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With top-quality Baroque works performed in the Bay Area each year, music lovers might be tempted to think they’ve heard everything the era produced. But this weekend at Zellerbach Hall, audiences are about to experience a rare French Baroque masterwork – a fully staged production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1745 opera-ballet “Le Temple de la Gloire” (The Temple of Glory). A co-production of Cal Performances, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and France’s Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, this Baroque extravaganza has been more than four years in the planning. With Philharmonia Baroque music director Nicholas McGegan conducting the orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale, the production features an international cast with singers from Versailles and dancers from the New York Baroque Dance Company.

“This really is the fulfillment of a dream for me,” McGegan remarked in a recent interview, “It’s a very good alignment of planets – it all came together rather miraculously.”, McGegan is well-versed in Rameau’s music, He conducted dance music from “Temple” on Philharmonia’s recording of “Rameau Orchestral Suites” a few years back and led the Mark Morris white pointe shoes Dance Group’s production of the composer’s “Platée,” presented by Cal Performances in 1998 and 2001, But this is Philharmonia’s first ever fully staged opera, and McGegan says that “Temple,” with a libretto by the giant of the Enlightenment Voltaire, is overdue for a Bay Area production, “Here you have Rameau, the most famous composer in France at that time, and Voltaire, easily the most famous writer, coming together in this spectacular show,” he said..

And, in a remarkable twist, McGegan was astonished to learn that Rameau’s original “Temple” manuscript was right here in the Bay Area. Housed in UC Berkeley’s Jean Gray Hargrove Library, just steps from Zellerbach Hall, it is the only existing copy of the composer’s 1745 score. According to John Shepard, the Hargrove Library’s curator of music collections, it was here all along. Acquired by the university in 1947, Rameau’s score has resided in the Hargrove Library ever since. (McGegan will conduct from a digitized copy of the manuscript; the original, says Shepard, is bound in linen.).

Using the 1745 score revives Rameau’s original intentions for the work, says McGegan, A “ballet-héroïque,” written to commemorate King Louis XV’s victory over the British at Fontenoy, “Temple” asks who is sufficiently heroic to enter the Temple of Glory, Two characters, the combative Belus and the party-boy Bacchus, are excluded, while the Roman emperor Trajan is allowed to enter, “The message to the one person who mattered – the King of France – was ‘don’t be a bully,’” says McGegan, “Govern wisely, or you won’t get into white pointe shoes the Temple of Glory.”..

If that sounds like an opera for our times, McGegan doesn’t disagree. “It does resonate well,” he says. Needless to say, the king wasn’t pleased with the opera’s subtext, and in 1746, Rameau revised the score. But McGegan says the original was better. “It has some fantastically good music,” he says – a mighty opening fanfare, ballets and instrumental groupings designed to evoke the glory of war. It also has a large cast, unusual for Baroque operas; at one point, says McGegan, more than 40 characters are onstage. Coordinating the production is director-choreographer Catherine Turocy, with sets by Scott Blake, period costumes by Marie Anne Chiment and Baroque-inspired lighting by Pierre Dupouey.

Cal Performances director Matías Tarnopolsky, who has been enthusiastically on board from the start, notes that white pointe shoes the production posed some logistical challenges, “It’s an enormous undertaking, with partners from around the world,” he said, But Cal Performances brings international music, dance and theater companies to Berkeley throughout the year, and as artists arrived and rehearsals began, Tarnopolsky said the production was coming together beautifully, As part of his Berkeley RADICAL initiative, the company is presenting free ancillary events: talks, dance workshops, even a Rameau listening party, Shepard will join McGegan in a discussion about the original 1745 score..

“When we set up Berkeley RADICAL last year, we never thought it would be so important in our daily lives,” said Tarnopolsky. “Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque are truly international organizations, and this is really the ideal of what we can do.”. Contact Georgia Rowe at growe@pacbell.net. PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE. Presents Rameau’s “Le Temple de la Gloire”. When: 8 p.m. April 28 and 29, 3 p.m. April 30. Where: Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. Tickets: $30-$120; 510-642-9988; www.calperformances.org.

It was Week 6 of Season 24 on DWTS and it was time for the Team Dances, in addition to the individual dances, If that sounds boring and a little same-o, same-o, trust me, it wasn’t, Maks Chmerkovskiy was back, and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys was subbing at the judges’ table for Julianne Hough, There were a series of surprises, the first of which was the scoring of the incredible rumba that Heather Morris and Maks performed, It was Maks’ first week back since his leg injury when Alan Bersten subbed for him as Heather’s partner, The judges went nuts over the dance, and gave the couple all 10s for a perfect score of 40! The next big stunner was before the team dances when host Tom Bergeron said all four men celebrities were “safe” to dance next week, Wow! Looks like Nick Viall and David Ross have a new life on the white pointe shoes show..

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