Birth of the English opera

Composer : Ensemble Correspondances

This playlist retraces a little history of the birth of the very first English opera, Psyche. As early as the 1630's, the ingredients of opera are imiscent in the English repertory with plaintive songs (1), others carried away (2), small scenes of a few minutes retracing an episode of mythology (4), dramatic choruses (5-6), and soon great accompanied arias (7). Finally, from all these ingredients, on the French model (and a little Italian all the same), Matthew Locke makes appear the recipe of the English opera! There are instrumental pieces that have nothing to envy to those of the French court ballets and to Lully's overtures (8, 12), delicate scenes playing on space (9), large and very visual scenes such as the one of the Priest preparing Psyche's sacrifice in front of his people (10-11 ), Tantalus' wheel in the Underworld amidst the furies (12-13), or the sweetness of paradise with three Elysean lovers whose love is as much suffering as it is sweetness (15) The splendor of the great ensembles also underlines the sense of great entertainment which must delight the court (16). And all this while keeping a taste for dissonances, subtle counterpoints that neither the French nor the Italians take away from them. There is no doubt: this first opera was born on the other side of the Channel!