The Malta Independent 19 November 2018, Monday

Jerome Correas To direct Les Paladins

Malta Independent Sunday, 23 October 2011, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

To inaugurate the theatre’s recently purchased harpsichord, Teatru Manoel presents a concert by baroque ensemble Les Paladins one of the most prestigious baroque ensembles in France on Friday 28 October at 8pm. Jerome Correas will direct from the harpsichord. Here he talks to Erika Brincat

You have studied at the school of Opera in Paris, have a degree in History of Art from the Sorbonne University, and taught baroque song, how did you transition from the role of singer to that of musical director?

Before being a singer, I used to be a harpsichordist, accompanying singers and playing chamber music. I also had the privilege of interpreting French songs during numerous tours of the United States beside musicians like Jean-Claude Pennetier, Philippe Bianconi, Jean-François Heisser, Claude Lavoix, Marie-Josèphe Jude, Susan Manoff and Arthur Schoonderword.

I think it’s very important to know both vocal and instrumental culture to become a conductor. Then, conducting is the next step when you need to imagine music according to your own sensibility. But before creating your own musical world, it seems to me very important to work with a lot of conductors.

Have you directed any other orchestras

before setting up your own?

I first set up my own group and after that, I had opportunities to conduct other orchestras, both modern and baroque. For instance, next year, I shall conduct a Haydn opera with a modern orchestra.

Please tell us about the creation of

your musical ensemble Les Paladins - how

did it all begin and how many musicians

are now under your direction?

I have a passion for baroque music and in 2001 I founded Les Paladins an orchestra dedicated to the exploration of 17th century Italian dramatic repertoire such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Rossi, Marazzoli as well as the French opéra comique of the 18th century such as Grétry, Favart, Duni – repertoires which have been unjustly neglected.

I am fascinated by the personalities of the artists of the 17th and 18th Centuries who were capable of singing, playing instruments, dancing and doing comedy – they were ‘complete’ artists. For this reason I oriented my projects towards the spirit of musical theatre.

I started this project because I felt like playing operas which hadn’t been played for a long time, and make people know “new” repertoires. I was convinced there were many passionate discoveries to make. May be I was fed up with doing always the same works an opera singer has to sing , and I intended to find my own style, my own sound, which is easier as a conductor than as a singer, the singers are under the direction of the conductor and the director . From this point of view, the conductor is freer.

So you have been performing together

for 10 years now. Can you tell us more

about the musicians in your ensemble?

Now Les Paladins play different repertoires, opera, oratorio, especially Italian music and according to the project we do, there can be 10 or 40 musicians.

The most important thing for such a group is to have a very solid and faithful first violin, who is the go between, the relay in the dialogue between the conductor and the orchestra. And also the first violoncello is very important, because this music is very rhythmical and he is responsible for the “swing” in the orchestra.

In such a small orchestra, in contrast with a symphonic orchestra, every single musician is important and has to involve in the energy I try to give.

What will ‘Les Paladins’ present

to the Maltese public?

The ensemble will present 17th century Italian dramatic repertoire and the French opéra comique of the 18th century. The concert will also feature soprano Dorothée Lorthiois, Mezzo Soprano Sophie Harmsen in works by Vivaldi and Pergolesi.

Les Paladins will present the very famous Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which is one of the most important religious piece of baroque music. We’ll also play Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus, a virtuoso motet for mezzo-soprano, and a virtuoso concerto for 2 violins also by Vivaldi .

There will be 15 musicians for this concert which includes strings, organ, harpsichord and lute, and two singers, a soprano and a mezzo-soprano. This is more or less the number of musicians Vivaldi had when he directed the “Conservatorio della Pieta” in Venice.

The orchestra plays on period instruments which brings very pleasant colours and dynamics to this music.

We will also host ‘Les Paladins for young people – learn the sounds of baroque…’ where we give young people over 8 years of age the opportunity to listen to beautiful baroque sounds before the evening concert. We shall be meeting in the courtyard at 4pm to be familiarised with the music. Attendance is free of charge though places will need to be booked via the Teatru Manoel booking office.

For more information visit www.lespaladins.com. For bookings email [email protected], or phone 21246389, Monday – Friday 10am – 1pm, 5pm-7pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm

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