|Marc-Antoine Charpentier||David and Jonathan|
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, long under the shadow of his rival Jean-Baptiste Lully, is now recognised as the greatest French composer of the seventeenth century, equivalent to Henry Purcell, his near contemporary. We have performed a number of his major works over the years, including his popular Midnight Mass and the chamber opera Actéon, and now we present a rare complete live performance one of his greatest works, the sacred opera David et Jonathas, written in 1688 for the Jesuit college in Paris. It deals with the tragic sequence of events in the Book of Samuel resulting from David’s victory over Goliath, including King Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor; David’s defection to the Philistines caused by the king’s madness and jealousy; David’s love for Jonathan, the king’s son; and the eventual death of both Saul and Jonathan. The intensely dramatic music, passionate, extrovert and tragic by turns, will inevitably remind listeners of Purcell’s operas, written around the same time, as will Charpentier’s innovative and colourful use of the orchestra.
Peter Holman’s vivid performances of seventeenth-century music have delighted audiences SVF and further afield for many years. In this concert he is joined by a number of our regular soloists (including Daniel Auchincloss singing the two roles for haute-contre or high tenor) and our resident ensembles. Essex Baroque Orchestra is constituted on this occasion in the distinctive French Baroque manner with oboes and recorders, a string group including two viola parts and four large bass violins, and a continuo section of bass viol, theorbo and two harpsichords.
‘A gripping drama … highlighted by Charpentier’s dazzlingly innovative and powerful score’ – ArtsBoston
Tickets: £18 (reserved), £12 (unreserved), with half-price tickets available to full-time students.
Season ticket: £32 (reserved tickets for the concerts on 29 March and 25 May)