Small French ensembles count their losses in millions

Small French ensembles count their losses in millions


norman lebrecht

June 08, 2020

Les Arts florissants, Les Talens Lyriques, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Le Concert d’Astrée and other non-state French ensembles calculate that Covid has cost them more than 1,200 performances at a loss of 11 million Euros. Ther situation is becoming desperate.

Full report in Diapason.


  • Francophile says:

    Considering their quality and contributions to the repertory (Charpentier, Couperin, Gluck, Lully, Rameau), the French Government should make up their virus-related losses, and promptly.

    Hervé Niquet’s Le Concert Spirituel too.

    • MezzoLover says:

      I’ve always thought it fascinating, yet ironic, that it took an American – William Christie – and his Les Arts Florissants to usher in the renaissance of Baroque Opera in France. One could argue it was Christie’s contribution to French Baroque Opera that paved the way for the flourishing of virtually all of the ensembles mentioned in the Diapason article.

      However, one could also argue that the same forces whose convergence helped create the thriving and exciting Baroque Opera scene pre-COVID must also decide how it will evolve, adapt and ultimately progress into the post-COVID future.

      And I believe it is unrealistic to expect any meaningful help for these groups, no matter how fine they are, from the French Government. Emmanuel Macron may be an avid amateur pianist and the “Mozart of the Elysée”, as the French newspaper Le Monde once claimed, but he has shown little interest in engaging with the performing arts community during the pandemic. His hastily arranged video conference on May 6 with 12 artists, some of whom got contacted only 36 hours before the meeting, produced no concrete plans and was perceived as a mere response to criticism of a perceived lack of government support for the cultural sector.

      The unfortunate truth is simply that culture is not the French government’s priority at this moment.

      • Testi says:

        Well, the first french baroque ensemble specialised in opera making was for sure La Grande Ecurie & La Chambre du Roy, conducted by the late Jean-Claude Malgoire. Their marvelous Rinaldo was recorded in 1977, two years before the foundation of Les Arts florissants which became an “opera leader” when Lully’s Atys was performed in 1987. What il true is that Atys gave the start to all the youngsters. Christophe Rousset played the harpsichord in Atys, Marc Minkowski the bassoon, Hugo Reyne the flute… and tenor Hervé Niquet was a member of the choir. Les Arts florissants was first – and many think remains – an unrivaled ensemble for french sacred music and oratorios. Just listen to their rendering of Charpentier’s Missa Assunta est Maria. Just Heaven. French government should be prouder of those international value than of Paris Opera, indeed.

        • MezzoLover says:

          Glad you brought up Jean-Claude Malgoire – his 1974 recording of Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes (with a perfectly cast Rachel Yakar as Émilie) is still a sentimental favorite of mine. He may not have the refinement of detail of a William Christie (who does?), but the sheer élan vital with wich he leads his singers and ensemble in this glorious music never fails to bring a smile to my face.