OH, THOSE FRENCH AND THEIR ROVING KNIGHTS

Les Paladins, Jean-Philippe Rameau's 1760 comic opera-ballet that combines fable, fantasy and buffoonery, is considered the composer's greatest work. A model of orchestration, theater, song and dance, its title, which refers to the roving knights in search of new adventures, made an impression on one group in particular: Les Paladins of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. Known for venturing into the uncharted waters of many a rare Baroque masterpiece, this ensemble of consummate artists could be considered the musical equivalent of the medieval adventurers, and they've garnered praise for the "rare beauty" of their voices and the "joyous vitality" of their musicianship. This week, the Getty Villa presents Les Paladins in French Baroque Heroes, a program featuring works by Rameau, Couperin, Lully and Charpentier, which complements the exhibition "Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution" and captures the stately, exquisitely melodious charm of the French court.
Sun., Sept. 13, 3 p.m., 2009