Available languages: EnglishThe French ensemble Les Ombres combines performance and research, reviving and performing unknown as well as standard works of the Baroque and Classical eras on historically appropriate instruments. The small group has collaborated with a variety of larger ensembles. Les Ombres ("The Shadows") was formed in 2008 by viola da gamba player Margaux Blanchard and flutist Sylvain Sartre. The name came from that of a work that opened a concert held in honor of King Louis XIII. Les Ombres began performing with just the two founders, plus harpsichordist Nadja Lesaulnier; this ensemble took second prize at the 2009 International Competition of Early Music "A Tre" in Trossingen, Germany. Since then, the ensemble has added other musicians as necessary for larger works from quartets to chamber orchestra pieces and has collaborated with choirs and opera companies on yet larger projects. As of the late 2010s, there were about 20 standing members. Les Ombres have brought to light works buried in French libraries, including a set of French cantatas from the Louis XV era in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. These works, by such unknown names as André Cardinal Destouches and Charles-Hubert Gervais, were performed for the first time at the Ambronay Festival in 2009. Balancing its musicological interests, however, has been a series of projects that present Baroque music in innovative ways. The group created "Baroque Fantastique," a theatrical presentation that merged Baroque music with 20th century poetry. Similarly, Les Ombres participated in several new stage presentations created by the Opéra Comédie de Montpellier. The group has held residencies at the Opéra de Saint-Etienne, the Châtea de Lunéville, the Opéra national de Montpellier, the Singer-Poliganc Foundation, and the festival Les Nuits musicales d'Uzès. After releasing a recording of François Couperin's Les Nations on the Ambronay Festival's label, Les Ombres was signed to the major label Mirare. It has released albums devoted to Telemann's quartets, works related to the figure of Sémélé by Handel, Marin Marais, and Destouches, and in 2020, to Luigi Boccherini.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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