Gustave III (Daniel-François-Esprit Auber) – dossier

GUSTAVE III, OU LE BAL MASQUÉ

Opéra historique in 5 acts

Composer: Daniel-François-Esprit Auber

Libretto: Eugène Scribe

First performed: Théâtre de l’Opéra (salle Le Peletier), 27 February 1833, conducted by F.A. Habeneck.

Divertissements: Philippe Taglioni; sets: Léon Feuchère (Act I, Act V tableau 2), Jules Dieterle (Act II), Alfred (Act III), Charles Cicéri (Act IV), René Philastre &  Charles Cambon (Act V tableau 1). Costumes: Eugène Lami & Paul Lormier.


CHARACTERS

4. Amélie, Melle Falcon, Arvedson, Mme Dabadie, une Folie;.jpg

  • GUSTAVE III, King of Sweden (tenor): Adolphe Nourrit
  • ANKASTROM, his friend (bass): Nicolas-Prosper Levasseur
  • AMÉLIE, Countess of Ankastrom, in love with Gustave (soprano): Cornélie Falcon
  • OSCAR, the King’s page (soprano): Julie Dorus-Gras
  • ARVEDSON, fortune-teller (mezzo-soprano): Louise-Zulmé Dabadie-Leroux
  • DEHORN, conspirator (bass): Henri-Bernard Dabadie
  • WARTING, conspirator (tenor): Alexis Dupont
  • A CHAMBERLAIN (tenor): Hyacinthe Trévaux
  • ARMFELT, Minister of Justice (bass): Ferdinand Prévost
  • GÉNÉRAL KAULBART, Minister of War (bass): Pierre François Wartel
  • CHRISTIAN (tenor): Jean-Étienne-Auguste Massol
  • A Servant of Ankastrom: François-Alphonse Hens
  • ROSLIN, painter (silent): Ferdinand
  • SERGELL, sculptor (silent): Henri

SETTING

Stockholm, 15 and 16 March 1792


STRUCTURE

ACT I

The King’s palace in Stockholm – A vast, rich waiting room

1. Introduction

2. Duo (Gustave, Ankastrom)

1er Air de Danse – Songe
2d Air de Danse – Pas de paysans dalécarliens

4. Couplets et Final

 

ACT II

The fortune-teller’s house

5. Entr’acte, Couplets, Choeur et Scène

6. Trio (Gustave, Amélie, Arvedson)

7. Choeur et Ronde (Gustave)

8. Scène et Morceau d’Ensemble

9. Final

 

ACT III

A wild and frightening place on the outskirts of Stockholm

Act III.jpg

10. Air (Amélie)

11. Duo (Gustave, Amélie)

12. Trio (Gustave, Ankastrom, Amélie)

13. Final

 

ACT IV

Ankastrom’s house

Act IV esquisse.jpg

14. Duo et Cavatine (Ankastrom, Amélie)

15. Trio, Scène et Ensemble (Ankastrom, Amélie, Ribbing, Dehorn)

16. Quintette (Ankastrom, Amélie, Oscar, Ribbing, Dehorn)

 

ACT V

First tableau: A gallery in the palace, connected to the Opera

Act V, 1re Décoration - estampe.jpg

17. Air (Gustave)

Second tableau: The ballroom of the Opera

Act V 2.jpg

18. Choeur

1er Air de Danse – Allemande

2d Air de Danse – Pas des Folies

3è Air de Danse – Menuet

1ère Marche

2de Marche

4me Air de Danse – Galop

19. Scène, Couplets, Choeur, Duo et Final


CRITICISM

Félix Clément, Dictionnaire des opéras, 1869:

The writer of the libretto pretended that Gustave III was murdered by an outraged husband.  That’s treating lightly both history and the public, who couldn’t be unaware of the circumstances of the event that happened on the night of 15 to 16 March 1792.  The King of Sweden was killed by political conspirators, stirred up by the nobility, from whom he had just destroyed one of the most ancient privileges, that of deciding peace or war.  The libretto, otherwise, does not lack interest.  The sets and costumes were very much admired.  The third act was conceived in the style of the Romantics of 1830.  The scene takes place near gibbets, a kind of Montfaucon near Stockholm.  On the other hand, nothing equalled the magnificence of the ball in the fifth act.  This act has often been represented in isolation at the end of a performance.  The music offers pleasant couplets, and especially dance tunes, which have had the greatest success.  Gustave‘s galop went around the world.