Happy 200th birthday, M. Offenbach!

The brilliant Jacques (né Jakob) Offenbach, one of the Jewish German masters of French opera, was born in Cologne 200 years ago today. The Aristophanic, Bacchic Offenbach, best of all the Bachs. For wit, tunefulness, and music that makes you smile (or even laugh), his works are hard to beat. Jupiter tries to seduce a … Continue reading Happy 200th birthday, M. Offenbach!

122. Le dilettante d’Avignon (Halévy)

LE DILETTANTE D'AVIGNON Opéra-comique in 1 act Composer: Fromental Halévy Libretto: François-Benoît Hoffman finished by Léon Halévy First performed: l’Opéra-Comique (salle Ventadour) 07 November 1829 This early Halévy rarity was released on Friday; “un chef-d'oeuvre inconnu”, as the Avignonnais dilettante remarks. One associates Halévy more with anathemas, anti-Semitism, boiling oil, and kings mad or poisoned … Continue reading 122. Le dilettante d’Avignon (Halévy)

100. Patrie! (Emile Paladilhe)

Well, here we are; a century down, and still not dead. I’ve always wanted to use my blog to argue the case for obscure works. This is the first of a new series: presentations of operas that haven’t been performed in living memory; from which at most only a few extracts may have been recorded … Continue reading 100. Patrie! (Emile Paladilhe)

98. M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le… (Jacques Offenbach)

Operette bouffe in 1 act Composer: Jacques Offenbach and M. de Saint Rémy [pseudonym of the Duc de Morny]. Libretto: Ludovic Halévy, Hector Crémieux, et Ernest L’Epine First performed: Salons du Corps législatif, Palais Bourbon, 31 May 1861, in the presence of Napoléon III. First public performance: Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, 14 September 1861 M. Choufleuri (“Mr Cauliflower”), a … Continue reading 98. M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le… (Jacques Offenbach)

96. Fervaal (Vincent D’Indy)

Action musicale in 3 acts and a prologue Poem & music: Vincent d'Indy, after Esaias Tegnér's Axel First performed: Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, 12 March 1897 Fervaal, d'Indy's Wagnerian mystical Celtic opera, was the best opera since Parsifal, and marked a new age in French music.  So thought the critics. Fervaal badly needs a complete recording to … Continue reading 96. Fervaal (Vincent D’Indy)

94. Simon Boccanegra (Giuseppe Verdi)

Opera in a prologue and three acts Composer: Giuseppe Verdi Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave, with additions by Giuseppe Montanelli, after Antonio García Gutiérrez's play Simón Bocanegra First performed: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, 12 March 1857 Revised version: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 24 March 1881, with additions and alterations by Arrigo Boito "I've had a fiasco in … Continue reading 94. Simon Boccanegra (Giuseppe Verdi)

92. Ba-ta-clan (Jacques Offenbach)

BA-TA-CLAN Chinoiserie musicale in 1 act Composer: Jacques Offenbach Libretto: Ludovic Halévy First performed: Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris, 29 December 1855 Hurrah for Jacques Offenbach! Offenbach was one of very few clever, witty composers: a parodist who delighted in turning things on their head, putting familiar elements in strange contexts (and vice versa), toppling sacred cows, … Continue reading 92. Ba-ta-clan (Jacques Offenbach)