Rameau's “Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour” was long considered second-rate because its première was associated with a political event. Yet this ballet abounds in novel dramaturgical effects that foreshadow his later operas, such as “Zaïs”, “Zoroastre” and “Les Boréades”. Working together with his librettist Cahusac, Rameau sought to weave the dance numbers, choruses and stage machinery more tightly into the main plot. He also experimented with stylistic devices unique to this work, the most famous being unquestionably the scene in which the Nile overflows its banks (an impressive ten-voice double chorus with solo voices and orchestra) and the sextet from “Aruéris”, a scoring found nowhere else in his œuvre.
For the first time, this scholarly-critical edition of “Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour” presents a reference version of the work that is based on all the major sources for both the libretto and the music, including two recent musical discoveries. As most of the performance material for the première has vanished, our edition is based on the version prepared for the Académie Royale de Musique in 1748.
• Milestone of French Baroque opera in performance practice orientated vocal score
• With a brief foreword (Fr/Eng) containing salient information on the genesis of the work, the synopsis and the edition