• Events
May 26
Film Series
POSTPONED | The Confession Embassy of France - La Maison Française 4101 Reservoir Road, NW - Washington, DC

POSTPONED: Maria Vespers by Monteverdi, a Pierre Audi's production with Pygmalion Ensemble at the Park Avenue Armory

Please note that this event has been postponed.

From March 21-29, French conductor Raphaël Pichon will lead Pygmalion playing Maria Vespers by Monteverdi, a Pierre Audi's production at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

Maria Vespers, written in 1610 and among Claudio Monteverdi’s greatest choral and instrumental achievements, will be performed in the Armory’s soaring Wade Thompson Drill Hall in the North American premiere of Pierre Audi’s celebrated Dutch National Opera’s production that opened the 2017 Holland Festival. Conductor Raphaël Pichon will lead his renowned Baroque orchestra and choral ensemble Pygmalion in this tour de force, offering up a dizzying array of textures and sonorities, opulent choruses, and touching solo arias and duets. Audi’s fresh visual and spatial interpretation with its cathedral-like setting and wandering chorus creates a wondrous, spiritual mise-en-écoute. Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere‘s massive, haunting sculpture Cripplewood constitutes the central visual element.

About Pierre Audi

Pierre Audi is the Armory’s Marina Kellen French Artistic Director. He is also the director of the Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence and a stage director.

As a stage director he collaborated with many visual artists, including Karel Appel, Georg Baselitz, Anish Kapoor, Herzog & de Meuron, Jannis Kounellis, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Jonathan Meese. Many of his productions, introduced in Amsterdam, have gone on to earn acclaim on other stages, including his cycle of all four Monteverdi operas, which have been seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Sydney Festival and Los Angeles Opera. He has established a large repertoire of contemporary music theater works. His numerous awards include the Leslie Boosey Award for his contribution to British Musical Life, the Medal of Honour, the Drottninholm Sweden, the Prize of Holland’s Theater Critics, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Theater Prize and the Amsterdam Cultural Business Award. In 2009, he became the first recipient of the Johannes Vermeer Award, a new State prize for the arts in The Netherlands. He was knighted in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2000 and was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur a few years later.

About Pygmalion

Pygmalion, a choir and orchestra founded in 2006 by Raphaël Pichon, explores the filiations that link Bach to Mendelssohn, Schütz to Brahms and Rameau to Gluck and Berlioz.

Alongside the great works of the repertoire whose approach the group reinterprets (Bach's Passions, Rameau's lyrical tragedies, Mozart's Great Mass in C minor, Mendelssohn's Elias, Monteverdi's Vespers), Pygmalion strives to build original programs that highlight the links between works while also reviving their original spirit: Mozart & The Weber Sisters; Mirand with music by Purcell; Stravaganza d'Amore!, which evokes the birth of the opera at the Medici court; Enfers with Stéphane Degout; the cycle Bach en 7 paroles at the Philharmonie de Paris; and Libertà!; which retraces the beginnings of Mozart's dramma giocoso.

In residence at the Opéra national de Bordeaux, Pygmalion regularly performs on the most prestigious French stages (Philharmonie de Paris, Opéra royal de Versailles, Opéra-Comique, Aix-en-Provence etc.) and also abroad (Vienna, Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Barcelona etc.). Its discography has received recognition worldwide: Classica's Choc, Gramophone Award, Preis der Schallplattenkritik etc.

About Raphaël Pichon

Raphaël Pichon began his musical training through singing, the violin, and the piano at Parisian conservatories (CNSMDP, CRR). As a young countertenor he sang under the direction of Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, and Geoffroy Jourdain with whom he performed contemporary works.

In 2006 he founded Pygmalion, a choir and a period-instrument orchestra which quickly distinguished itself by the originality of its projects. Alongside his ensemble, Raphaël Pichon has performed at the Philharmonie de Paris, the Château de Versailles, the BBC Proms, the Bozar Bruxelles, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Palau de la Musica Catalana of Barcelona, the French May in Hong-Kong and the Beijing Music Festival. On the opera stage, Raphaël Pichon conducts various productions at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, at the Festival lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Amsterdam Opera and the Opéra national de Bordeaux. He collaborates with directors such as Romeo Castellucci, Katie Mitchell, Simon McBurney, Michel Fau, Pierre Audi, Aurélien Bory and Jetske Mijnssen.

During the 2019-2020 season, Raphaël Pichon will conduct a new production of Cavalli's Ercole Amante at the Opéra-omique, make his New York debut for Monteverdi's Vespers directed by Pierre Audi and return to the Salzburg Festival and the Berlin Philharmonic. He will also conduct numerous concerts dedicated to Praetorius or Mendelssohn as the new artistic director of the Mysteria Paschalia Festival in Krakow. 

Conductor Raphaël Pichon, sculptor Berlinde de Bruyckere, and Armory Artistic Director Pierre Audi discuss adapting Monteverdi’s sacred work for contemporary audiences

North American Premiere
A Park Avenue Armory, Dutch National Opera, and Holland Festival Production

Raphaël Pichon, Conductor
Featuring Ensemble Pygmalion
Pierre Audi, Staging
Berlinde de Bruyckere, Cripplewood Sculpture
Roel van Berkelayer, Design
Urs Schönebaum, Lighting Design
Jan Panis, Sound Design

March 21–29, 2020

Friday and Saturday at 8pm
Sunday at 3pm
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7:30pm
Tickets start at $45 (plus fees)

Artist Talk: Maria Vespers
Monday, March 23, 2020 at 6:00pm
Tickets: $15


“A spell-binding ritual…Beauty, suffering, mystery, heaven and earth—Monteverdi’s ravishing Maria Vespers embodies all of these, as did this production.”
Opera Today

“Raphaël Pichon, utterly immersed in the music, serves Monteverdi well with a focused opulence and extreme lyricism. Sober, tender, and passionate”
Le Monde