BEMF’s pair of Louis XIV tributes are amusement healthy for a king

In the summertime of 1685, France was ready to rejoice. The earlier calendar year, Sunlight King Louis XIV had signed the Truce of Ratisbon, which ended the War of the Reunions against Spain and the Holy Roman Empire and introduced France a welcome respite. The truce would not last: In 1688, Louis commenced what turned the 9 Years’ War. But in 1685, Paris was pleased to be at peace, and the Sunlight King’s ministers have been eager to exhibit their gratitude and courtroom his favor. Two of the yard-bash entertainments developed in his honor that 12 months, Jean-Baptiste Lully’s “Idylle sur la Paix” and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “La fête de Rueil,” fashioned the invoice for the Boston Early Audio Festival’s yearly Thanksgiving weekend chamber opera presentation, and, as regular, BEMF presented enough motive to give thanks.

Though every single 40-moment piece is established in a pastoral utopia, with French shepherds celebrating Louis as the king of the gods, the two choices did not delight in the exact same achievements. The Marquis de Seignelay experienced splendid temperature for the celebration he threw at his château at Sceaux on July 16, and Jean Racine wrote the verses for Lully’s prolonged cantata, which consists of music for dancing. The Duc de Richelieu experienced to be material with a textual content penned by “Une Personne de Qualité” for Charpentier’s more remarkable entertainment he was hoping to entice Louis to Rueil with the promise of a lifestyle-dimension equestrian statue of the Sunlight King, but the statue got delayed, the fête received delayed, and Louis at some point decamped to Fontainebleau without having ever hearing “La fête de Rueil.” Charpentier himself in no way heard the piece it was not carried out in his lifetime.

“Idylle sur la Paix” led off Saturday at Jordan Corridor. During the lilting Overture from the BEMF Chamber Ensemble, Seignelay (James Reese) and Richelieu (Jason McStoots) enter from reverse wings and interact in a staring match as they circle each and every other, potentially hoping to choose who has the most extravagant wig. Seignelay, of program, is the host Richelieu is presumably examining out the party to see how his personal impending affair can major it.

Teresa Wakim appears as the Princesse de Conti, followed by the relaxation of the vocal ensemble — Mireille Lebel, Danielle Reutter-Harrah, Aaron Sheehan, John Taylor Ward, and Jonathan Woody — as courtiers portraying straw-hatted shepherds, in costumes that ended up painstakingly investigated and made, absolutely everyone hunting at Seignelay’s grounds in apparent appreciation. They sing of the delights of peace, whereupon the Goddess of Peace (Caitlin Klinger) enters, in a stunning gold cone of a cape, and dances with an olive branch. Woody’s deep, resonant bass-baritone introduces Roman war goddess Bellona (Julian Donahue), who’s resplendent in silver breastplate, purple-and-black-striped pantaloons, and black plumes. Peace and Bellona encounter off, Peace prevails, and the ensemble details out that Louis obtained this superb respite by defeating his enemies, incorporating, in a self-serving nod to Seignelay, that the gardens of Sceaux do not displease the Sunshine King. The BEMF Dance Firm, Klinger and Donahue becoming joined by Sonam Tshedzom Tingkhye and Shaun Ferren, intersperses the largely choral singing with gracious and sprightly minuets and other Baroque dances, rounding off the leisure with Lully’s “Chaconne pour Madame la Princesse de Conti.”

“La fête de Rueil” might not have verses by Racine, but the “Personne de Qualité” really wrote a meatier textual content, one particular that affords BEMF’s achieved performers the likelihood to act as perfectly as sing. The solid includes swains and region girls, shepherds and shepherdesses, Egyptian women, satyrs, and the god of shepherds, Pan. Watering can in hand, shepherdess Iris (Reutter-Harrah) declares in a crystalline soprano that although she loves the meadows and the birds and the gardens, she doesn’t love relationship. That’ll pose a issue for her downcast suitor, shepherd Tircis (Sheehan). An Egyptian female (Lebel, implausibly costumed and overacting hilariously) tries to steer Iris toward Tircis, but however her loaded mezzo and Tircis’s warm, sweet tenor are tricky to resist, Iris maintains that “our sheep will eat the wolves” prior to she offers in.

Tircis’s endeavours are interrupted very first by a leaping satyr (Ferren) and then by the arrival of Pan (Ward), and he hardly ever manages to recommence his suit, Iris dodging him during the subsequent dancing. Pan’s costume is the most outlandish of all, with what search like pine needles or porcupine quills representing his goat horns. Now tipsy, now sleepy, he has terrible breath and has to be cued by Richelieu as he reminds absolutely everyone that they are right here to proclaim Louis the best of kings. Lastly the extensive-awaited equestrian statue arrives, in a box, and it’s a attractiveness, even if it’s only 6 inches tall. The Princesse de Conti retains it aloft as she floats the concluding hymn of praise.

No praise could be also large for this production’s sunny, unforced singing, its comedian performing, its light-footed dancing, or the luxurious lilt of the BEMF Chamber Ensemble. Saturday’s efficiency was suit for a king.

This overview has been up-to-date to proper a misidentification of who played the leaping satyr.


“Idylle sur la Paix,” by Jean-Baptiste Lully, and “La fête de Rueil,” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Offered by the Boston Early Tunes Festival. Musical way: Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs. Stage direction: Gilbert Blin. Choreography: Melinda Sullivan. Costumes: Gwen van den Eijnde. Lighting: Kelly Martin.

At Jordan Hall, Saturday, Nov. 26. (BEMF will stream it for two weeks at starting Dec. 12.)

Jeffrey Gantz can be attained at [email protected].