ATMA presents the first recording of Sémélé, the recently discovered masterpiece by Marin Marais. Gérard Geay of the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles has reconstituted the score from the original manuscripts, allowing us to hear the world premiere performance of the instrumental sections of the opera at Festival Montréal Baroque. This major festival of baroque music takes place every year in Old Montreal and is directed by the internationally renowned gambist Susie Napper.
The instrumental suite from Sémélé has been recorded in the SACD surround sound format. Wieland Kuijken continues his collaboration with the Quebec label, following a magnificent recording of the Concerts à trois violes of Marin Marais with Les voix humaines. This time he directs the Bande Montréal Baroque, in a version at once balanced and flamboyant.
Marais’s opera, full of inventiveness, tells the story of Sémélé (daughter of King Cadmus), who shares a reciprocated love with Jupiter. Juno, extremely jealous, suggests that Sémélé ask her lover to prove that he is indeed Jupiter by showing himself armed with his thunder, which no mortal can withstand! The final act shows the fatal apparition; with earthquakes and thunder, Sémélé is struck down, as a rain of fire destroys the palace of Cadmus.