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Les Nouveaux Caractères

Partner ensemble


The Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon is actively involved in the artistic life of Lyon and its region and, over three years, has forged deeper ties with the baroque ensemble Les Nouveaux Caractères, co-founded and conducted by Sébastien d’Hérin.

  • How did your collaboration with the ONL begin ?
  • S. d’H. : Les Nouveaux Caractères is an ensemble based in Lyon and supported by the City and the Region. Two years ago, we performed Handel’s Messiah in the Auditorium: it was a very interesting challenge to perform an 18th century score in a large concert hall of this type. Out of this wonderful experience came the idea of building even closer ties between the Auditorium’s audience and the baroque repertoire.
  • What is the main focus of your programming?
  • S. d’H. : Handel, to be precise, and specifically his early years in Rome. While there, he composed spectacular works for rich patrons, princes and cardinals and was able to use the orchestra trained by the violinist and composer Arcangelo Corelli. The specific instrumental features of this orchestra are our guiding principle. The Dixit Dominus, his third major Roman work, will be framed by contemporary pieces that will underscore the flavours of Handel for the audience.
  • Is the audience open to these adventures ?
  • S. d’H. : Audiences are increasingly ready to shift from one aesthetic to another. Baroque is an instant crowd pleaser and should appeal to an ardent fan of Shostakovich’s symphonies, even if there is still a bit of work to do !
  • Can you see your ensemble tackling joint projects with the ONL ?
  • S. d’H. : Yes, I dream of a partnership between our orchestras: why not by “lending” each other our artists? It would be a way of showing that, in music, everything is different and, at the same time, everything is similar. It would be really stimulating !


Founded in 2006 by Caroline Mutel and Sébastien d’Hérin, Les Nouveaux Caractères is a period-instrument ensemble with a special interest in baroque opera and theatrical forms, and a desire to highlight the pleasure of inventiveness and intermixing. Together, they are partnering with the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon for three seasons, beginning in 2019/2020.

They cover the greatest works in the early music repertoire (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Vespers for the Blessed Virgin, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Magnificat, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Dido and Aeneas, Mondonville’s grands motets, among others). At the same time, they also perform less well-known or even forgotten scores, such as Égine by Colin de Blamont, Les Surprises de l’amour by Rameau, Scylla et Glaucus by Leclair, and Pimmalione de Cherubini…

Their artistic choices are guided as much by musicological research as by the interaction with other artistic disciplines, such as opera, original works or shows for children: Dido and Aeneas with the artist Florence Dupré-Latour, Dios proveerà with the Circassians in La Gata Cirko from Bogota, Bach = 14 with the juggler Clément Dazin (show performed in January 2016 in the Auditorium), Chaconnes with the dancer Raphaëlle Delaunay, M. Croche, impressions d’outre-tombe with the multimedia artist Frédéric Deslias.

Les Nouveaux Caractères have performed in Paris (Salle Gaveau and Opéra-Comique), at the Opéra royal in Versailles, at the Théâtre impérial in Compiègne, at the opera houses in Bordeaux, Avignon, Rouen, Besançon, Massy, Rennes and Tours, at the Festivals in Ambronay, Utrecht, Sablé, La Chaise-Dieu and in Venice (Fondation Bru Zane). They have recorded Égine (M.B.F.), Les Surprises de l’amour (Glossa Music), Scylla et Glaucus (Alpha, Gramophone’s “Editor’s choice”) and The Salon of Scylla and Glaucus (Fuga libera).


The Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon contributes to the musical and artistic life of Lyon and its region by forging various types of partnerships and collaborations. It has decided to work even more closely with the baroque ensemble Les Nouveaux Caractères, which it is supporting in a three-year cycle of Handel’s Italian works.

Les Nouveaux Caractères receives support from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Department of Cultural Affairs. It is subsidised by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and the City of Lyon. It is supported by Spedidam, Adami and the Banque des territoires.

Concerts 2020/2021

Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon

04 78 95 95 95
149 rue Garibaldi
69003 Lyon

L’Auditorium et l’Orchestre national de Lyon : la musique au cœur de la cité. 160 concerts par saison : concerts symphoniques, récitals, ciné-concerts, jeune public, jazz, musiques actuelles et musiques du monde, mais aussi ateliers, conférences, afterworks…