2001 Lully’s Thésée

BEMF Opera | 2001 Centerpiece Opera

Lully’s Thésée

June 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16, 2001
Copley Theatre, Boston, MA

June 24, 2001
Tanglewood Summer Music Festival, Lenox, MA

Lully's third opera, Thésée was first performed on January 10, 1675. It was a huge success at the premiere and at repeated revivals during the 17th and 18th centuries throughout France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. Thésée was so popular that it remained in the repertory of the Paris Opera for more than a hundred years! BEMF's American première production—which will travel around the world—will represent the first fully staged professional performance of Thésée since 1789. Drawing on our experience from the 1997 and 1999 Festivals in producing the great Italian operas composed for the French court which paved the way for Lully's brilliant tragedies lyriques, we have assembled an all-star group of singers, instrumentalists, dancers and directors with years of specialization in 17th-century French performance practice.

Thésée is a feast for the eyes and ears. It is an extremely dramatic but lyrical work, with colorfully varied music, spectacular ballets, and brilliant special effects, from the frightful ghosts, monsters, and flying dragons of Hell to the delightful inhabitants of an Enchanted Island with their magical music and dance. The kaleidoscopic score includes exhilarating battle choruses with trumpets and drums, delicate trios for flutes and sopranos, dark, frightening choruses sung by evil spirits, tender love duets, moving laments, and a comic character dance featuring two old men desperately in love with younger women. The beautiful, melodious arias and love duets of Thésée survived as popular hits well into the 18th century, and were as well-known in their day as the beloved arias of Puccini and Verdi are today. A warning to first-time listeners: the tunes are addictive and will stay in your ears for weeks after the performance!



Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director
Lucy Graham, Choreographer
Robin Linklater, Designer
Steven Rosen, Lighting Designer
Anna Watkins, Costume Supervisor
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer
Joseph Levendusky, Associate Producer


Aaron Engebreth, Un plaisir
Mark Sprinkle, Un autre plaisir
Gerald Thomas Gray, Un des Jeux
Ann Monoyios, Vénus
Paul Guttry, Mars & Un Combatant
Jayne Tankersley, Cerés
Marc Molomot, Bachus
Ellen Hargis, Æglé
Suzie LeBlanc, Cléone
Olivier Laquerre, Arcas
Kendra Colton, La Grand Prestresse de Minerve & Minerve
Bernard Deletré, Ægée
Laura Pudwell, Medée
Howard Crook, Thésée

Michela Macfarlane, Allison Mondel, Megan Sharp & Jayne Tankersley, soprano; Jessica Adda Hanf, Deborah Rentz-Moore & Kamala Soparkar, alto; Marc Molomot & Mark Sprinkle, tenor; Aaron Engebreth, Gerald Thomas Gray & Paul Guttry, bass

Tina Cassidy, Caroline Copeland, Carlos Fittante, Georges Keraghel, Marc Leclercq, Susan MacNichol, Melinda Sullivan & Kaj Sylegård

Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra
Ingrid Matthews, concertmistress
Scott Metcalfe, Robert Mealy, Julie Andrijeski & Christopher Verrette, violin; David Douglass, Daniel Elyar, Laura Jeppesen, Patrick Jordan, Margriet Tindemans & Miloš Valent, viola; Emily Walhout, Alice Robbins, John Mark Rozendaal & Brent Wissick, basse de violons; Erin Headley, viola da gamba; Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs, Catherine Liddell & Lucas Harris, theorbo & Baroque guitar; Peter Sykes & Alexander Weimann, harpsichord; Bruce Haynes, haute-contre d’hautbois; Geoffrey Burgess & Lani Spahr, Baroque oboe; Michael Dupree, taille d’hautbois; Marilyn Boenau & Mathieu Lussier, bassoon; Michael Lynn & Alison Melville, recorder & Baroque flute; Shelley Gruskin, Jean-Pierre van Hees, & Jean-Christophe Maillard, musette; John Thiessen & Alex Bonus, trumpet; Marie-Ange Petit, percussion