Les Paladins

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Les Paladins is an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau first performed on 12 February 1760 at the Paris Opera. The author of the libretto is unknown, but it has been attributed to Duplat de Monticourt. Rameau called Les Paladins a comédie lyrique, putting it in the same category as his earlier work Platée.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, February 12, 1760
(Conductor: - )
Anselme bass Monsieur Gélin
Argie soprano Sophie Arnould
Orcan baritone Henri Larrivée
Nérine soprano Marie-Jeanne Larrivée (née Lemière)
Atis tenor Lombard
La fée Manto haute-contre Jean-Pierre Pillot
Un paladin tenor Muguet


Act 1[edit]

Scene: An old castle near a forest
Argie is in love with the paladin Atis. But her guardian, Anselme, wants to marry her himself and is holding Argie captive along with her friend Nérine. Nérine tries to charm their jailor, Orcan, into releasing them. Atis and his fellow paladins arrive disguised as pilgrims; he intends to carry Argie away with him on a pilgrimage of love. He easily overcomes Orcan, but at this moment, Anselme returns.

Act 2[edit]

Scene: A hamlet near Anselme's castle
Orcan warns Anselme about the pilgrims. Argie confesses her love for Atis to Anselme. Anselme pretends that he will give her his blessing, but once she has left, he tells Orcan to kill her. Orcan is reluctant and Nérine, realising Anselme's plan, again distracts him by pretending she is in love with him. The band of paladins, disguised as demons, give Orcan a beating.

Act 3[edit]

Scene: The same as Act 2
The paladins are celebrating their success when Anselme appears with a group of armed followers. Argie, Atis and their friends take refuge in the castle, which Anselme then besieges. They are saved by the fairy Manto, whom Atis once rescued. Manto magically transforms the castle into a superb palace and uses this luxury to help seduce Anselme. Argie can now point to Anselme's infidelity and he admits defeat. Argie and Atis are reunited and the opera ends with a celebration of their love.


  • Les Paladins Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (2 DVDs, Opus Arte, 2005)