Platée

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February 2021
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Jean-Philippe Rameau was fifty when he started composing for the stage. Thanks to the efforts of researchers, his music is more familiar to us nowadays than it was to his contemporaries. The sparklingly entertaining Platée is a flagship work of the Enlightenment, a jewel of Baroque opera and the most joyful and amusing of Rameau's creations. Every scene contains a blend of iconoclastic topics, choruses, dancing and a liberal dose of irony.


The plot tells how the water nymph Platée craves for Jupiter's love and how he deludes her. In the end, when the fake wedding is underway, the trickery is revealed and the humiliated Platée leaps back into her pond. Over 275 years later, the charm of the score and its freewheeling music is still irresistible.


Towards the end of his life, Rameau was asked what he liked better: the sound of applause or the music of his operas. He paused for a moment and then answered: "I like my music much better".
Platée


COMÉDIE LYRIQUE (BALLET BOUFFON) COMPRISING A PROLOGUE AND THREE ACTS (1745)​


Libretto by Adrien-Joseph le Valois d’Orville based on Platée ou Junon jalouse by Jacques Autreau.
World premiere: 31/03/1745 at La Grande Écurie de Versailles.
First performance in Spain.

Program and cast

Platée: Marcel Beekman
    
Love / Clarine: Emmanuelle de Negri
    
Folly: Jeannine De Bique
    
Junon: Emilie Renard
    
Thespis / Mercure: Cyril Auvity
    
Jupiter: Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona's opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was founded on the Rambla in 1847 and has continued over the years to fulfil its role as a culture and arts centre and one of the symbols of the city.

Today it is publicly-owned (by the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte) and administered by the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu which, in addition to the aforementioned bodies, incorporates the Patronage Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu (the old society of owners).
 

Origins: From 1837 to 1847

The Liceu evolved out of the Sociedad Dramática de Aficionados (Society of theatre-lovers) set up in 1837 at the instigation of Manuel Gibert in the former convent of Montsió by members of the National Militia, an organization of armed citizens with liberal leanings.
Barcelona's economy and population were growing fast at the time and the city needed a music conservatory. This led to the conversion of the Sociedad Dramática into the Liceo Filármonico Dramático Barcelonés de S.M. la Reina Isabel II (Barcelona Dramatic and Philharmonic Lyceum of HM Queen Isabel II).  In addition to its theatrical activities, the new organization cultivated Italian-style singing and music.
 

The building on the Rambla

The original building was solemnly opened on 4 April 1847. The plans had been drawn up by Miquel Garriga i Roca, subsequently assisted by Josep Oriol Mestres. The project was funded by selling shares, which meant that many of the boxes and seats were to be privately owned. The shareholders formed the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu, known as the “Societat de Propietaris” (Society of Owners),  which was in sole charge of running the Gran Teatre del Liceu from 1855 onwards, after it was legally separated from the Conservatori del Gran Teatre del Liceu.
The theatre was operated by impresarios who were given a concession to stage a specific number of productions in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of tickets not reserved for the Societat itself. This system was to endure until 1980.
 

The creation of the Consortium

By the last quarter of the 20th century this management system was no longer viable. In 1980, to avert the danger of the disappearance of an institution of such worldwide cultural renown, the Generalitat  Catalonia's first government in modern times – set up a consortium, the Consorci del Gran Teatre del Liceu, which also incorporated Barcelona City Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona Provincial Council joined the Consortium in 1985, followed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1986. From then on the Consortium took over operation of the theatre.

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