« Les Rois-Mages »
« The Three Magi »

Duration : 60 minutes

The so-called « Musical Hours in Perigord » Society, in connexion with the Ministry of Culture, for some years commissioned several pieces of musical theatre.
The basic aim was to put together local non-professional choirs with professional musicians : instrumentalists mostly recruted among teachers of the french South-West conservatories, and internationally famous operatic singers.
It was here the matter of an oratorio composed on a libretto by Vincent Fournier.

« The plot follows the evangelical tradition : Herod, getting ready to celebrate the Solstice Festival, is informed of the birth of a child-god by three kings who are going their way under a star’s leadership. He makes the kings promise to relate everything on their way back. The Holy Innocents’massacre concludes Herod’s anger due to the king’s retraction. Vincent Fournier treated of this subject on a rather theatrical way, casting Herod (Jacques Bona) and the Three Magi (Robert Dumé, Louis Hagen-William, Jean-Christophe Benoît) for the main parts. The scenes take place alternately in the outskirts of Jerusalem, in Herod’s palace, by night, in Bethlehem, on the road ...
In the drama the choir is the psychological core for observation, commentary and action. The scenes are short but very illustrative and are organized in a dramatical progression which culminates in a march, musically illustrated by a long and mysterious vocalized melody of the Star (the sublime Christiane Eda-Pierre). This superb sequence leads to the worship of the struck of admiration Magi. Everything is straight and efficient, moving above all, like the angel’s song that one could believe composed for a boy’s voice, in fact confided to Françoise Pilleboue’s blank voice, prompting the Magi not to yield to Herod’s injunctions.
Édith Lejet was very careful to the prosody and the choir’s writing, always direct and effective.
Guy Erismann
Opéra International, march 1990

Translation of an extract from a letter written on 19 may 1990 by Gérard Condé (music critic of the newspaper « Le Monde ») :
... With pleasure I remark again the neatness of the writing, without dryness, the taste for and the sense of what is essential, a certain delicacy in violence, which emaciates it instead of inflating, a certain lyricism of very simple things, that already struck me in other works of yours that I have had the opportunity of listening to.
Moreover it is always vocally well written, which is not common nowadays. »

Éditions Billaudot