Les Fables de La Fontaine


Children read the Fables too early at school, at an age where their resonances, their literary and psychological subtleties are mostly out of reach. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was already complaining about it in Emile: « We teach all the children the Fables, but none understand them. »


The 18th Century was marked by the major project of Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749) who accommodated 127 Fables for singing. They are not literarily set to music as much as condensed in a shorter text, that becomes a kind of metaphor of the original fable and can really differ from it. La Cigale et la fourmi hence becomes La Sauterelle et la fourmi, and is only made of two stanzas, one for summer, the other for winter. The melody is not fully original but based on a well-known theme of the time : an opera aria, an aristocratic or popular song, an instrumental piece… Flute, viola, harp and theorbo constitute the best instrumental quatuor to incarnate the lyricism, the rhythmic subtlety, and the chamber intimacy of the Fables.


Rather than dedicating itself to the Clérambault’s Fables only, this program was designed as a tribute to the wit of La Fontaine, through arias he could have heard, and arias he inspired. The listener might have felt weariness by a simplistic and unfamiliar compilation of the Fables set to music. But here the interpretation of some Fables by a comedian offers a living dialogue with their musical version. The renowned airs de cour of this period, the picturesque and bucolic instrumentalisation, both diverting and sensitive, are the backdrop of these endless Fables.

Lou de Laâge, récitante
Marie-Claude Chappuis, mezzo-soprano

Alex Vizorek, récitant | Jennifer Decker, récitante (Comédie-Française) | Thierry Péteau, récitant
Mathias Vidal, ténor | Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano

La Chapelle Harmonique
Valentin Tournet, direction


Mercredi 1er septembre 2021
Opéra Royal de Versailles

Vendredi 3 septembre 2021
Opéra Royal de Versailles

Vendredi 1er octobre 2021

Mercredi 6 octobre 2021

Vendredi 24 novembre 2021

Samedi 27 novembre 2021, 21h