January 26, 2004

French opera company hits Emory during U.S. tour

By Sally Corbett & Antoinette Vacinek

After decades of passion and dedication to inspiring a resurgence of Baroque music in France, vocal and instrumental ensemble founder William Christie celebrates the 25th anniversary of Les Arts Florissants with a U.S. tour to Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, New York’s Lincoln Center—and the Schwartz Center at Emory on Monday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m.

Les Arts Florissants, performing at Emory as part of the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series, was founded in 1979 and is known for its operatic activity. The ensemble has an impressive discography with more than 60 titles. The ensemble also has recorded a DVD to be released this year that features Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, directed by Adrian Noble.

Under the direction of Vincent Boussard and conducted by Christie, Les Arts Florissants will pay homage to Marc-Antoine Charpentier, a key music figure of the 17th century whose work inspired Christie to introduce Baroque repertoire to modern audiences.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of Charpentier’s death. The tribute program of semi-staged opera includes La Descente d’Orphee aux Enfers, which combines beautifully constructed dramatics with a beaming libretto and aligns lyrics and instruments in the powers of persuasion. The ensemble’s namesake piece, Les Arts Florissants, presents scenes of harmony and discord that offer allegories on music, poetry, architecture and painting.

“We are pleased to present Les Arts Florissants during their anniversary celebration,” said Schwartz Center Managing Director Robert McKay. “Their Emory concert is a fitting program to celebrate the Schwartz Center’s first anniversary, and it’s an honor to host such a musical pioneer as William Christie.”

Christie is a much-lauded harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist and teacher. He is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., who studied at Harvard and Yale universities before becoming a French resident in 1971. His 60th birthday also is celebrated by this
U.S. tour.

In celebration of the Schwartz Center’s anniversary, concert guests will receive a souvenir mug. After the performance, all ticketholders are welcome to continue the celebration at “Candler Concert Nightcap” in the nearby Club Room of the Emory Conference Center Hotel. The Club Room event offers complimentary pastries and coffee for ticketholders, a cash bar, billiards, darts and relaxation near the

Tickets for Les Art Florissants are $45 for adults; $36 for patrons 65 and older, non-Emory students, alumni and other discount groups; and $10 for Emory students. For more information or to order tickets, call 404-727-5050 or visit www.emory.edu/ARTS.