For years, the names of Gildas Pungier and his vocal ensemble Mélismes have been a guarantee for musical excellence in Rennes. This production of Haydn’s oratorio Die Schöpfung confirms it once more. This creation is given in a version for woodwind ensemble, and it shines with all the light of the Creator’s joy. Transcriptions for woodwind ensembles were quite the thing in Haydn’s day, and it is easy to understand why: The simplification makes it easier to follow the melody lines, and the absence of string vibrato makes for intense rhythmical accentuation. In Georg Druschetzy’s transcription, who was a contemporary of Haydn, with Gildas Pungier conducting the excellent ensemble A Venti on period instruments, there is no regretting the strings at all. The choir, reduced for the occasion, and three excellent soloists are doing the rest: from the moment the light flares up in the opening chorus, joy is here and the light is here and we follow blissfully the development of this creation. We hear how the lights appear in the sky, how dry land and the oceans come into being, plants and animals (Haydn’s musical menagerie, always a moment of happiness) and finally man and woman, Adam and Eve. Violaine Le Chenadec, soprano, whose fresh and crystal-clear voice doesn’t sound cold for all that, seems wholeheartedly to embrace her music. With perfect diction in recitatives and arias, she is simply a joy to listen to. Her colleagues, Matthieu Chapuis, tenor with a bit of metal in his flexible voice, and the warm timbre of baritone Ronan Airault, are just as competent in the pronunciation of the German language. In the trios, these three voices blend marvellously together. An ode to joy, this “Schöpfung”, a celebration of the beautiful creation we are allowed to live in, so much mistreated these days, and a lovely evening at the Opéra de Rennes. Merci and bravo to everyone!