Wednesday 11 October

Sala Teatro

Les Arts Florissants
Le Jardin des Voix
William Christie
, conductor
Mourad Merzouki, direction and choreography

Henry Purcell
The Fairy Queen

Mourad Merzouki's choreographic performances immediately predispose the audience to joy! They know how to capture the public's enthusiasm while inviting each and everyone to immerse in poetry, according to personal inclination. Just think of works such as Folia, Vertikal and Zéphyr! With his ability to reunite different styles – from classical to contemporary, without neglecting hip-hop and popular music – Merzouki now ventures into Purcell's masterpiece The Fairy Queen: a brilliant theatrical intermezzo inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream, which the English composer himself reinterpreted.

The performers are no less talented: under William Christie, Les Arts Florissants and Le Jardin des Voix stage a Baroque gem with the dance company of one of the most disturbing choreographers of the moment. Pure joy for the eyes and ears.

The opera
The Fairy Queen is the first musical work inspired by William Shakespeare, a masterpiece of Baroque musical theatre and of all times. Its first performance was given in 1692 at the Queen's Theatre in London, almost certainly as a tribute to Queen Mary on her birthday. It was in a sumptuous staging that included dance, pantomime and a complex apparatus of stage machinery in addition to music and song. The piece was never performed again and disappeared after Purcell's death. The manuscript went missing until 1903, when it was found in the Royal Academy of Music's library.

The first complete recording of the work was not made until 1982 for Archiv Production, with astonishing philological care and using period instruments. It was conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, one of the leading and most scrupulous experts regarding the recovery and performance of the Baroque repertoire. Gardiner had already curated, together with Peter Holman, the first complete and philological modern performance of Purcell's work the previous year, at the Gottingen Handel Festival. Among the many subsequent recordings, the one by Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie in 1989 stands out as an echo of the performances at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.