58. Pierrette et Jacquot (Jacques Offenbach)

Opérette in 1 act Composer: Jacques Offenbach Libretto: Jules Noriac & Philippe Gille First performed: Bouffes-Parisiens, 13 October 1876 Dossier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdAGsE4l8uU&w=640&h=385 SYNOPSIS This one-act operetta tells the old tale of the wealthy guardian who wants to marry his ward, to the chagrin of both her boyfriend and the middle-aged woman who loves him. It takes place … Continue reading 58. Pierrette et Jacquot (Jacques Offenbach)

57. L’Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi)

Favola in musica, in 5 acts Composer: Claudio Monteverdi Libretto: Alessandro Striggio First performed: Mantua, 1607 Carnival season Dossier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcRFFmgVGlc SYNOPSIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjpFi9bn1do Orfeo (Orpheus) is the world's first great musician, and the son of Apollo, god of the sun.  He has just married the nymph Euridice - but their happiness is blighted when she is … Continue reading 57. L’Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi)

56. Les Danaïdes (Antonio Salieri)

Tragédie lyrique in 5 acts Composer: Antonio Salieri Libretto: François-Louis Gand Le Bland Du Roullet and Louis-Théodore de Tschudi, after Ranieri de’ Calzabigi First performed: Théâtre de l’Opéra (salle de la Porte Saint-Martin), Paris, 26 April 1784, conducted by Jean-Baptiste Rey Dossier BACKGROUND https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ36JLVhcmU&w=640&h=385 Les Danaïdes, Salieri's twentieth opera, was one of his greatest successes: a serious work based on … Continue reading 56. Les Danaïdes (Antonio Salieri)

55. Bérénice (Albéric Magnard)

Trágedie en musique, in 3 acts Music & libretto: Albéric Magnard First performed: Opéra-Comique (3e salle Favart), Paris, 15 December 1911, conducted by François Rühlmann SYNOPSIS As the Roman emperor Titus, the darling of his people, lay dying of fever, he reproached himself for a crime.  "Alas!  why must I die so young?  In all my life, there … Continue reading 55. Bérénice (Albéric Magnard)

54. L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

Melodramma giocoso in 2 acts Composer: Gaetano Donizetti Librettist: Felice Romani, after Eugène Scribe’s libretto for Le philtre, opera by Auber (1831) First performed: Teatro della Canobbiana, Milan, 12 May 1832 Dossier English language libretto Elisir was a rush job; the theatre commissioned the work after another composer defaulted.  Librettist Felice Romani adapted the book of Auber's Philtre, a … Continue reading 54. L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

53. Il giuramento (Saverio Mercadante)

Melodramma in 3 acts Composer: Saverio Mercadante Libretto: Gaetano Rossi, after Victor Hugo’s Angélo, tyran de Padoue First performed: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 11 March 1837 Dossier   For lovers of Italian opera, Mercadante is the great neglected composer.  His reform operas are the missing link between bel canto and Verdi, and, for half a decade, made him Italy's maestro-in-chief.  … Continue reading 53. Il giuramento (Saverio Mercadante)

52. Le magnifique (André Ernest Modeste Grétry)

Comédie in 3 acts, in prose Music: André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry Libretto: Michel-Jean Sedaine First performed: Opéra-Comique (Hôtel de Bourgogne), Paris, 4 March 1773 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPS8Gdzemfc&t=5s&w=640&h=385 Have you an hour to spare?  You could do worse than listen to Grétry's charming Magnifique. In his day, the Liégeois musician was the most performed Francophone composer in the world.  Today, Grétry is seldom played; … Continue reading 52. Le magnifique (André Ernest Modeste Grétry)