104. L’incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi Libretto: Giovanni Francesco Busenello First performed: Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, 1643 carnival season Nero was the first historical figure to appear in an opera.  He would probably have been delighted. He was, after all, an opera singer himself. Good emperors were deified after their deaths, but Nero was less divus than … Continue reading 104. L’incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)

103. Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Monteverdi)

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi Libretto: Giacomo Baodaro First performed: Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, 1639–1640 Carnival season Il ritorno d'Ulisse is rather like a Shakespearean Romance: a part-melancholic, part-comic story of gods, castaways, shipwrecks, transformations, perilous voyages, and disguises, which ends, after many years, with a family reunited. Based on Homer’s Odyssey, the opera tells of the hero’s … Continue reading 103. Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Monteverdi)

102. Euridice (Jacopo Peri)

Composer: Jacopo Peri Libretto: Ottavio Rinuccini, after Ovid's Metamorphoses First performed: Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 6 October 1600 "THE FIRST EVER OPERA," shouts the Authentic Arts CD. Catchy advertising, but inaccurate; same composer, though. Peri's Dafne (1594, now lost) is considered the first true opera. Euridice is merely (!) the oldest surviving opera. Listening to it, … Continue reading 102. Euridice (Jacopo Peri)

101. Iphigénie en Aulide (Gluck)

Tragédie-opéra in 3 acts First performed : Académie Royale de Musique, April 12 1774 Composer : Ritter Christoph Willibald Gluck Libretto : M. du Rollet, after Racine and Euripides “From Gluck’s appearance dates modern art; from him come all the great masters who have enchanted the world both during his life, and after his death.” – Barbedette Iphigénie … Continue reading 101. Iphigénie en Aulide (Gluck)

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)

99. Renard (Igor Stravinsky)

Histoire burlesque chantée et jouée Composer: Igor Stravinsky Based on Russian folk tales from Alexander Afanaseyev's collection First performed: Théâtre de l'Opéra, Paris, 18 May 1922, in a double bill with Mavra “Le Renard continues the great Stravinskist tradition,” Vogue (1 July 1922) wrote when the Ballets Russes premièred the opera-ballet in Paris. This “burlesque … Continue reading 99. Renard (Igor Stravinsky)

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)