The Rameau Project

Professor Graham Sadler (University of Oxford & Birmingham Conservatoire)

Dr Jonathan Williams (Director of College Music, St Hilda’s College, Oxford)


The Rameau Project

The Rameau Project is a major multidisciplinary research project devoted to the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). Directed by Dr Jonathan Williams of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, this ongoing venture has been supported by the University’s John Fell Fund, the AHRC and Arts Council England, as well as by several trusts funds and private individuals named below.

Rameau’s 30 operas are among the most aesthetically complex theatrical forms of the Enlightenment period; as such they offer fascinating opportunities for research into music, dance, dramaturgy, and the wider environment of Enlightenment thought and practice. The principal objectives of this Oxford-based project are therefore to explore this extraordinary multimedia repertoire, addressing compelling issues of composer-specific practices– particularly regarding Rameau’s use of complex choreography – and to develop the expertise in music and dance required to communicate it to a modern audience.

The Project began in November 2012 with Jonathan conducting the première of his edition of Rameau’s Anacréon (of 1754) with the world-renowned Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. From this auspicious start has grown a major collaboration which has so far given rise to two conferences, the first UK studio recording of a Rameau opera since 1980, numerous radio broadcasts and the performance of three of Rameau’s operas at London’s South Bank Centre, all presented with eighteenth-century choreography.

Future plans include two forthcoming publications (2016), a conference on French performance practices (September 2017) and a fully staged production of Rameau’s Les fêtes d’Hébé in collaboration with the Royal College of Music, the Paris Opera and the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (Easter 2017).



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