Le Poème Harmonique


by Le Poème Harmonique,

direction Vincent Dumestre

Sunday July 24th, 9 pm – Church of Valloire

Born into a noble Roman family, Emilio de’ Cavalieri is the personal musician of Ferdinando de Medicis. For the latter’s wedding to Christine de Lorraine, he is, as such, among those who compose the famous musical intermedi for La Pellegrina. An influential, innovative composer, he is considered to be one of the inventors of monody: relying on the humanist view of aesthetics which places the individual foremost, he shuns polyphony for a vocal style closer to human expression. In this regard, the Lamentations Hieremiae Prophetae, one of his last works, are probably the most original sacred composition of the late 16th century. Indeed, for the first time in the history of church music, Cavalieri resorts to the “stile rappresentativo”, which, through the use of chromatic formulas and false relations, also the use of a soloist answered by a choir, endows these Lamentations with so far unattained expressiveness and poignancy.

Le Poème Harmonique

A dominant presence on French and international scenes, the ensemble founded by Vincent Dumestre in 1998 gathers a number of passionate musicians dedicated to the performance of 17th and 18th century music. Their elected domain? The familiar and less familiar pieces that set the pace for daily life and ceremonies at Versailles (Lalande, Lully, Couperin, Clérambault, Charpentier…), baroque Italy from Monteverdi to Pergolesi, or again English works by Purcell and Clarke. As for opera, they imagine vast frescoes, such as the recent baroque zarzuela Coronis by Durón, staged by Omar Porras. First sealed around Lully, their unfailing collaboration with Benjamin Lazar has given life to a number of widely acclaimed productions (Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Cadmus & Hermione, Phaéton).

Regularly touring major festivals and venues worldwide – Opéra-Comique, Royal Opera of Versailles, Paris Philharmonie, Festivals of Ambronay, Beaune and Sablé, Wigmore Hall (London), Wiener Konzerthaus, Concertgebouw (Bruges), BOZAR (Brussels), Columbia University (New York), Teatro San Carlo (Naples), Accademia Santa Cecilia (Rome), Saint-Petersburg Philharmonia, or again the BBC Proms.… –, Le Poème Harmonique can equally boast an extremely rich discography.

Vincent Dumestre

Direction and theorbo


© Charles Plumey

A former graduate of the Ecole du Louvre (art history) and the Ecole normale de musique de Paris (classical guitar), Vincent Dumestre studies lute, baroque guitar and theorbo. He joins for a while the Ricercar Consort, La Grande Ecurie & La Chambre du Roy, Hespérion XX or again La Symphonie du Marais, before founding his own ensemble.

Vincent Dumestre is today one of the most creative and versatile artisans of the baroque revival, together conducting orchestras, choirs, musical seasons, competitions and festivals, while continuing to play his first instruments, plucked strings.

Vincent Dumestre is an Officer of the French National Order of Arts and Letters and of the French National Order of Merit.


© Philippe Delval


Pieces by Emilio de’ Cavalieri.

Le Poème Harmonique

Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano

William Shelton, Countertenor

Camilo Delgado-Diaz, Serge Goubioud, tenors

Virgile Ancely, baritone

Robin Pharo, Salomé Gasselin, Lucas Peres, Fiona-Émilie Poupard, viols

Victorien Disse, theorbo

Elisabeth Geiger, organ

Vincent Dumestre, theorbo and direction

Le Poème Harmonique is subsidised by the French Ministry of Culture (DRAC of Normandy), the Normandy Region, the Department of Seine-Maritime, the City of Rouen and is in a partnership with the project Démos – Philharmonie de Paris.

Le Poème Harmonique is in residence at the Singer-Polignac Foundation as an associated artist.

Concerning his projects in Normandy, Le Poème Harmonique receives, in particular, the support of Mécénat Musical Société Générale, La Caisse des Dépôts, PGS Group and SNCF Réseau Normandie.