Musical Tragedy in 5 acts with a prologue, by Jean-Baptiste Lully
First performed at the Royal Academy of Music in Paris on February 15, 1686
Libretto by Philippe Quinault
Musical direction: Christophe Rousset
Direction: David Hermann
Choreography: Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley
With the dancers of the Centre Chorégraphique National – Ballet de Lorraine, Les Talens Lyriques, the baroque ensemble of Christophe Rousset and the Chorus of the Opéra national de Lorraine
A Co-production of the Opéra national de Lorraine and the Centre Chorégraphique National – Ballet de Lorraine
Armide was the last work written by Philippe Quinault and composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1686. This opera-ballet is considered the chef d’œuvre of these two artists.
During the 18th century, Armide’s powerful recitative monologue, which closes the second act of the work, was considered one of the most famous moments in French musical history. Its subject, borrowed from La Jérusalem Délivrée (Jerusalem Delivered), by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso, was chosen by King Louis XIV. It recounts the unhappy love of the enchantress Armide for the great Christian knight Renaud. From their impossible love a continuous, unstoppable emotion emerges. Lully amplifies further this situation, inherently quite dramatic, encompassing the entire range of feelings his heroine experiences, from hate to tenderness, from exquisite pleasure to draining anxiety, driving toward her final fury and despair.
Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley embark upon this opera – ballet adventure with the dancers of the CCN-Ballet de Lorraine, and with David Hermann they hope to create a contemporary, enchanting evening.
David Hermann has quickly become one of the most important figures in the new generation of directors of theatre and opera. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and in 2000 was awarded first prize at the International Competition for Direction and sets in Graz. Since then he has directed many works, among them Orfeo, Combattimenti and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi at the Frankfurt Opera, Sing für mich,Tod, a world premiere on the life of Claude Vivier at the Ruhrtriennale (2009-2011), Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, La Bohème and La dame de pique at the Théâtre de Bâle, Ascanio in Alba at the Mannheim Opera as well as at the Salzburg Festival, Falstaff and Eugene Onegin at the Lucerne Opera, as well as L'heure Espagnole and La Vida breve at the Frankfurt Opera. Recent directing engagements include Die Zauberflöte at the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp and Ghent, Il Turco in Italia at the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern by Lachenmann at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, La página en blanco at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Médée by Charpentier at the Frankfurt Opera, Les Troyens at the Opera of Karlsruhe as well as Rigoletto at the Deutschen Oper am Rhein. On most of his productions, David Hermann has worked in close collaboration with the set designer Christof Hetzer. His future assignments include the Opéra of Lausanne, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Zurich Opera, the Liège Opéra, as well as the Aalto Theater Essen and the Lucerne Festival.
Dancer and choreographer Petter Jacobsson was educated at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and is a graduate of the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. He was a principal dancer with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in London between 1984 to 1993. Performing sometimes in over 200 performances a year nationally and internationally as part of their intense tour schedule, in addition to this he traveled the world performing as guest artist work with a multitude of international companies.
In 1993, he moved to New York and began a career as an independent freelance dancer collaborating with Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, as a member of his Repertory Understudy Group, Irene Hultman and Deborah Hay as well as studying with Susan Klein and Barbara Mahler.
Jacobsson created the choreography for the opera Staden for the Royal Swedish Opera, a production that was part of “Stockholm 98, European capital of culture.” He was the Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet from 1999 to 2002, and was designated Choreographer of the Year in 2002 by the Society of Swedish choreographers, in recognition for his work in modernising the company.
He has participated in a number of artistic projects and has created more than 20 works with Thomas Caley in New York, Stockholm and around the world, from The Inevitable at the cabaret Martha@Mother in New York, to Chess the musical for which they received the Gold Mask for Best Choreography.
Other works include The nearest nearness at MDT- Stockholm, No mans land – no lands man at Kulturhuset- Stockholm,Flux at Färgfabriken Gallery in Stockholm, Untitled partner at MDT- Stockholm, Paradise? with 32 extras, presented at MDT then for Skånes Dansteater in Malmö in 2008.
They also created In nooks and crannies, a happening for the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, which was a major critical success. This project included the Royal Ballet, the Opera and the Orchestra, presented in inhabitual spaces of the institution, which were reconfigured as performance spaces. After several years of collaborating together, Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley created the company Scentrifug in 2005
In July 2011, Petter Jacobsson became the Director of the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine.
The choreographer and dancer Thomas Caley was born in the United States. In 1992 he earned a BFA from Purchase College in upstate New York. After a year of performing in a multitude of independent projects in New York City he joined the Merce Cunningham Company.
From 1994 to 2000, he worked as a principal dancer with the company, touring throughout the world and participating in the creation of 12 new works by Cunningham. In 2000 he moved to Stockholm to continue his collaboration with Petter Jacobsson and to continue working as a freelance dancer in Europe, in France Thomas has worked with Boris Charmatz on the 50 ans de danse & flip book projects. As of 2011, Thomas Caley is the coordinator of research for the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine.
Christophe Rousset is a musician and conductor driven by his passion for opera and the rediscovery of European musical heritage. He studied harpsichord at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, then at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, then founded his own ensemble, Les Talens Lyriques, in 1991, allowing him to work with and study the richness and diversity of the baroque, classical and pre-romantic musical repertories. He was first noticed for his remarkable talent as a harpsichordist, then for his fine work as director of his ensemble, which has performed around the world (Paris Opera, De Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Pleyel, Opéra de Lausanne, Teatro Real, Theater an der Wien, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Festivals d’Aix-en-Provence and in Beaune). He continues to perform as a harpsichordist and chamber music player, playing and recording music on some of the most beautiful historical instruments in existence. He has recorded the complete works for harpsichord by François Couperin, Rameau, Anglebert and Forqueray, and his many recordings of works by J.S. Bach are now legendary. Rousset also teaches many master classes and has been a guest conductor at the Liceu in Barcelona, the San Carlo in Naples, La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera of Wallonie, the National Orchestra of Spain) and still has time for musical research, publishing in 2007 a monograph on Rameau at Actes Sud.