Hippolyte et Aricie

Hippolyte et Aricie

Hippolyte et Aricie

Parody for singers and puppets

Hippolyte et Aricie ou La belle-mère amoureuse, Charles-Simon Favart’s parody of Rameau’s work, premiered at the Comédie-Italienne on 11 October 1742.

A puppet show in the great tradition of the wooden comedians.

Presentation of the work 40 minutes prior to each performance by Françoise Rubellin

Performance duration: 1h20

Music direction and violin, Mira Glodeanu
Stage director, Jean-Philippe Desrousseaux
Scenery, Antoine Fontaine
Lighting, François-Xavier Guinnepain
Dramatic advisor, Françoise Rubellin

Phèdre, Marie Lenormand
Thésée, Philippe-Nicolas Martin
Puppeteers, Gaëlle Trimardeau, Bruno Coulon, Jean-Philippe Desrousseaux

Orchestra, Ensemble Philidor

Cast

Music direction and violin, Mira Glodeanu
Stage director, Jean-Philippe Desrousseaux
Scenery, Antoine Fontaine
Lighting, François-Xavier Guinnepain
Dramatic advisor, Françoise Rubellin

Phèdre, Marie Lenormand
Thésée, Philippe-Nicolas Martin
Marionnettistes, Gaëlle Trimardeau, Bruno Coulon, Jean-Philippe Desrousseaux

Orchestra, Ensemble Philidor

Production, Centre de musique baroque de Versailles en coréalisation avec l’Opéra Comique
Co-production, Teatru Manoel Malta / Opéra de Vichy / Théâtre Montansier
Co-realisation, Centre de musique baroque de Versailles / Opéra Comique


As part of the Rameau's year

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Synopsis

Prologue
The dwellers of the forest of Erymanthus and Diana’s (Diane) priestesses celebrate the powers of their queen. But these are threatened by the arrival of Cupid (L’Amour). The lively quarrel between the two deities is interrupted by Jupiter, who decrees that Cupid will rule over Diana’s kingdom for one day every year. Diana prefers to withdraw and try to protect Hippolytus (Hippolyte) and Aricia (Aricie) from the ravages of her rival rather than witness his victory. Festivities celebrate the reign of Cupid over the forest of Erymanthus.
 
I. Aricia, whose people has been decimated by King Theseus (Thésée), is seen praying in the temple of Diana, of whom she is going to become a priestess. Tormented by her love for Hippolytus, Theseus’s son, she is unsettled when the prince appears, all the more so when he admits he loves her also and beseeches her to renounce her vows. But only Phaedra (Phèdre), Theseus’s second wife, can seal Aricia’s fate. Phaedra arrives followed by the priestesses and begins the ceremony. Aricia’s reluctance and the support she receives from Hippolytus enlighten the queen about their relations. Infuriated, Phaedra threatens to destroy the altars. She is interrupted by Diana’s descent: the goddess is intent on protecting the lovers. Driven by jealousy and resentment, Phaedra swears to take revenge: she is also in love with Hippolytus. News that the king is away, having followed his friend Pirithous (Pirithoüs) to the Underworld, from where he should never return, seems an unexpected occasion to declare her love. Encouraged by her confidante Œnone, Phaedra decides to reveal her incestuous passion.

II. Theseus is led into the depths of the Underworld by Tisiphone, ready to sacrifice his own life to save that of Pirithous. Pluto and his infernal court appear and confirm the fateful ruling: Pirithous is to die, and Theseus to remain prisoner of the Underworld. But Neptune intercedes on behalf of his son Theseus and, with Mercury’s help, obtains Theseus’s pardon. The Furies (Parques) nevertheless warn him: he will indeed leave the Underworld, but only to find his family torn by yet more dreadful evils.
 
III. Phaedra beseeches Venus to intercede in her favour and to change Hippolytus’s heart. He appears and is surprised to find Phaedra ready to share the throne with him. The mention of his love for Aricia unleashes Phaedra’s fury: she imprudently confesses her consuming passion and, full of shame, asks him to kill her. Theseus enters suddenly: confronted by the sight and the confused words uttered by his wife and his son, he turns to Œnone. Anxious to protect the queen, she suggests that Hippolytus was about to rape Phaedra. Transfixed, Theseus must nevertheless attend the celebrations organised for his return. But in an aside he once again implores his father and with a heavy heart asks him to kill Hippolytus for his crime.

IV. Banished from court, Hippolytus bemoans his unjust fate. To protect Aricia from Phaedra’s fury, he urges her to follow him as his wife. Both pledge fidelity before Diana, whose almightiness is celebrated by the troops of hunters. The celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of the monster sent by Neptune: surging from the sea, it answers Theseus’s prayer and engulfs the unfortunate Hippolytus. Attracted by the moanings, Phaedra discovers the consequences of her despicable love.

V. Before taking her own life, Phaedra revealed to Theseus the terrible misunderstanding that led him astray. The grief-stricken king intends to kill himself also. But Neptune prevents him from doing so and tells him that Diana has rescued his son. His punishment will be to never see him again. Aricia, who had fainted during the battle between Hippolytus and the monster, regains consciousness in an enchanted garden. After a moment of doubt, she sees her lover coming towards her guided by Diana: the goddess unites them as great rejoicings celebrate their love to the sound of birdsong.

[Benoit Dratwicki]


As part of the Rameau's year

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Presentation

The art of parody that emerged under the Ancien Régime on fair stages was aimed at the great creations of the Opéra. Rameau was among its willing victims. Had he not debuted on the most prestigious of stages, the Opéra Comique?


As part of the Rameau's year

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Lieu

Salle Favart

Tarif

34, 28, 24, 16, 10, 6€

Renseignements

0 825 01 01 23 (0,15 € per minute)

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