At the death of Lully, Superintendent of royal music, the French public gradually lost interest in opera. A new fashion began : listening to the music in salons. The French cantata really took off and soon became a major genre. A miniature opera inspired by the Italian cantata, this short play sung with a small instrumental work, without decor or costumes, nevertheless tells a story through recitatives and tunes. The singer, like a "singing actor", plays at the same time the role of the person or characters and that of the narrator who tells, comments and sometimes even enunciates the morality of history. The argument, generally profane, evokes mythological or amorous tales in French language; however some composers seize upon biblical subjects, drawn especially from the Old Testament as the stories of Moses, Suzanne, Judith or Rachel. This is the case of Sébastien de Brossard, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, author of two collections of "French Cantatas on subjects taken from Scripture" or Jean-Baptiste Drouard du Bousset and his son René. Even though the Bible offers many spectacular stories, it also offers texts conducive to reflection and praise such as psalms which, translated very freely into French or treated poetically, incite the Christian to observe a more exemplary behaviour for the greatest glory of God.
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