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Association Française pour le Rayonnement du Théâtre du Château de Drottningholm

Musical studies Des Orages

2000 Naumann

Poetry, declamation & music

2002 Dubos

2002 Raparlier   

2001 Bacilly

Poésie, musique & mise au théâtre

2004 Muzio

Bacilly Study Grant: The Rules of French Declamation 10/2002

Programme: Poetry, Declamation and Music at the classical Age

The Rules of French Declamation

French declamation is not a topic, it is a process. During more than a century, the non-ending dialog between librettists and composers in France is the process, through the constitution of the opera, of constituting the language. The process of defining the rules of declamation equals the process of putting them in practice. 

Three important stages in the evolution of French declamation are studied through the study of three important moments: 

  • the first one when Quinault and Lully together transcribe tragic declamation style in Thesée
  • the second one when Voltaire and Rameau confront their innovative ideas on the conception of Samson
  • the third one when Guillard and Gluck re-integrate tragic style in opera declamation in Iphigénie en Tauride

For the first study, I have been able to lead his research in the perspective of a performance of the work. With Boston Early Music Festival (June 2001), in the production of Gilbert Blin, with conductors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, I studied and practiced the libretto of Lully's Thesée, working both on the meaning of the text and on its sounding. I coached the declamation for the chorus; for this purpose, I made an analysis of XVIIth and XVIIIth century declamation and pronunciation treatises, which I then put at the test of my own practice to be able to interpret them.

This practical and scholarly first approach has been undertaken and accomplished as a most useful experience for the two next studies. 

Rémy-Michel Trotier

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