Tonight’s selection is Psyché, an opera (technically a tragédie lyrique) in a prologue and five acts composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully to a libretto by Thomas Corneille. The work was based on the love story of Cupid and Psyche and adapted from Molière’s original play, for which Lully had composed the music that would be played between acts. The play was so successful that Lully is believed to have wanted to capitalize on the opportunity by expanding the intermezzo music into a full blown opera. Psyché premiered on April 19, 1678 at the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris, and is said to have been very well received, as were all of Lully’s works (although it had only been revived twice until recently).
Tonight’s recording is a 2008 recording that features Carolyn Sampson, Karina Gauvin, Aaron Sheehan, Colin Balzer, Amanda Forsythe, and Mireille Lebel. The Boston Early Music Festival and Chorus are directed by Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.