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)

97. L’étranger (Vincent d’Indy)

Action musicale in 2 acts Music & poem: Vincent d'Indy First performed: Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels, 7 January 1903 L étranger is a jewel of an opera, melancholy and mysterious as the ocean. It is, like Fervaal, a religious opera; while the earlier work is Frenchified Wagner, a saga of Celts at the waning … Continue reading 97. L’étranger (Vincent d’Indy)