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  • Wednesday March 27th 2024
  • Royal Chapel
  • 9pm | 1h15 without intermission


  • Marie Perbost Soprano
  • Gwendoline Blondeel Soprano
  • Chœur de l’Opéra Royal
  • Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal
  • Under the patronage of Aline Foriel-Destezet
  • Chloé de Guillebon Organ and conductor


In the mid-17th century, the Leçons de Ténèbres became the subject of increasingly popular musical compositions. Michel Lambert was the first in France to compose a cycle in 1662, soon followed by Charpentier and Lalande. But the most famous – and the first to return to the limelight, both live and on disk – are those composed by François Couperin, dated 1714.


At the end of the reign of Louis XIV, France was a land of piety, but also of Italianism in music, including religious music. The emotions composed by Couperin for his female singers are so dramatic that they sound like something out of an opera. Vocality and spirituality are artfully combined, attesting to the refinement of great French singing found both in salons and theatres and in places of worship.

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People flocked to listen to the divine voices intoning the Leçons for the days of Holy Week in Parisian convents, the faceless voices of young recluse sisters, voices from heaven, and substitute opera singers too when theatres were closed during the period of penance! The altar candles were traditionally extinguished as the Tenebrae service unfolded, to end in the darkness of the night. The three lessons retained by François Couperin were written for Shrove Wednesday and represent one of the pinnacles of French sacred art of the early eighteenth century.


Marie Perbost and Gwendoline Blondeel, two stars of the young generation of sopranos, directed by Chloé de Guillebon, revive this musical miracle in the darkening night, as the candles are extinguished one by one…


The Royal Opera Productions


Available in the Château de Versailles Spectacles collection

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Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749)
Motets pour les trois jours qui précèdent le carême

François Couperin (1668-1733)
Première Leçon de Ténèbres pour le Mercredi Saint

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)
In monte oliveti

François Couperin
Deuxième Leçon de Ténèbres pour le Mercredi Saint

Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Tristis est anima mea

François Couperin
Troisième Leçon de Ténèbres pour le Mercredi Saint

Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Stabat Mater pour les religieuses

Royal Chapel

PRESTIGE VIP CATEGORY : Best seats in house with complimentary glass of champagne and programme.


PRESTIGE CATEGORY : Excellent seats with complimentary glass of champagne and programme.


REDUCED RATE applicable to under 26s, Chateau de Versailles Spectacles card holders and groups of more than 10 people (excluding special company offer).


To ensure the best welcome possible, people with limited mobility are advised to book their seats by telephone at +33 (0)1 30 83 78 89.


In case of any technical problem, the box office service remains available to complete your order by phone at +33 (0)1 30 83 78 89 (Monday-Friday from 11am to 6pm) or in our box office-shop (3 bis rue des Réservoirs, 78000 Versailles ; Monday-Friday from 11am to 6pm, and on Saturdays with concerts or shows except during the Musical Fountains Shows, from 2pm to 5pm).

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