Purcell: King Arthur
King Arthur, Henry Purcell’s true baroque gem, was a great and lasting success from its first performance in 1690, with its plot rich in drama and its colourful characters.
The story is that of the confrontation between the Christian King Arthur of Brittany and the Pagan King Oswald the Saxon. With the help of their sorcerers – Merlin on the good guys’ side and Osmond on the bad guys’ one – they fight for the crown of Brittany and the hand of the beautiful blind maid Emmeline. Love, honour and peace shall ultimately triumph, saved as if by magic.
This legend conducted by Hervé Niquet, one of the masters of this repertoire with his Concert Spirituel, is revived under the direction of Corinne and Gilles Benizio, alias Shirley and Dino, who combine poetry and fantasy without depriving Purcell’s music of any of its power: a caustic and fascinating performance which was met with enthusiasm by the public when it was created!
King Arthur of Purcell - Extract
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Semi-opera in five acts.
Libretto by John Dryden. Created in London in 1961.