The instrumental and vocal ensemble Les Talens Lyriques was founded twenty-five years ago by the harpsichordist and conductor Christophe Rousset. It owes its name to the subtitle of an opera by Rameau: Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739).


Proponents of a broad vocal and instrumental repertoire ranging from Early Baroque to emerging Romanticism, the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques endeavour to throw light on the great masterpieces of musical history, while providing perspective by presenting rarer or little known works that are important as missing links in the European musical heritage. Its musicological and editorial work is a priority for the ensemble, which has led to its great success with audiences and critics alike.


The works performed by Les Talens Lyriques range from Monteverdi (L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, L’Orfeo) and Cavalli (La Didone, La Calisto) to Handel (Scipione, Riccardo Primo, Rinaldo, Admeto, Giulio Cesare, Serse, Arianna in Creta, Tamerlano, Ariodante, Semele, Alcina), taking in on the way Lully (Persée, Roland, Bellérophon, Phaéton, Amadis, Armide), Desmarest (Vénus et Adonis), Mondonville (Les Fêtes de Paphos), Cimarosa (Il Mercato di Malmantile, Il Matrimonio segreto), Traetta (Antigona, Ippolito ed Aricia), Jommelli (Armida abbandonata), Martin y Soler (La Capricciosa corretta, Il Tutore burlato), Mozart (Mitridate, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte), Salieri (La Grotta di Trofonio, Les Danaïdes, Les Horaces), Rameau (Zoroastre, Castor et Pollux, Les Indes galantes, Platée, Pygmalion), Gluck (Bauci e Filemone, Alceste) and Beethoven, as well as Cherubini (Médée), García (Il Califfo di Bagdad), Berlioz, Massenet and Saint-Saëns. 


The recreation of these works goes hand in hand with close collaboration with stage directors and choreographers such as Pierre Audi, Jean-Marie Villégier, David McVicar, Eric Vigner,  Ludovic Lagarde, Mariame Clément, Jean-Pierre Vincent, Macha Makeïeff, Laura Scozzi,  Natalie van Parys, Marcial di Fonzo Bo, Claus Guth, Robert Carsen, David Hermann,  Christof Loy and David Lescot.


As well as the operatic repertoire, Les Talens Lyriques explore musical genres including madrigals, cantatas, airs de cour, symphonies, and also the vast corpus of sacred music (masses, motets, oratorios, Tenebrae lessons…). Varying in size from just a handful of musicians to a group of more than sixty, with representatives of almost every generation, Les Talens Lyriques give performances all over the world.


In 2017-18, the ensemble remains true to its musical identity, with French music in its various forms, sacred music, chamber music, vocal recitals and opera in concert. The programme includes works by Lully (Alceste), François Couperin (Les Nations, Les Apothéoses, Leçons de ténèbres), Charpentier (La Descente d’Orphée aux enfers and Noëls) and Campra (Requiem). The Franco-German focus enables Les Talens Lyriques to return to Gluck, with Orphée et Eurydice at the Capitole in Toulouse, and to take part in celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the death of Telemann with a programme entitled “Telemann and France”. And further expanding its repertoire, the ensemble will be presenting (in concert) the very first version of Gounod’s Faust.


Finally, this new season gives pride of place to stage productions: Mozart's Die Zauberflöte staged by David Lescot (Théâtre de Caen) and Rameau’s Pygmalion staged by Nathalie van Parys (Innsbruck). Then new productions: La Morte d'Orfeo by Stefano Landi, staged by Pierre Audi (Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam), and "Et in Arcadia ego", an operatic and choreographic composition staged by Phia Ménard (Opéra Comique, Paris).


Les Talens Lyriques have recorded about fifty titles, for the Erato, Fnac Music, Auvidis, Decca, Naïve, Ambroisie, Virgin Classics, Outhere and Aparté labels. The ensemble also created the much-acclaimed soundtrack for the film Farinelli (1994). One of the events of this new season is the t@lenschool project : three free applications for the discovery and practice of music, aimed at teachers, music schools, conservatoires and other musical institutions.


Since 2007, through an ambitious programme of artistic actions and innovative teaching initiatives, Les Talens Lyriques have been providing an introduction to music for young secondary school pupils.


Les Talens Lyriques are supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the City of Paris. The ensemble is also grateful for the generous support of the Friends of the Cercle des Mécènes and the Annenberg Foundation / GRoW - Gregory and Regina Annenberg Weingarten. Les Talens Lyriques are members of the FEVIS and PROFEDIM syndicates.


Please note that all modifications made to this biography must be confirmed with Les Talens Lyriques before it is printed. 


December 2017


Photo ©Eric Larrayadieu