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April 9   -   Guardian

Rameau’s Les Fêtes d’Hébé: making a song and dance about it

It’s taken almost 300 years for the French composer’s genre-crossing opéra-ballet to come to the UK, with a Royal College of Music staging opening tomorrow. Why the wait?

This week the Royal College of Music is staging a UK premiere of an opera so successful that it had 80 performances in its first year in France and four revivals over the following three decades. And yet it’s taken 278 years for it to come to the UK.

It is startling to realise that there has not yet been a staged performance of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Fêtes d’Hébé in Britain. Rameau is a composer every bit as important in our understanding of the era as his contemporaries Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Scarlatti, and the French composer’s opéra-ballet is full of beautiful and charming music, with dance, song and chorus combining to entertain and delight.

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