In 1971 Dartmouth prof William Christie settled down in Europe, hoping to make his mark on the early-music scene there. Two decades later the expatriate is the head of the French ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Founded in Paris around 1979 and named after a work by the Baroque master Marc-Antoine Charpentier, the vocal and instrumental group is arguably the most eloquent and elegant interpreter of 17th- and 18th-century music. Its performances are based on thorough research; and Christie, for his role in reviving interest in Baroque vocal technqiues, has been voted “musician of the year” a couple of times by French critics–a distinction not often bestowed on foreigners. For this rare Chicago appearance Les Arts will present Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, incidental music for an anonymous adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Purcell’s score–a series of instrumental interludes and songs interpolated into the spoken drama–is lively, passionate, and full of inventive touches. It’s atmospheric without being merely decorative, illustrative yet dramatic. This concert will take place in the cavernous Civic Opera House–but to insure intimacy, the audience will be seated on the stage and the musicians will perform on a platform placed over the orchestra pit. Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker; 242-6237 or 663-1628.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ken Collins.