29 ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE METZ GRAND EST ∙ DAVID REILAND Mel Bonis does not provide a text enabling the listener to follow the dramaturgy of her programmatic works. Only the titles she gives them outline the imaginary territory they describe. From the beginning of the century onwards, a pleiad of female destinies guided her pen: Phœbé , Viviane , Salomé , Ophélie , Le Songe de Cléopâtre (1909), Omphale (1910), Desdémona (1913), Mélisande (1922). These pieces, conceived as autonomous compositions for piano (for two or four hands), were not all published during Bonis’s lifetime. It was only in the early 2000s that her descendant Christine Géliot presented a modern edition of them, within the framework of a cycle she named Femmes de légende . These pieces were written at the time when Mel Bonis sought to round off her orchestrational skills with Charles Koechlin (1908-09). The orchestral versions of Salomé , Ophélie and Le Songe de Cléopâtre can thus be dated to this period (there is also a sketch for an orchestration of Omphale in her notebooks). In an idiom navigating between Orientalism and Symbolism, the fifty- year-old composer shows herself to be in tune with the times and in full command of her resources. Yet we know of no public performances of these versions before the twenty-first century.