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Les Fêtes d’Hébé RCT 41 (Full Score, hardback)
Rameau Les Fêtes d’Hébé RCT 41 (Full Score, hardback)
Ballet in one prologue and three entrées
Version of June 1739
The ballet “Les Fêtes d'Hébé” deals with the talents that are usually the subject of the Opéra and are placed at the service of love on stage: poetry and declamation (1st entrée, "La Poésie"), song and harmony (2nd entrée, "La Musique") and finally dance and choreography (3rd entrée, "La Danse"); hence the alternative title of the ballet “Les Talents lyriques”. In this ballet opera, Rameau consistently gives priority to the female roles. The prologue glorifies Hébé, the goddess of youth, and her alliance with love, while “La Poésie” praises the poetress Sappho, who sings almost throughout, and “La Musique” concentrates on the omnipresent princess Iphise; finally, “La Danse” has as its main character the shepherdess Églé, who excels in dance and song.
Since the premiere, the text of the libretto has been perceived as rather unbalanced. Rameau compensates for these poetic shortcomings with musical boldness and innovations of the highest order. Be it the overture that throws Lully's model overboard, the varied choral movements such as that of the Thessalians “Que jusqu'au fond de nos grottes profondes”, the virtuoso arias such as Sappho's air “Un jour passé dans les tourments” or the magnificent monologues for Iphise and Tirtée – the originality and beauty of the music testify to incredible ingenuity.
The main part of this edition contains both the version of the premiere in May 1739 and the second version of "La Musique" given in June of the same year. The appendix includes all the other versions of "Fêtes d'Hébé", namely the entire early version of "La Musique", which was performed in Paris from 21 May to 21 June 1739, as well as the passages revised or added in the following July (dances for La Barbarina) and in the revivals of 1747, 1756 and 1764.
- Jean-Philippe Rameau. Opera Omnia (OOR) IV/4
- vocal score also available for sale (BA8866-90)
- performance material available for hire (BA8866-72)