The Orpheus myth was as important for the birth of opera in France as it had been in Italy. In 1684, Charpentier composed a work for three voices, Orphée descendant aux Enfers. With this piece, remarkable for its style and concision, he showed how well he had assimilated Carissimi's art. It is a dramatic scene, similar to the sacred histories of the Roman master. The text, by an unknown author, narrates Orpheus quest for his beloved in the Underworld. The hero's haute-contre gives him an elegiac timbre this was the vocal register in which Charpentier, himself a singer, excelled. In 1687 he created his second illustration of the myth, La Descente d Orphée aux Enfers. In its two acts can be discerned the outline of a possible complete opera the manuscript has reached us shorn of the third act in which Orpheus would presumably have lost Eurydice before being devoured by the Maenads. While La Descente d Orphée has already been recorded several times, the Orphée of 1684 is a rarity and a magnificent discovery. In these two roles that might have been written for him, Reinoud van Mechelen is at the peak of his artistry, while his ensemble A Nocte Temporis and Lionel Meunier's group Vox Luminis blend in perfect symbiosis.