The ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, which takes its name from the subtitle of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739), was formed in 1991 by the harpsichordist and conductor Christophe Rousset.
Championing a broad vocal and instrumental repertoire, ranging from early Baroque to the beginnings of Romanticism, the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques aim 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. This musicological and editorial work, which contributes to its renown, is a priority for the ensemble.
Les Talens Lyriques perform to date works by Monteverdi (L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, L’Orfeo), Cavalli (La Didone, La Calisto), Landi (La Morte d’Orfeo), Handel (Scipione, Riccardo Primo, Rinaldo, Admeto, Giulio Cesare, Serse, Arianna in Creta, Tamerlano, Ariodante, Semele, Alcina), Lully (Persée, Roland, Bellérophon, Phaéton, Amadis, Armide, Alceste), 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, Tarare), Rameau (Zoroastre, Castor et Pollux, Les Indes galantes, Platée, Pygmalion), Gluck (Bauci e Filemone, Alceste), Beethoven, Cherubini (Médée), García (Il Califfo di Bagdad), Berlioz, Massenet, Gounod (Faust) and Saint-Saëns.
The re-creation 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, Jetske Mijnssen, Alban Richard and David Lescot. As well as opera, Les Talens Lyriques explore other musical genres: madrigal, cantata, air de cour, symphonies, and the vast corpus of sacred music (masses, motets, oratorios, Leçons de Ténèbres, and so on). In formations varying from a handful of musicians to more than sixty, representing every generation, they give performances all over the world.
In 2018-2019 Les Talens Lyriques return to their first love, with a season entitled “The Temptation of Italy”. Vocality will be celebrated in works ranging from masterpieces by Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel (Agrippina) and Mozart (La Betulia liberata) to rarely heard or unpublished scores by Legrenzi (La Divisione del mondo), Salieri (Tarare), Leo and Porpora. After celebrating Telemann in 2017, the ensemble will be acting as François Couperin’s representative abroad when they take his music to the American continent for the 350th anniversary of the composer’s birth. “Couperin Year” will also be celebrated with recordings: Les Nations and the Concerts Royaux are to be released (in autumn and in December, respectively) on the Aparté label.
Les Talens Lyriques recorded the famous soundtrack for Gérard Corbiau’s film Farinelli (1994), which sold over a million copies. The ensemble now has a discography comprising some sixty references, on various labels (Erato, Fnac Music, Auvidis, Decca, Naïve, Ambrosia, Virgin Classics, Outhere and Aparté). This season, it will conclude the cycle of French operas by Salieri with the release of Les Horaces in September 2018 (Aparté) and the recording of Tarare in the autumn (also for Aparté). Since 2007 the musicians of the ensemble have been working to introduce schoolchildren to music, via a programme of ambitious artistic actions and innovative educational initiatives. They are in residence in schools in Paris and Île-de-France, where they have created a student orchestra with young secondary school pupils and a small choir (“Le petit choeur des Talens”). The three t@lenschool educational applications, downloadable free of charge, have met with much enthusiasm and have received several national and international awards.
The ensemble Les Talens Lyriques receives subsidies from the French Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris, and generous support from its Circle of Patrons. The ensemble wishes to thank its principal Patrons, the Annenberg Foundation / GRoW – Gregory and Regina Annenberg Weingarten, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet and Mécénat Musical Société Générale.
Since 2011 Les Talens Lyriques have been associate artists, in residence at the Singer-Polignac Foundation in Paris. Les Talens Lyriques are founding members of FEVIS (Federation of Specialised Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles) and of PROFEDIM (Professional Union of Music Producers, Festivals, Ensembles, and Independent Distributors).
© Les Talens Lyriques – January 2019