Royal College of Music gives UK premiere of Rameau's Les fêtes d’Hébé
Wednesday 4 October 2017
A new collaboration between the Royal College of Music, Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris and the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles has culminated in a Rameau UK premiere. The RCM Baroque Orchestra and four singers from the College joined singers and dancers from the French institutions to give performances of Les fêtes d’Hébé in Paris and London.
The UK premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera, directed by Thomas Lebrun and conducted by Jonathan Williams, took place in the RCM’s Britten Theatre on 5 April 2017. It was the UK’s first staged production of the composer’s inventive and colourful opéra-ballet since the work first delighted Parisian audiences in 1739. The opera ran for two consecutive nights, delighting audiences and reviewers alike.
The London performances gained five stars from The Times and four stars from Classical Source and the Evening Standard, who praised the 'stylish singing and playing' of this 'accomplished production'. The Financial Times commented on the collaborative nature of the project, which it described as a 'pleasing example of European co-operation in harmony'. There were good reviews also from the Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express.
As part of the project RCM musicians also travelled to France to spend two weeks in Paris rehearsing and performing at the Opéra Bastille. RCM Junior Fellow Claire Williams, who played harpsichord in the project, said 'It was a fantastic experience to be involved in such an incredible project. We were made to feel very welcome during our time in Paris, and that we were truly an integral part of the collaboration. The icing on the cake was knowing that we were also giving the UK premiere - what an honour!'
Read a round-up of tweets about Rameau’s Les fêtes d’Hébé and our musicians’ trip to Paris on Storify.