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
HYPERMNESTRE, Danaüs’ eldest daughter (soprano): Antoinette-Cécile de Saint-Huberty
DANAÜS, King of Argus, Egyptus’s brother (bass-baritone): Henri Larivée
LYNCÉE, Egyptus’s son (tenor): Étienne Lainez
PLANCIPPE, Danaüs’ daughter (soprano)
PÉLAGUS, Danaüs’ guard captain (bass): Jean-Pierre Moreau
Three officers (two tenors and a bass): Dufresny; J. Rouseau; Louis-Claude-Armand Chardin, “Chardiny”
A temple by the shore.
An underground part of the Palace, consecrated to Nemesis.
A garden decorated for a feast dedicated to Bacchus and the gods of the Hymenaeus.
A gallery which communicates with Hypermnestre’s room and those of her sisters.
Despite the slight assertions of Castil-Blaze, who claims that this piece is a pitiful and barbaric imitation of Calsabigi’s Ipermnestra, we will praise here the poem, which offers the qualities of a good libretto. It has strength, colour, and imagination. For 12 performances, Gluck’s name was offered to the public as the author of the music; when success was well established, Gluck wrote that he had only advised his pupil Salieri. The music belongs, in fact, to the grand manner of this creator of dramatic opera. The expression is always strong, fast, and true. The choruses Descends dans le sein d’Amphitrite, Gloire, Evan, Evohe, are of a grandiose effect. We will also cite Hypermnestre’s aria, Par les larmes dont votre fille, and Danaüs’s remarkable aria, Jouissez d’un destin prospère.