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15 June 2018

The Song Company: True Love Story

An autobiographical mediaeval French romance in a time of war and plague - the true story of Guillaume De Machaut & Peronnelle D'Armentieres as told by poet and composer Guillaume De Machaut

Against the backdrop of the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death this “true” love story from the Middle Ages charts the passionate affair between the 14th century’s most celebrated poet and composer, Guillaume de Machaut, and his super-fan, a beautiful noblewoman called Péronnelle d’Armentières. Their poetry, their letters, and Machaut’s extraordinary music combine to produce a unique semi-staged multi-sensory experience.

Journey with The Song Company to the coronation city of Rheims in the early 1360s, where, between entertaining the heir to the throne, Machaut begins a serious correspondence with his new and ardent young admirer. His relationship with Péronnelle is meticulously documented in what he called Le Livre du Voir Dit – “The book of the true story”. From his melancholy state of mind in the opening ballade Ploures dames, in which he requests “ladies to weep for your servant” and wear black, to the extraordinary Lay of Good Hope and the unforgettable tune of Puis qu’en oubli, Machaut charts the highs and lows of true love with profound honesty and humanity.

Although Péronnelle is flattered by the songs that Machaut sends to her in return, he is petrified about actually meeting her, thinking that he would be a big disappointment off the written page. He even considers using a stand-in lover in the manner of Cyrano de Bergerac, but at last they do meet, and Machaut is so overcome by her beauty and her tenderness that this most accomplished of wordsmiths can hardly string two words together.

Drawn from over 9000 lines of poetry, letters, love-poems, songs, and pictures that they sent to each other, True Love Story is the ultimate 14th-century multimedia presentation.

Semistaged program of music & words by Guillaume de Machaut:
Ballade 32 – Ploures dames
Rondeau 13 – Dame se vous n’avez aperceu
Ballade 33 – Nes que on porroit
Rondeau 4 – Sans cuer dolens
Lai 13 – ‘Le Lay de bonne esperance’
Rondeau 17 – Dix et sept, cinq
Rondeau 18 – Puis qu’en oubli
Ballade 34 – Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir
Ballade 36 – Se pour ce muir
Ballade 31 – De toute flours

The Song Company
Roberta Diamond – Péronnelle d'Armentières
Chloe Lankshear – The Messenger
Philippa Dracakis – Guillemette
Carmel de Jager – Lady Hope
Owen Elsley – Sir Desire
Mark Donnelly – The King Who Never Lies
Andrew O'Connor – Morpheus
Antony Pitts – Guillaume de Machaut

Leonie Cambage – Associate Director
Antony Pitts – Artistic Director

About The Song Company

Since the dawn of history, the human voice and the act of singing have been intrinsically linked with storytelling and the acquisition of culture. The Song Company belongs to a land whose first peoples used songlines and vocal music to pass knowledge and culture from generation to generation, and is proud to continue that tradition, in a unique way, sharing music from across western and non-western art traditions. From its beginnings in 1984 the ensemble’s schedule has grown to include a mix of national and international touring, a subscription series in cities across Australia, recording and broadcast projects, education activities, and special collaborative projects.

The Song Company’s repertoire covers vocal music from the 10th century to contemporary works, and is unique in its stylistic diversity. The Company remains at the forefront of contemporary vocal music through an extensive commissioning program and collaborations with artists and composers of the highest calibre from around the world. A longstanding commitment to education sees the ensemble perform regularly in schools throughout the country, including bringing music workshops to children in regional and remote areas.

From 2016 the ensemble has been led by the British composer, conductor, producer, and lecturer Antony Pitts, whose award-winning career has taken him from the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace and New College, Oxford, via the BBC, the Royal Academy of Music, and performances in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Berlin Philharmonie, to the forefront of the Australian music scene as Artistic Director of The Song Company.

Listen here. Buy a Song Company subscription here, or purchase tickets just for this performance through The Street.

More information





15 Childers St,

City West ACT 2601

Directions & Map

Monday - Friday

10am - 3pm


Also opens

1.5 hours prior

to performance.


02 6247 1223
Email The Street

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