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date: 14 November 2019

Fêtes d’Hébé, Les [Les fêtes d’Hébé, ou Les talents lyriques (‘Hebe’s Festivities, or The Lyric Talents’)]locked

  • Graham Sadler

Extract

[Les fêtes d’Hébé, ou Les talents lyriques (‘Hebe’s Festivities, or The Lyric Talents’)]

Opéra-ballet in a prologue and three entrées by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto by Antoine Gautier de Montdorge (with additions by Pierre-Joseph Bernard, Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, Alexandre Le Riche de La Pouplinière and possibly others); Paris, Opéra, 21 May 1739.

Unlike most of Rameau operas, which took time to find favour with the public, Les fêtes d’Hébé was an instant and lasting success. After a first run of 71 performances, it was revived in 1747–8, 1756–7 and 1764–5, while individual entrées remained in the Opéra’s repertory until 1777. After the believable modern characters of Rameau’s first opéra-ballet, Les Indes galantes, the return to stock classical Greek material in Les fêtes d’Hébé may seem retrogressive. In fact, the latter was more in line with current trends, since the vogue for opéras-ballets on mythological or legendary subjects had established itself in 1723, with Collin de Blamont’s Les fêtes grecques et romaines. The theme of the present work is hinted at in the subtitle (in Rameau’s day the work was generally known as ...

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