|Indes galantes, Les (The Gallant Indies)|
Cupids, in the prologue, resolve to find out examples of love in exotic climates. Le Turc généreux (The Generous Turk) allows the generous Osman to set free his captive Emilie, whom he loves, so that she may be reunited with her former lover Valère. Les Incas du Pérou (The Incas of Peru) deals with the rivalry in love of the Inca Huascar and the Spaniard Don Carlos, the latter victorious in his pursuit of Princess Phani, in spite of volcanic eruptions. Les Fleurs (The Flowers) offers a Persian love intrigue, revised after its first performance into a simple tale of suspicions proved false, as the Sultana Fatima finds that her husband Tacmas has no designs on Atalide. Les Sauvages (The Savages) moves to North America, where a Spaniard and a Frenchman compete for the love of Zima, daughter of a chief, who, not unnaturally, prefers one of her own people.
An orchestral and a harpsichord suite have been derived from Les Indes galantes, which continues the French tradition of opéra-ballet stemming from Lully, with its diversion away from the mythological and into the contemporary as found in André Campra’s L’Europe galante (Galant Europe) of 1697. The entrée Les Sauvages includes the earlier harpsichord piece of that name, a work with which the Jesuit missionary Amiot unsuccessfully tried to charm the ears of Mandarins in Peking a little later in the century, leading him to form curious biological theories.