Les Arts Florissants / Christie

Handel Susanna

25 October 2009 / 19:00

Tickets £11 / 16.50 / 21 / 28 / 35

 Sold out


William Christie
Conductor William Christie’s pioneering work as harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist and teacher has led to a renewed interest in Baroque music in France. Born in America, he studied at Harvard and Yale Universities before moving to France in 1971, where he founded Les Arts Florissants eight years later. With the ensemble he has explored many neglected or forgotten works, both sacred and secular. As well as championing the French Baroque, ranging from Charpentier to Rameau, via Couperin, Mondonville, Campra and Montéclair, he is acclaimed in Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Haydn.

In the opera house, he has worked with many renowned directors, including Jean-Marie Villégier, Robert Carsen, Alfredo Arias, Jorge Lavelli, Graham Vick, Adrian Noble, Andrei Serban and Luc Bondy. Last year Les Arts Florissants began a collaboration with the Teatro Real de Madrid, where the ensemble will perform all the Monteverdi operas over coming seasons.

As a guest conductor, William Christie regularly appears at Glyndebourne and with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as conducting Zurich Opera in works by Gluck, Rameau and Handel, and the Opéra National de Lyon in Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro. He is also committed to the professional development of young artists, and many of the music directors of today’s Baroque ensembles began their careers with Les Arts Florissants. In 2002 he created Le Jardin des Voix, an academy for young singers in Caen, whose first three seasons generated considerable international interest.

As a conductor and harpsichordist, William Christie has made over 70 recordings, many of which have received awards.

William Christie acquired French nationality in 1995. He is an Officier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur as well as Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

He was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in November 2008.

Les Arts Florissants

The renowned vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants was founded in 1979 by William Christie, and takes its name from an opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Since the acclaimed production of Atys by Lully at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1987, it has been in the field of opera where Les Arts Florissants has found most success. Notable productions include works by Rameau ( Les Indes galantes in 1990 and 1999, Hippolyte et Aricie in 1996, Les Boréades in 2003, Les Paladins in 2004), Charpentier ( Médée in 1993 and 1994), Handel ( Orlando in 1993, Acis and Galatea in 1996, Semele in 1996, Alcina in1999, Hercules in 2004 and 2006), Purcell ( King Arthur in1995, Dido and Aeneas in 2006), Mozart ( The Magic Flute in 1994, Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Opéra du Rhin in 1995) and Monteverdi ( Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patriaat Aix-en-Provence in 2000, revived in2002, L’incoronazione di Poppaea in 2005, and L’Orfeo at the Teatro Real de Madrid in 2008).

Les Arts Florissants has an equally high profile in the concert hall, giving concert performances of operas ( Zoroastre and Les fêtes d’Hébé by Rameau, Idomenée by Campra, Jephté by Montéclair and L’Orfeo by Rossi), as well as secular chamber works ( Actéon, Les plaisirs de Versailles and La descente d’Orphée aux Enfers by Charpentier and Dido and Aeneas by Purcell) and sacred music ( grands motets by Rameau, Mondonville and Desmarest and Handel oratorios. The ensemble has an impressive discography of over 70 CD recordings, most recently Haydn’s The Creation. Its most recent DVD is Il Sant’Alessio by Stefano Landi, filmed at the Théâtre de Caen, where, for the past 15 years, the ensemble has been artist-in-residence. Les Arts Florissants also tours widely within France, and is a frequent ambassador for French culture abroad, regularly appearing at the Brooklyn Academy, the Lincoln Centre in New York, the Barbican Centre and the Vienna Festival.

Les Arts Florissants receives financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the City of Caen and the Région Basse-Normandie. Its sponsor is Imerys. Les Arts Florissants is artist-in-residence at the Théâtre de Caen.

Max Emanuel Cencic

Max Emanuel Cencic started his vocal training at a very young age, appearing in public for the first time when only six years old to sing the Queen of the Night’s aria, subsequently also making guest appearances at the Zagreb Opera. From 1987 to 1992 he was a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, after which he began to pursue a solo career. By employing a special technique he was able to continue singing soprano, in roles including Amor in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in Drottningholm. Following a short sabbatical, he relaunched his career as a countertenor in 2001. His performance as Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea in Basel, conducted by Conrad Junghänel, earned him Opernwelt magazine’s award as best new singer of the year 2003.

Max Emanuel Cencic now appears in opera, oratorio and recital in concert halls, theatres and at festivals throughout Europe, including the Théâtre du Champs-Élysées and Palais Garnier in Paris, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Bavarian State Opera, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Halle Handel Festival and Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, as well as further afield in the USA (including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center) and Japan. Among the many conductors with whom he has worked are William Christie, René Jacobs, Alan Curtis and Christophe Rousset. The 2008/09 season includes his debut at La Monnaie, Brussels.

Particularly renowned as a Handelian, his repertoire also includes works by Vivaldi, Albinoni, Caldara, Rossini, and the role of Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus.
His recordings include several solo CDs, among them The Vivaldi Album, cantatas by Caldara and by Scarlatti, and opera arias by Rossini.


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