Columbia University Presents Le Poème Harmonique's VENEZIA, 9/12 & 14


Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts opens its 2012-13 season with Le Poème Harmonique in "Venezia". France's award-winning early music group performs its largest New York production to date, a candlelit semi-staged performance of songs by Monteverdi and Manelli set in the streets and canals of 17th century Venice during Carnival on Wednesday, September 12, 8:00 p.m. and Friday, September 14, 8:00 p.m. at Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th street).

"I am delighted to launch the season with an evocative, theatrical program by an ensemble I've long championed-the French early music specialists Le Poème Harmonique, whose candlelit reimagining of life in Venice during Carnival is sure to wow New York audiences," says Miller Theatre Director Melissa Smey.

Miller Theatre opens its season for the first time with an early music event, presenting the extraordinary ensemble and frequent guests Le Poème Harmonique in their largest New York production to date. Performed by candlelight, this theatrical presentation builds on the ensemble's eye-opening approach to opera, using historical gesture, vocal ornament, and an imaginative sequence of songs to depict life in 17th-century Venice.

Set in the streets and canals of the city during the time of carnival, Venezia dalle strade ai Palazzi (Venice: From the Streets to the Palaces) pairs Monteverdi's haunting madrigals on the torments of love with light, witty works by Francesco Manelli, transporting listeners back in time through song.


Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano

Geoffroy Buffière,baritone-bass

Jan Van Elsacker, tenor

Serge Goubioud, tenor

Johannes Frisch, violin

Lucas Peres, lirone

Françoise Enock, violone

Jean-Luc Tamby, colascione and guitar

Joël Grare, percussion

Vincent Dumestre, theorbo, baroque guitar, and music director

Patrick Naillet, stage manager

Eleanora Pacetti, language coach

Benjamin Lazar, stage director


Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Dormo aancora

Biaggio Marini (1594-1663): Sonata terza

Monteverdi: Lamento della Ninfa

Francesco Manelli (1594-1667): Bergamasca: La Barchetta passaggiera

Benedetto Ferrari (1603-1681): Chi non sà come Amor

Ferrari: Son ruinato, appassionato

Anonymous: Villanella ch'all'acqua vai

Manelli: Canzonetta: Sguardo lusinghiero

Manelli: Jacarà: Aria alla napolitana

Manelli: Ciaccona: Acceso mio core

LE POÈME HARMONIQUE is a group of soloists which formed in 1998 gathered around its artistic director Vincent Dumestre. The group is centered on vocal and instrumental music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and performs chamber works (Le Ballet des Fées, Il Fasolo) and large-scale stage productions (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Baroque Carnival). Le Poème Harmonique studies the correspondences between period aesthetics- using candles for lighting, authentic gestures, and painted sets and machinery-and the aesthetics of Modern Stage productions. The ensemble explores the sources of early French and Italian music by studying its relationships with traditional or folk music. While based in the Haute-Normandie Region, the ensemble has toured Europe, appearing in most of the continent's capitals. Outstanding events of their past season include Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Baroque Carnival, and Cadmus et Hermione, all of which have been exceptionally successful, with almost 130 performances. The ensemble's recordings for the Alpha label have met with rare public success, including the Grand Prix du Disque from l'Académie Charles Cros, the Diapason d'Or, a Prelude Classical Award in 2003, the Antonio Vivaldi International Award (Cini Foundation, Venice), the Caecilia Press Prize, and recommendations from Opéra International, Classica, and Le Monde de la Musique.

VINCENT DUMESTRE is the founder and artistic director of Le Poème Harmonique. With this team of artists he seeks to revive the performing arts of the Baroque period while interacting with other artistic disciplines in his projects. After studying art history at the École du Louvre and classical guitar at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, Vincent Dumestre turned to the lute, Baroque guitar, and theorbo, which he studied with Hopkinson Smith and Eugène Ferré, with Rolf Lislevand at the Toulouse Conservatoire, and in the continuo class at the Boulogne Conservatoire, where he was unanimously awarded the advanced diploma. Since then he has taken part in many concerts and over thirty recordings with ensembles including the Ricercar Consort, La Simphonie du Marais, Le Concert des Nations, La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, Akademia, and the ensembles of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. He formed Le Poème Harmonique in 1998 and the group has won both critical acclaim and popularity. In 1999 the French music magazine Diapason voted Vincent Dumestre 'Young Talent of the Year' for his work with Le Poème Harmonique. Vincent Dumestre's artistic career is essentially bound up with that of his ensemble. As the only musician on the international Baroque scene to lead a company that is directly involved in the production of large-scale stage productions, he is contributing to a new perception of the relationship between music and theatre. His approach has proved immensely popular, acclaimed by critics and by the public. This same spirit of innovation characterizes the ensemble's chamber programs, in which Vincent Dumestre continues to participate as an instrumentalist with his singers and musicians. This aspect of his work is still of fundamental importance to him, despite the fact that the ensemble's evolution means that he often has the role of conductor. Over the past four years the repute of Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique has grown spectacularly and the ensemble's stage productions and concerts are now presented at many prestigious venues in France and abroad.<

BENJAMIN LAZAR is a stage director and actor who trained with Eugène Green in declamation and Baroque theatrical gestures before completing his training as an actor at the École Claude Mathieu. He also studied violin and singing at this time. In 2004 he directed Le Poéme Harmonique's critic and audience acclaimed Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which won several awards when released on DVD. Also in 2004, Lazar formed his own company, Le Théâtre de l'Incrédule, and with the ensemble La Rêveuse, he adapted and staged L'Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune, a novel by Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac. He also works regularly in opera, creating new forms of musical theatre. In 2007 he staged Il Sant'Alessio by Stefano Landi for Les Arts Florissants and in 2008 he worked once again with Le Poème Harmonique on Cadmus et Hermione by Jean-Baptiste Lully. He worked with Le Poème Harmonique again in 2012 for Egisto by Cavalli. In 2008 he was co-author and stage director for Les Cris de Paris' production of Lalala-opéra en chansons, an opera for unaccompanied choir, the raw material for which was arranged by the composers David Colosio, Vincent Manac'h and Morgan Jourdain. In past seasons, he has staged Les amours tragiques de Pyrame et Thisbé by Théophile de Viau at the Théâtre de l'Athénée in Paris; Cachafaz, a new opera by Oscar Strasnoy to a libretto by Copi, conducted by Geoffroy Jourdain at the Opéra Comique in Paris and the Théâtre de Cornouaille in Quimper. Benjamin Lazar is at present associate artist at the Scène National de Quimper, for which he created Au web ce soir (the first opera devised for and viewable on the internet) which was streamed live on the website of the Théâtre de Cornouaille. There, in April 2012, he premièred Ma mère musicienne, based on the writings of Louis Wolfson, with Claire Lefilliâtre. The show will be presented again in November 2012 at the Mettre en Scène Festival in Rennes. L'Autre Monde ou les États et Empires de la Lune will be revived at the Théâtre de l'Athénée (Paris) in May 2013.

Columbia University's Miller Theatre is located north of the Main Campus Gate at 116th St. & Broadway on the ground floor of Dodge Hall.. Tickets will be available online at starting August 15. Tickets: $40-45 • Students with valid ID $24-27. The public may also purchase tickets through the Miller Theatre Box Office in person or at 212/854-7799, M–F, 12–6 p.m.

Photo © O. Matsura