University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Montéclair: Jephte

03/19/2023 1:00 pm
03/19/2023 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Lenten programming proceeds with a baroque opera on a Biblical subject: Jephte or "Jephtha" (1732) by Michel Pignolet de Montéclair (1667-1737). Montéclair was one of several brilliant composers of the generation following Lully to improve upon the Lullian model of French opera. Montéclair's music for his only tragedie lyrique contains plenty of innovative instrumental coloration, plus charming dance numbers. Montéclair's Jephte clearly exerted an influence on the most brilliant composer coming at the end of the age of the baroque: Jean-Philppe Rameau. It was due to the success of Jephte that Rameau decided rather late in life to launch his own career in opera with his first lyric tragedy, Hippolyte et Aricie.

Conductor William Christie decided to go back to the first version of Jephte of 1732, as opposed to later revisions of the score. He leads the players of Les Arts Florissants, which he founded to enable the authentic performance of the music of the French Baroque. Jephte was recorded in 1992 for the French Harmonia Mundi label. I last broadcast the HM discs on Sunday, March 13, 1994. The story of the Hebrew military leader, Jephtha, is taken from the Old Testament Book of Judges. Jephtha's tragic predicament involving his daughter bears a close resemblance to the ancient Greek story about Agamemnon and the sacrifice of Iphigenia.