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David and Jonathas


14 – 18 Jan 2024

What is friendship? The same soul in two bodies," replied Aristotle. The same soul in two camps, one might be tempted to add, when listening to David and Jonathas. When this biblical tragedy begins, war is raging between the Israelites and the Philistines. David is Jonathas' best friend, but the two men find themselves on opposing sides. Will their friendship survive this fratricidal struggle? Probably not: this is a tragedy, and we can expect to see one of them die in the other's arms. Nevertheless, to accompany Jonathas into the next world, Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed some of his most moving pages: music that will move us for centuries to come.

No, I would rather perish a thousand times myself.
Among deadly horrors,
In the face of futile fury,
I would seek and save what I love.
David and Jonathan

In 1688, David and Jonathas was premiered by students at the Lycée Louis-Le-Grand in Paris: a special situation that allowed Charpentier to bypass the royal privilege enjoyed by Lully and present his first operatic masterpiece. Is it because it was intended to be performed by teenagers that the characters are imbued with an uncommon immediacy and spontaneity. Avoiding grandiloquent effects, the opera plunges us into the heart of their dramatic truth. Particular care has been taken to ensure the coherence of the work, with a text commissioned from writer Wilfried N'Sondé.

A key figure in the Baroque galaxy, Sébastien Daucé is part of a new generation of French conductors who have shaken up the music's codes and restored it to a central position. Organist, harpsichordist and director of the ensemble Correspondance, he has opted for passion as his sole guiding force, patiently bringing to light rare gems and forgotten masterpieces. Three seasons ago, he should have made his debut in Nancy with Le Ballet royal de la nuit, but Covid decided otherwise, transforming the celebration into a missed appointment. Today the situation has been rectified. For the occasion, he is collaborating with Jean Bellorini, director of the Théâtre National Populaire. A lover of great literary texts, he is used to mixing theatre and music in powerful productions. We can trust him to sublimate the music and dramatic force of this David and Jonathas.


  • Sun. 14 January 2024
    Opéra national de Lorraine
  • Tue. 16 January 2024
    Opéra national de Lorraine
  • Thu. 18 January 2024
    Opéra national de Lorraine


2 h 40 with interval

5 — 85 €

in French, surtitles
All audiences from 12 years 

Introduction to the performance
45 minutes before the start of the performance (free of charge, upon presentation of ticket). 

The performance on 18 January :
- is priced at €10 for the first 30 students and/or under-30s in the best categories! (Tickets sold out).
- features audio description. Bookings on 03 83 85 30 60
- includes a culture pass evening. For more information, click here.


David and Jonathas, biblical tragedy in five acts with prologue

First performed at Collège des Jésuites Louis-le-Grand in Paris on 25 February 1688


François de Paule Bretonneau


Marc-Antoine Charpentier


at théâtre de Caen on 9 and 11 November 2023


théâtre de Caen

Main co-producer

Ensemble Correspondances


Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Opéra national de Lorraine, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Opéra de Lille, Théâtre National Populaire Villeurbanne

Orchestra and Chorus

Ensemble Correspondances


Sébastien Daucé

Dramatic texts

Wilfried N’Sondé

Stage direction, set design and lights

Jean Bellorini

Set design

Véronique Chazal

Artistic collaboration

Delphine Bradier


Fanny Brouste  

Make-up, masks, hairstyles and wigs

Cécile Kretschmar


Bruno Jouvet

Sound and video creation

Léo Rossi-Roth

Lighting assistant

Olivier Allemagne

Make-up, masks, hairstyles and wigs assistant

Jean Ritz

Accessories assistant

Benoit Bourgarel

Saül, king of the Israelites

Jean-Christophe Lanièce

Jonathas, son of Saül

Gwendoline Blondeel


Petr Nekoranec

Achis, king of the Philistines, the Shadow of Samuel

Alex Rosen

Joabel, one of the leaders of the Philistine army

Etienne Bazola

La Pythonisse, third shepherdess

Lucile Richardot

The Queen of the Forgotten

Hélène Patarot

See also