61. Fernand Cortez (Gaspare Spontini)

FERNAND CORTEZ, OU LA CONQUÊTE DE MÉXIQUE Tragédie lyrique in 3 acts Composer: Gaspare Spontini Libretto: Étienne de Jouy and Joseph-Alphonse Esménard, after Alexis Piron’s play First performed: Opéra de Paris [Académie Impériale de Musique] (salle Montansier), 28 November 1809, conducted by Jean-Baptiste Rey Dossier My friend Phil has just reviewed this work on his Opera … Continue reading 61. Fernand Cortez (Gaspare Spontini)

59. Les Troyens (Hector Berlioz)

Poëme lyrique in 5 acts Composer & librettist: Hector Berlioz, after books II & IV of Virgil’s Æneid Composed 1856-1858. First performed: Acts III-V (with cuts), as Les Troyens à Carthage, Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, 4 November 1863.  Concert performances of Acts I-II (La prise de Troie), Paris, 7 December 1879.  First staged performance: Karlsruhe, Germany, 1890. Dossier   … Continue reading 59. Les Troyens (Hector Berlioz)

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)

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)

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)

49. La vestale (Gaspare Spontini)

Tragédie lyrique in 3 acts Composer: Gaspare Spontini Libretto: Étienne de Jouy First performed: Théâtre de l’Opéra (Salle Montansier), Paris, 15 December 1807, conducted by Jean-Baptiste Rey Dossier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mdw-ExEU2g&w=640&h=385 "M. Spontini," declared Napoleon, "your opera will obtain a great success; it deserves it.  Your opera abounds in new motifs; the declamation is true, and agrees with … Continue reading 49. La vestale (Gaspare Spontini)