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)

43. La Navarraise (Jules Massenet)

Épisode lyrique in 2 acts By Jules Massenet Libretto: Jules Claretie & Henri Cain, after Claretie’s short story La Cigarette (1890). First performance: Covent Garden, London, 20 June 1894, conducted by Sir Augustus Harris First performance in France: Bordeaux, 27 March 1895. First performance in Paris: Opéra-Comique (Salle du Châtelet), 3 October 1895, conducted by Philippe Flon. … Continue reading 43. La Navarraise (Jules Massenet)

39. Ivan IV (Georges Bizet)

IVAN IV By Georges Bizet Libretto: François-Hippolyte Leroy & Henri Trianon The libretto was originally intended for Charles Gounod, and for the Paris Opéra.  When the Opéra failed to stage Gounod’s opera, the libretto was offered to Bizet.  Bizet’s version was never staged in his lifetime.  The first performances were an abridged version at Mühringen Castle, … Continue reading 39. Ivan IV (Georges Bizet)

36. Richard Cœur de Lion (André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry)

Comédie in 3 acts, in prose, mixed with ariettes By André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry Libretto: Michel-Jean Sedaine First performed: Opéra-Comique (1re salle Favart), 21 October 1784 Dossier Richard Cœur-de-lion (Richard the Lionheart, for Anglophones) is a rarity today, but was one of the classics of French opera, by one of the most celebrated opera composers of his … Continue reading 36. Richard Cœur de Lion (André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry)

34. Orphée aux enfers (Jacques Offenbach)

 ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS Opéra bouffon in two acts and four scenes By Jacques Offenbach Libretto : Hector Crémieux First performed : Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, 21 October 1858, conducted by Offenbach. The first of Offenbach's full-length operettas, and a smash hit. Revised as an opéra féerique in four acts and twelve scenes, with libretto by Crémieux … Continue reading 34. Orphée aux enfers (Jacques Offenbach)

33. Orfeo ed Euridice / Orphée et Eurydice (Christoph Willibald Gluck)

ORFEO ED EURIDICE / ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE By Christoph Willibald Gluck Libretto : Ranieri de’ Calzabigi First performed: Burgtheater, Vienna, 5 October 1762 Revised: Orphée et Eurydice, Académie Royale de Musique (seconde salle du Palais Royal), Paris, 2 August 1774, with a French text by Pierre Louis Moline.  Berlioz prepared another version in 1859, for the … Continue reading 33. Orfeo ed Euridice / Orphée et Eurydice (Christoph Willibald Gluck)