Founded and directed by Jonathan, The Rameau Project is a major multidisciplinary research project devoted to the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). The Project began in November 2012 when the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Jonathan gave the première of his Bärenreiter edition of Rameau’s Anacréon (1754). From this auspicious start has grown a collaboration which has so far given rise to two conferences, the first UK studio recording of a Rameau opera since 1980, numerous radio broadcasts, dance workshops in the UK and Paris, and the performance with eighteenth-century choreography of three Rameau operas at London’s South Bank, all with Jonathan and the OAE. Jonathan has subsequently run Rameau workshops for postgraduate HIP students at RAM and with gifted musicians on the OAE Experience Scheme. Most recently, Jonathan has conducted fully staged productions of Les fêtes d’Hébé at the Opéra de Bastille and the Royal College of Music and Dardanus with English Touring Opera.
Future plans include:
~ a volume for Routledge on Rameau’s life and work, co-edited with Prof Graham Sadler and Shirley Thompson (forthcoming in 2018)
~ a paper on performing Rameau at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, 24-28 August which will outline approaches to applying Rameau’s complex performing practices. I will draw on what can be learned through the analysis of primary sources (scores and treatises); through the analysis of the music itself (metre, tonality, harmony, structure); and, most notably, through new insights into Rameau’s response to the idiosyncrasies of the libretto, its text and versification. As it becomes clear that much of Rameau’s music is word-determined, many of his composer-specific practices can begin to be seen as natural consequences of the French language and prosody. Jonathan and soprano Lucía Caihuela will explore these fascinating issues using two of Iphise’s airs from Dardanus – ‘Cesse, cruel Amour’ and ‘O jour affreux!’
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