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REPLAY. The Epics, Stéphane Fuget bring Monteverdi’s Orfeo back to life (summer 2022)

REPLAY, Culturebox. MONTEVERDI: Orfeo, The Epics – In replay until July 23, 2023. In the summer of 2022, Stéphane Fuget continues the Monteverdi Trilogy with Les Epopées ; and Valerio Contaldo in the role of Orfeo as well as young talents including Gwendoline Blondeel, Eva Zaïcik and Marie Perbost in the roles of Euridice, the Messenger and Proserpine.

With “The Orfeo”, Monteverdi signs the first great masterpiece in the history of opera (performed at the ducal castle of Mantua in 1607). A play in a new form, a perfect fusion between theater and music, where the madrigals of the shepherds still quote the Renaissance but where the dramatic construction, developing a henceforth coherent action, carries, expresses, articulates a passionate drama. The work poetically tells the most famous love story of Greek mythology : the poet and shepherd of Thrace, Orpheus attends helpless to the fatal sting that takes his beloved Eurydice, to hell. Out of love, guided by his sole passion, the bereaved lover dares to cross the Styx, then join the infernal world, where Pluto and his wife Proserpina reign. The power of his song moves even the stones and Pluto accepts that Orpheus brings back the deceased… It was counting without human fragility and the uncontrolled heart of the poet yet capable of all artistic gifts… isn’t he the glory immortal from Pindus? But Orpheus is human, too human and more cruel and barbaric will be his downfall…

For the 40th International Baroque & Romantic Opera Festival of Beaune, Stephane Fuget at the head of his orchestra The Epics, offers a new reading of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Concern for the verb and the language that is both expressive and intelligible, delicacy and violence also of an instrumental finery cut and controlled according to the accents and affects of the song, coherent architectural design, but also sumptuousness of the choral nuances,… Stéphane Fuget has already reformed our knowledge of Lully’s Grands Motets; he undertakes the same work at Monteverdi and questioning the very form of this “recitar cantando”, vocal style specific to the first lyrical essays. Between speech and song, Monteverdi intends to articulate, comment, express the breath of the text: because for him the music, instruments and song serve the action and the verb… the music is a servant of the text. Stéphane Fuget conceives of Monteverdi’s first lyrical language as an ample lament in which the tragic, powerless lyre of dispossessed man always pierces… Fortunately, like the two ex machina, Apollo (pulsating Cyril Auvity) recognizes in the hero who knew how to penetrate hells, his own son; his protective benevolence saves the poet in extremis and offers him an unexpected apotheosis, that is immortal life.

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SEE in streaming / REPLAY L’Orfeo de MONTEVERDI by Stéphane Fuget / Les Épopées (summer 2022, Beaune) on France tv / Culturebox, until July 23, 2023: https://www.france.tv/spectacles-et-culture/opera-et-musique-classique/3710767-l-orfeo-de-monteverdi-au-festival -international-of-the-baroque-romantic-opera-of-beaune.html

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Distribution :

Stephane Fuget direction
Choir and Orchestra Les Épopées

Valerio Contaldo: Orfeo
Gwendoline Blondeel: Euridice, La Musica
Eva Zaïcik: Messagiera, Speranza
Marie Perbost: Proserpina / Ninfa
Luigi De Donato: Caronte / Spirito
Luc Bertin-Hugault: Plutone / Pastore / Spirito
Cyril Auvity: Apollo / Spirito
Paul Figuier: Pastore / Spirito
Vlad Crosman: Pastore / Spirito / Eco

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Il-Ritorno-d-Ulisse-In-Patria epics fuget review cd review classicnewsREAD also our review of the cd Il Ritorno d’ULISSE in patria (Versailles, 2019) by Claudio Monteverdi, by Les Épopées and Stéphane Fuget: Révélés à l’église (in a dramatic and articulated reading of Lully’s Grands Motets / superlative cycle in progress in Versailles), the musicians of the Epics currently represent a homogeneous collective, particularly committed, of a sumptuous expressiveness – Sharp and unifying spirit, Stephane Fuget now tackles opera: its approach targets and questions the very heart of Monteverdian singing, this “recitar cantando” which, articulating an action, can only be declamatory and oratorical. It is necessary to find the right way which leaves the intelligibility of the song, its capacity to be audible and understood by the listeners / spectators. It is a specific work on the recitative: the voice articulates and declaims the text on an instrumental line [basse continue] reduced to the essentials, so as not to cover such a “recitar”, but to underline and reinforce its expressiveness.
There emerges a diversity of accents and nuances in the realization of this singing chant which sharpens the characterization of the characters, which clarifies the situations. This in a diversity of tones and intentions all the more appropriate as Monteverdi knew how to multiply and cross the different registers: comic, heroic, tragic, sentimental…

grands motets_Lully stephane fuget epics classic reviewnewsREAD too REVIEW, event CD. LULLY: Grands Motets VOL.1 (The Epics, Stéphane Fuget, 1 CD Château de Versailles Spectacles, 2020)“ – A SOMPTUOUS THEATER OF DEATH”… Faced with the 17th century manuscript, so fragmentary for the current interpreter, – how to restore here nuances, instrumentation, ornaments, bowings, tempos…?, so many elements which are missing on Lully’s manuscripts. Stephane Fuget asks himself the right questions and finds the right options for the realization of his Grands Motets, of which here is volume 1, “for the time of penance”. Beatings, tremors, hammering… are some of the effects inventoried, possible, proven on the historical level, that the leader of the Epics knows and uses with great finesse and often dazzling timing, .. a discernment that reveals how much he knows the repertoire and the sources of historical information (from Muffat to Bacilly… whose names dot the overly short introduction he wrote as an intro to the booklet). As a master of ornaments, the chef invites us to (re)discover Lully’s fervor, to reconsider him as an alchemist and goldsmith, here a great playwright of lacrimal lament through which the relief of words pierces. The great entertainer of the King also knows how to make the Court cry. This is clearly the case for the Dies Irae and the De Profundis played in 1683 in Saint-Denis for the funeral of Queen Marie-Thérèse. Lully pours torrents of collected sparkles into it, upsetting the musical tradition where we also know Robert, Dumont, Lalande, Desmarets…

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