Le Poème Harmonique
Formed in 1998, Le Poème Harmonique is a group of soloists, gathered around its artistic director Vincent Dumestre. Its artistic activity, centred on vocal and instrumental music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, is regularly enriched by interaction with other disciplines. This, together with real teamwork – working together as a company – is Le Poème Harmonique’s hallmark in Baroque performance today.
Actors, dancers, circus artists and puppeteers join its singers and musicians in large-scale stage productions such as Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (a comédie-ballet by Molière and Lully; stage director Benjamin Lazar) and Baroque Carnival (directed by Cécile Roussat).
For operatic performances, such as Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione, Cavalli’s Egisto (both staged by Benjamin Lazar) and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (directed by Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek), Le Poème Harmonique studies in depth the correspondences between ‘period’aesthetics – use of candles for lighting, authentic gestures and painted sets and machinery – and the aesthetics of modern stage productions.
The ensemble also gets back to the sources of early French and Italian music by exploring its relationships with traditional or folk music. The recording entitled Aux Marches du Palais, for instance, is devoted to French songs of oral tradition.
Although the Poème Harmonique has performed concerts across France and in most of the world’s major capitals since it was founded, it has forged a special relationship with Normandy, where it gives a quarter of its performances. The resident orchestra of the Opéra de Rouen, it was chosen to perform the programme for the “Baroque Seasons - Vincent Dumestre” in the new Auditorium de Normandie in Rouen, La Chapelle Corneille, which it officially opened on 5 February 2016.
Among the highlights of recent seasons were the exceptionally successful Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the Carnaval Baroque and Cadmus et Hermione, with some 130 performances in France and abroad, and more than 120,000 spectators for these three shows, and the staging in 2016 of Dido and Aeneas by Purcell at the Opéra de Rouen and the Opéra Royal de Versailles. The ensemble will tour Asia (China and Japan) and Latin America over the coming seasons.
The ensemble’s recordings for the Alpha label have met with rare public success: Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Diapason d’Or, recommendations from Opéra International, Classica, Le Monde de la Musique, a Prelude Classical Award in 2003, the Antonio Vivaldi International Award (Cini Foundation, Venice), the Caecilia Press Prize, and so on.