The musical ensemble Les Talens Lyriques was created twenty years ago by the harpsichordist and orchestral conductor Christophe Rousset. This instrumental and vocal formation derives its name from the subtitle of one of Rameau’s operas: Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739).

 

The ensemble promotes a wide lyrical and instrumental repertoire ranging from Early Baroque to the dawn of Romanticism, seeking to throw light on the great masterpieces of the history of music by performing rare or unpublished works that are genuine missing links in the European musical heritage. This musicological and editorial work is a priority for the ensemble, earning it wide acclaim from both audiences and critics.

 

Les Talens Lyriques thus range from Monteverdi (LIncoronazione di Poppea, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, L’Orfeo), Cavalli (La Didone, La Calisto) to Handel (Scipione, Riccardo Primo, Rinaldo, Admeto, Giulio Cesare, Serse, Arianna, 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, Cosi fan tutte), Salieri (La Grotta di Trofonio, Les Danaïdes), Rameau (Zoroastre, Castor et Pollux, Les Indes galantes, Platée), Gluck (Bauci e Filemone) and Beethoven, and not forgetting Cherubini (Médée), García (Il Califfo di Bagdad), Berlioz, Massenet and Saint-Saëns.

 

The revival of such scores 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, Marcial di Fonzo Bo, Claus Guth, Robert Carsen or David Hermann.

 

In addition to the lyrical repertoire, the ensemble also explores other musical genres such as the madrigal, the cantata, the Air de cour, the symphony and the vast repertoire of sacred music (masses, motets, oratorios, Leçons de Ténèbres and much else), leading Les Talens Lyriques to perform everywhere in the world with forces varying from a handful of musicians to over sixty from all generations.

 

In the 2015-2016 season the music of France’s Grand Siècle will have pride of place with the presentation to audiences of Armide, one of Lully’s greatest masterpieces (Beaune, Philharmonie de Paris and Theater an der Wien), along with a programme in a more intimate style, “Musiciens de la chambre du Roi” with Judith van Wanroij, Charpentiers Noels (Versailles and Gdansk) and the programme devoted to Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray, which will bring together two viola players alongside Christophe Rousset on the harpsichord. Among the season’s other highlights we can point to the revival for Viennese audiences at the Staatsoper of Gluck’s Alceste in Christof Loy’s staging, a collaborative programme with Ian Bostridge with performances of the great arias of the French and English Baroque (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Dijon Opera), two new programmes with Ann Hallenberg (“Farinelli primo uomo assolutoand “Cantates arcadiennes de Rome à Venise), plus a tribute to Shakespeare (for the 400th anniversary of his death) with Maria-Grazia Schiavo.

 

The discography of Les Talens Lyriques comprises around forty titles on numerous labels: Erato, Fnac Music, Auvidis, Decca, Naïve, Ambroisie, Virgin Classics and now Aparté. The ensemble is also responsible for the much-acclaimed soundtrack of the film Farinelli (1994).

 

Since 2007 Les Talens Lyriques have been devoting some of their time to introducing secondary school pupils to the world of music with a programme of workshops and teaching residencies, leading a practical orchestral class and, from 2014, developing new and innovative technological resources designed to help young people discover and appreciate the Baroque repertoire.

 

Les Talens Lyriques have the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the City of Paris. They also enjoy that of the Patrons Circle and the Annenberg Foundation / GRoW – Gregory and Regina Annenberg Weingarten.

 

March 2015

 

Photo ©Eric Larrayadieu