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Lyrical Baroque Ensemble


H. Desmarest

A dream career

A page in the Court of Louis XIV where he followed the teachings of masters such as Pierre Robert, Henry du Mont and Jean-Baptiste Lully, Henry Desmarets envisioned a career at the Royal Chapel of Versailles. But, involved in a sex scandal, he had to face the law in 1699 and flee France to avoid the gallows.


His work, "Circé", is a lyrical tragedy with a prologue and five acts, presented to the Parisian public in 1694. Along with "Dido", it remains one of the two tragedies that forged Desmarets' skill and notoriety.

Inspired by Lullist, this score is composed on a libretto by Madame de Saintonge, a woman (which was rare). The ambitious creation requires many soloists with accomplished theatrical qualities, a choir, a full orchestra and eight changes of scenery. The Dauphin would attend several performances, a sign of his appreciation. However, the work would not escape the Parisian critics for whom the "music was good and the verses were cold"!

A reconstruction with the Palace of Versailles

Many operas from after the death of the great Lully are still forgotten. “Circé”  until today not given rise to any musicological or restorative work or any recording. Through work of organology and restoration, in collaboration with the Palace of Versailles, we offer to repair this error and restore all the splendor of this score to posterity.


Circé: Véronique Gens
Astérie: Caroline Mutel
Eolie: Cécile Achille
Phaebetor: Romain Bockler
Ulysses: Mathias Vidal
Elphenor: Nicolas Courjal

Musical direction: Sébastien d'Hérin