Magdalene owes her redemption to her love of Christ: one of the most surprising ambiguities of Christian tradition…
These wonderfully inventive “sacred operas” (as Handel’s Oratorios would be) are interspersed with musical beauties, harrowing arias and magnificent chorales, deployed by Sébastien Daucé together with the director Vincent Huguet: they are indeed magnificently written to be performed as well as sung. Supported by sets and costumes suggesting distant biblical lands, this “show” reflects the “sacred theatre” taken to great heights by Jesuits, a premiere in Louis XIV’s chapel!
O Maria, Histoires Sacrées by Charpentier
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)
O sacramentum – O sacrement of devotion
Judith sive Bethulia Liberata – Judith or Bethulia freed
In odorem unguentorum – In the scent of your perfume
Magdalena Lugens – Magdalene in tears
Caecilia virgo et martyr – Cecily Virgin and Martyr
Sub tuum Praesidium – Protected by thy mercy
Coproduction: Théâtre de Caen and Abbaye de Royaumont