Rameau Redux: Why the French Composer Deserves Our Attention

By Fred Plotkin

March 25, 2014

This year is not only the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, about whom I will write at various points throughout the year, but also the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), one of the most unsung (in every sense) of the great composers.

Rameau’s Pygmalion will be staged in June by On Site Opera, one of New York’s most original and enterprising companies. Once they choose an opera, they then select the ideal place to perform it. I very much enjoyed their Blue Monday by George Gershwin at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Pygmalion by Rameau will be done in two venues: First (June 17) will be Madame Tussaud’s wax museum on West 42nd Street, where the statuary seems to come to life and yet not quite. Just as interesting will be the performances on June 20 and 21, which take place in Lifestyle-Trimco Mannequin Showroom on West 25th where, I would assume, the mannequins would represent frozen figures waiting to be brought to life.

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