10 Jan 2014
Rameau: Les Surprises de l'Amour
By Tim Ashley [The Guardian, 8 January 2014]
The definitive version of Rameau's Les Surprises de l'Amour was first performed in Paris in 1758, though the work began life as a small-scale entertainment of the same name written a decade earlier for Madame de Pompadour's private theatre in Versailles. A big opera-ballet that gives song and dance equal dramatic weight, it never really allows us to forget its initial associations with the most famous of royal mistresses. Exhorting us, almost at the outset, to "hear the voice of pleasure," it's a restrained yet hedonistic celebration of carnality that juxtaposes a succession of contrasting erotic narratives from classical literature.