Жизнь за царя By Mikhail Glinka First composed: Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, St Petersburg, 9 December 1836 This will probably be my last post for a while. It's increasingly feeling like a chore - three hours of watching and listening to opera, which I could spend reading or watching other things. A Life for the Tsar is … Continue reading A Life for the Tsar (Mikhail Glinka)
Opéra in 4 acts. Composer: Charles Gounod Libretto : Adolphe d’Ennery & Jules Brésil. First performance : Théâtre de l’Opéra (Palais Garnier), 1 April 1881. Remounted at the Opéra: 13 March 1885 (48th performance) – 50th & final performance 25 March 1885. It's been nearly a month since I last posted, my mate Phil tells me. Today, … Continue reading 88. Le tribut de Zamora (Charles Gounod)
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!