Margaux Blanchard & Sylvain Sartre
Baroque music, Chamber music, Church music, Vocal music
Intergenerational, committed and authentic, the project of Les Ombres has developed over the past twelve years from chamber music to opera, in a quest for excellence and respect for ethical values dear to its founders, whose evident complementarity is keenly communicative.
The project of Les Ombres emerged from the close artistic complicity between Margaux Blanchard and Sylvain Sartre at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Two timbres, two personalities, the same curiosity for forgotten repertories. His transverse flute and the bow of her bass viol blend to form a sound with a unique identity; this basic ingredient is complemented by a range of disciplines and skills from keyboard playing to conducting, which together shape their project. While Sylvain Sartre, at the prompting of Hervé Niquet, has since turned his attention to conducting, Margaux Blanchard, whose talents in this respect were first brought out by Leonardo García Alarcón, specialises in accompanying singers, which has naturally led them to perform vocal and operatic music, most strikingly with the modern premiere of the opera Sémiramis by André Cardinal Destouches in 2018.
Faithful to the precepts of historically informed performance, since 2008 the ensemble has built up a network of partners contributing to the promotion and dissemination of the French and European Baroque musical heritage, notably through the conclusion of a joint residency agreement between the Centre Culturel de Rencontre d’Ambronay and the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. Ever since its creation, Les Ombres has benefited from privileged partnerships with a number of key educational institutions. The principle of transmission that lies at the heart of the group’s creative process enables it to conceive unique productions in which stage movement and lighting project the poetry of the music into spatial terms. In order to guarantee future generations a space for creative expression, Les Ombres organises participatory concerts and innovative professional integration schemes.
Les Ombres has been invited to appear in such celebrated venues as La Grange au Lac at Évian, the Opéra de Montpellier, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, La Folle Journée in Nantes and in Japan, and the Ambronay Festival. It has worked with the Chœur du Concert Spirituel, the soloists of the Académie de l’Opéra National de Paris, and winners or nominees of the Vocal and Instrumental Revelations awards at the Victoires de la Musique Classique such as the mezzo-soprano Éléonore Pancrazi and the violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte, as well as the American countertenor Christopher Lowrey, the soprano Emmanuelle de Negri and the haute-contre Mathias Vidal.
The ensemble records for Mirare and, for occasional projects, the Château de Versailles label. Its productions have been filmed for Culturebox and mezzo, and its recordings have received critical acclaim, winning such distinctions as ffff de Télérama, ‘Choc’ de Classica, Quobuzissime, ‘Coup de cœur’ from Le Jardin des Critiques on France Musique and Supersonic from Pizzicato.
La Caisse des Dépôts is the principal patron of Les Ombres. The ensemble also receives support from the DRAC and the Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region. It is a member of FEVIS, PROFEDIM and the Bureau Export.