The ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, which takes its name from the subtitle of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera ‘Les Fêtes d’Hébé’ (1739), was formed in 1991 by the harpsichordist and conductor Christophe Rousset. Championing a broad vocal and instrumental repertoire, ranging from early Baroque to the beginnings of Romanticism, the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques aim to throw light on the great masterpieces of musical history, while providing perspective by presenting rarer or little known works that are important as missing links in the European musical heritage. This musicological and editorial work, which contributes to its renown, is a priority for the ensemble.
Les Talens Lyriques perform to date works by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Landi, Handel, Lully, Desmarest, Mondonville, Cimarosa, Traetta, Jommelli, Martin y Soler, Mozart, Salieri, Rameau, Gluck, Beethoven, Cherubini, García, Berlioz, Massenet, Gounod and Saint-Saëns. The re-creation of these works goes hand in hand with close collaboration with stage directors and choreographers such as Pierre Audi, David McVicar, Eric Vigner, Ludovic Lagarde, Mariame Clément, Jean-Pierre Vincent, Macha Makeieff, Laura Scozzi, Natalie van Parys, Marcial di Fonzo Bo, Claus Guth, Robert Carsen, David Hermann, Christof Loy, Jetske Mijnssen, Alban Richard and David Lescot.
As well as opera, Les Talens Lyriques explore other musical genres: madrigal, cantata, ‘air de cour’, symphonies, and the vast corpus of sacred music (masses, motets, oratorios, and so on). In formations varying from a handful of musicians to more than sixty, representing every generation, they give performances all over the world.
Les Talens Lyriques recorded the famous soundtrack for Gérard Corbiau’s film ‘Farinelli’ (1994), which sold over a million copies. The ensemble now has a discography comprising some sixty references, on various labels. Last season, they have concluded the cycle of French operas by Salieri with the release of ‘Les Horaces’ and the recording of ‘Tarare’.
Since 2007 the musicians of the ensemble have been working to introduce schoolchildren to music, via a programme of ambitious artistic actions and innovative educational initiatives. They are in residence in schools in Paris and Île-de-France, where they have created a student orchestra with young secondary school pupils and a small choir (‘Le petit chœur des Talens’). The three t@lenschool educational applications, downloadable free of charge, have met with much enthusiasm and have received several national and international awards.