Boréades, Les [Abaris] (‘The Descendants of Boreas’)
- Graham Sadler
[Abaris] (‘The Descendants of Boreas’)
Tragédie en musique in five acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto attributed to (Jean-)Louis de Cahusac ; no known date of performance in Rameau’s lifetime.
Until recently Les Boréades was believed to have been in rehearsal at the Paris Opéra at the time of Rameau’s death but for some reason abandoned. Research now shows that the work was rehearsed more than a year earlier, in April 1763, and that it was probably intended for private performance before the court at Choisy. There is no clear evidence as to why this remarkable opera should have been discarded, though the reasons may have to do with changing tastes, with the fact that the music presents formidable difficulties, with the opposition of court factions, with the presence in the plot of elements that could be construed as politically subversive, or even with the burning down of the Opéra in the same month as the rehearsals....