For more than twenty years, the Ensemble Matheus has been one of the most renowned ensembles in the world of classical music, thanks to its bold and accessible artistic approach.
Jean-Christophe Spinosi created the Matheus Quartet in 1991, driven by his desire for innovation and continual research, and it soon evolved into the Ensemble Matheus.
Playing in variable formation from ‘‘chamber ensemble’’ to ‘‘symphonic orchestra’’, the Ensemble Matheus has since its inception endeavoured to combine different music genres. It performs a wide repertoire extending from the Baroque music to contemporary on both modern and traditional instruments.
Its passion and pioneering enthusiasm for original repertoire led it to make a series of recordings devoted to Vivaldi, a composer whose masterpieces were then absent from the discography: it produced several albums and four operas which quickly became legendary, arousing an excited following throughout the world.
Through numerous concerts and recordings, it has developed musical friendships with like-minded well-known artists: among them Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Natalie Dessay, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Sandrine Piau, and many others.
From 2007 and for nearly 10 years, the Ensemble Matheus performed new opera productions every season at the Théâtre du Châtelet: La Pietra del Paragone, Véronique, Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, Norma, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Orlando Paladino and Il re pastore.
Other appearances in Paris include productions at the Opéra National de Paris (Alcina) and at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Cosi fan tutte and Orlando Furioso), where it was given standing ovations for Die Zauberflöte.
Proud of its Breton origins, the Ensemble Matheus is equally active in its home region of Brittany, particularly in Brest. These strong local roots lead it to many regional tours, performing in Lorient, Vannes, Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix and at the Opéra de Rennes, not forgetting neighbouring towns.
In view of making classical music more accessible to all, the Ensemble Matheus will continue its series of educational programmes devoted to young people. It will also set up for the eighth year running an “Opéra en Région”, a project it initiated and that takes a full opera production on tour throughout Brittany.
The Ensemble Matheus has performed all around the world, including New York (Carnegie Hall), Vienna (Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien), Zurich (Tonhalle), London (BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, Wigmore Hall), Rome (Accademia Santa Cecilia), Bilbao (Sociedad Filarmónica, Bilbao Opera), Québec (Grand Théâtre), Dortmund (Konzerthaus), Moscow (Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), Barcelona (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Palau de la Musica), Seoul (Lotte Concert Hall)… After their triumph at the Theater an der Wien in Le Comte Ory, the Ensemble Matheus and Cecilia Bartoli continued their close collaboration with two more Rossini operas, Otello at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and La Cenerentola at both Whitsun and Summer Salzburg Festival in 2014.
Its last recording for Deutsche Grammophon was unanimously acclaimed by the press and received the “Choc” distinction from Classica magazine.
New season’s highlights include L’Incoronazione di Poppea – celebrating the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth – in Barcelona and Bilbao, a special season at the Château de Versailles implying five performances at the Opéra Royal and the Chapelle Royale, a musical “battle” performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in Russia and in France, a concert performance of Carmen with the forces of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Dixit Dominus in Brittany, Barcelona and Versailles, as well as a Europe tour of the Four Seasons. The greatly expected reunion of Ensemble Matheus and Cecilia Bartoli also took place in 2018, at both the Whitsun and Summer Salzburg Festivals, with Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. After its success at the Vieilles Charrues festival and its unforgettable Folle Nuit des Matheus in Brest and in the Parisian venue Olympia, the Ensemble Matheus endeavours more than ever to develop unique musical experiences in order to make music as vivid and universal as possible.
The Ensemble Matheus is subsidised by the Conseil régional de Bretagne, the Conseil départemental du Finistère, the town of Brest, and the Ministère de la culture et de la communication – DRAC de Bretagne. Its performances are kindly supported by its sponsors, BNP Paribas – Banque de Bretagne and Altarea Cogedim. Air France is the official partner of the Ensemble Matheus.
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