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)

62. Olympie (Gaspare Spontini)

OLYMPIETragédie lyrique en 3 actesComposer: Gaspare SpontiniLibretto : MM. Michel Dieulafoy, Eugène Briffaut, after Voltaire’s play (1761)First performed : Théâtre de l’Opéra, Paris, 22 December 1819, conducted by Rudolphe Kreutzer.  Divertissements: Pierre Gardel. Sets: Ignazio Degotti and Charles Ciceri. Costumes: Auguste Garneray.Revised Berlin, May 1821.The failure of Spontini's opera about the death of Alexander the Great left the … Continue reading 62. Olympie (Gaspare Spontini)

61. Fernand Cortez (Gaspare Spontini)

FERNAND CORTEZ, OU LA CONQUÊTE DE MÉXIQUETragédie lyrique in 3 actsComposer: Gaspare SpontiniLibretto: Étienne de Jouy and Joseph-Alphonse Esménard, after Alexis Piron’s playFirst performed: Opéra de Paris [Académie Impériale de Musique] (salle Montansier), 28 November 1809, conducted by Jean-Baptiste ReyA doctor decided to cure his profoundly deaf patient by taking him to see Fernand Cortez.  The doctor's … 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)

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)

29. Carmen – Georges Bizet

CARMEN Opéra-comique in 4 acts By Georges Bizet Libretto: Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, after Prosper Mérimée’s novella Carmen (1845) First performed: Opéra-Comique, Paris, 3 March 1875 Reception: Disastrous.  Now the third most popular opera in the world. Dossier (characters, musical structure). Contemporary reviews. CHARACTERS Carmen, gypsy (mezzo-soprano) Don José, brigadier (tenor) Escamillo, toreador (bass-baritone) Micaëla, peasant … Continue reading 29. Carmen – Georges Bizet

24. Béatrice et Bénédict (Hector Berlioz)

Opéra-comique in 2 acts Music and libretto by Hector Berlioz, after Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing First performed: Theater Baden-Baden, Germany, 9 August 1862 STORY BÉATRICE, Léonato’s niece (mezzo-soprano) HÉRO, Léonato’s daughter (soprano) URSULE, Héro’s maid in waiting (contralto) BÉNÉDICT, Sicilian officer, Claudio’s friend (tenor) CLAUDIO, Don Pedro’s aide de campe (baritone) DON PÉDRO, Sicilian … Continue reading 24. Béatrice et Bénédict (Hector Berlioz)