Les Arts Florissants | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Les Arts Florissants 

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In 1971 Dartmouth prof William Christie settled down in Europe, hoping to make his mark on the early-music scene there. Two decades later the expatriate is the head of the French ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Founded in Paris around 1979 and named after a work by the Baroque master Marc-Antoine Charpentier, the vocal and instrumental group is arguably the most eloquent and elegant interpreter of 17th- and 18th-century music. Its performances are based on thorough research; and Christie, for his role in reviving interest in Baroque vocal technqiues, has been voted "musician of the year" a couple of times by French critics--a distinction not often bestowed on foreigners. For this rare Chicago appearance Les Arts will present Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen, incidental music for an anonymous adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Purcell's score--a series of instrumental interludes and songs interpolated into the spoken drama--is lively, passionate, and full of inventive touches. It's atmospheric without being merely decorative, illustrative yet dramatic. This concert will take place in the cavernous Civic Opera House--but to insure intimacy, the audience will be seated on the stage and the musicians will perform on a platform placed over the orchestra pit. Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker; 242-6237 or 663-1628.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ken Collins.

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