Friends of Music have teamed up with Baroque 2000 to present Le devin du village, a delightful 18th century opera, next Tuesday 1 May, at the Jewish Centre, 44 K.E. Masinga Road (Old Fort Road), Durban @ 07:45pm.
Le devin du village (The Village Soothsayer) is a celebrated one-act opera by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who also wrote the libretto. It was first performed before the court at Fontainebleau on 18 October 1752 and at the Paris Opera on 1 March 1753. King Louis XV loved the work so much that he offered Rousseau the great honour of a life pension. Rousseau refused the honour. However, the opera became one of the most popular of its day and brought him both wealth and fame. The opera was also performed at the wedding of the future Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
An English translation by Charles Burney, The Cunning Man was performed in London in 1762. Rousseau's work was the object of a parody in the Singspiel Bastien und Bastienne by the twelve-year-old Mozart.
In the opera, Colin and Colette love one another, yet they suspect each other of being unfaithful, in Colin's case with the lady of the manor and in Colette's with a courtier. They each seek the advice and support of the village soothsayer in order to reinforce their love. After a series of deceptions, Colin and Colette reconcile and are happily married.
Le devin du village will be performed in concert by Lauren Dassapa (soprano), Warren Vernon-Driscoll (tenor) and Azola Mabutho (bass-baritone) with Baroque 2000 musicians under the leadership of Ralitza Cherneva. The production was first given by Baroque 2000 with support by the Embassy of Switzerland and the Rupert Music Foundation in March this year at Mariannhill and in Gauteng to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Rousseau in 1712.
Tickets at R60 (FOM members), R70 (non-members) and R20 (students) are available at the door and can also be booked though Computicket on 0861 915 8000. Safe parking is provided.