Les Danaïdes (Antonio Salieri) – dossier

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

My review


ROLES

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”


STRUCTURE

ACT I

A temple by the shore.

 

ACT II

An underground part of the Palace, consecrated to Nemesis.

 

ACT III

A garden decorated for a feast dedicated to Bacchus and the gods of the Hymenaeus.

 

ACT IV

A gallery which communicates with Hypermnestre’s room and those of her sisters.

 

ACT V

The same.

Hell.


REVIEWS

Félix Clément, Dictionnaire des opéras, 1869

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.