HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE Tragédie lyrique in 5 actes and a prologue Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau Librettist: Abbé Pellegrin First performed: Académie Royale de Musique at its theatre in the Palais-Royal, Paris, 1 October 1733 Dossier Halte-là! Are you a Ramiste or a Lulliste? And shall we fight a duel? Those were serious questions in early 18th century … Continue reading 87. Hippolyte et Aricie (Jean-Philippe Rameau)
RAYMOND AND AGNES Grand opera in three acts Composer: Edward Loder Libretto: Edward Fitzball First performed: Theatre Royal, Manchester, 14 August 1855 Dossier So there is opera in England between Handel and G&S! Retrospect Opera, devoted to British opera, released last month the premiere recording of Loder's Raymond and Agnes (1855), one of the most important mid-19th century … Continue reading 86. Raymond and Agnes (Edward Loder)
Melodramma serio in 2 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Paolo Pola First performed: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, 21 February 1826 CHARACTERS CARITEA (soprano): Ester Mombelli DON ALFONSO, King of Portugal (tenor): Domenico Donzelli DON DIEGO, under the name of Don Pirro of Aragon, son of Don Fernando (contralto): Isabella Fabbrica DON FERNANDO, old Spanish captain general (bass): Domenico Cosselli DON RODRIGO, … Continue reading 85. Caritea, regina di Spagna (Saverio Mercadante)
Giovanni Pacini may hold the record as the 19th century's most prolific opera composer. His contemporaries reckoned he'd written a hundred works; closer attention whittled this down to a more manageable 74. Nearly all of them have been forgotten. “This abandonment,” Arthur Pougin (Le Ménestrel, 28 October 1866) wrote, “is the just punishment that awaits a man … Continue reading 84. The prolific Pacini in Pompei
After 11 years, I have finally seen Meyerbeer's grand opera Le Prophète. Utterly extraordinary. It's one of the half-dozen best operas ever, if not at the absolute pinnacle.  You can watch the video here: https://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/opera-classique/opera/le-prophete-de-meyerbeer-au-theatre-du-capitole-a-toulouse-271753 Setting: The Netherlands and Germany, during the 16th-century Wars of Religion. Characters: A murderous demagogue, self-proclaimed Messiah and Son of … Continue reading He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
PELAGIO Tragedia lirica in 4 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Marco D’Arienzo First performed: Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 12 February 1857 Dossier CHARACTERS PELAGIO (baritone): Filippo Coletti ABDEL-AOR, governor of Gijón (tenor): Lodovico Graziani BIANCA, Pelagio’s daughter (soprano): Fortunata Tedesco GIRALDA, Bianca’s companion (contralto): Schiavi ASAN, captain of the Moors (bass): Marco Arati ALIATAR, guard on Abdel’s rooms (bass): Nicola Monti MENDO … Continue reading 83. Pelagio (Saverio Mercadante)
ŒDIPE À COLONE Tragédie-opéra in 3 acts Composer: Antonio Sacchini Libretto: Nicolas-François Guillard, after Sophocles First performed: Versailles, 4 January 1786, then at Paris, at the Académie Royale de Musique (salle de la Porte Saint-Martin), 1 February 1787, conducted by Jean-Baptiste Rey Dossier CHARACTERS Œdipe (basse-taille): Augustin Chéron Antigone (soprano): Anne Chéron Polinice (tenor): Étienne Lainez Thésée (baritenor): Louis-Claude-Armand Chardin (“Chardiny”) High Priest (basse-taille): … Continue reading 82. Œdipe à Colone (Antonio Sacchini)