Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Midweek Music Spot: Dance of the Savages from "Les Indes galantes" by Rameau

I have not been able to find a version of Rameau's 18th century Opera, "The Amorous Indies" with English subtitles, so here it is in the original French. It's classed as a "ballet héroïque" but I think most people other than experts on opera would call it a light-hearted romantic comedy.

This piece is nicknamed "Dance of the Savages" which is very much in the tradition of the 18th century ideal of the "noble savage." The hero and heroine of this fourth and final act of the opera are native Americans and they are the two characters who sing the duet. The hero's rivals for the love of the heroine are a Frenchman and a Spaniard.

The dance, duet and chorus is actually a celebration of peace and love - the pipe which you see in the hero's mouth represents the Pipe of Peace.



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