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. SYNOPSIS Carmen is based on Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 novella about a … Continue reading 29. Carmen – Georges Bizet

24. Béatrice et Bénédict (Hector Berlioz)

BÉATRICE ET BÉNÉDICT 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 Dossier COMMENTARY Shakespeare's comedy about a merry war of wits mixes high comedy with pathos.  Hero and Claudio, about to marry, plot to bring the sparring Beatrice and … Continue reading 24. Béatrice et Bénédict (Hector Berlioz)

23. Tromb-al-ca-zar – Jacques Offenbach)

TROMB-AL-CA-ZAR, OU LES CRIMINELS DRAMATIQUES Bouffonnerie musicale in 1 act By Jacques Offenbach Libretto: Charles-Désiré Dupeuty & Ernest Bourget First performed : Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, 3 April 1856 Dossier RECORDINGS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1xBv6cbJaI&w=640&h=385 RTBF recording, conducted by Alfred Walter.  Starring Albert Voli (Beaujolais), Claudine Granger (Gigolette), Jacques Legrand (Ignace), and Yerry Mertz (Vert-Panné). Libretto (in French).     … Continue reading 23. Tromb-al-ca-zar – Jacques Offenbach)

17. Les contes d’Hoffmann – Jacques Offenbach

LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN By Jacques Offenbach Opéra in a prologue, 3 acts, and an epilogue Libretto: Jules Barbier, after Barbier and Michel Carré’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, based on Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann Notes: Offenbach's last opera.  There is no fixed score, and various versions exist, as Offenbach died before he could complete the work.  The … Continue reading 17. Les contes d’Hoffmann – Jacques Offenbach

11. Stratonice – Étienne-Nicolas Méhul

STRATONICE Opéra-comique in 1 act By Étienne Nicolas Méhul Libretto : François-Benoit Hoffman, after De Dea Syria (attributed to Lucan) First performed : Théatre Favart, Paris, 3 May 1792 Reception: Méhul's third opera.  A success – 200 performances during Méhul’s lifetime.  Cherubini thought it Méhul’s best work: “Stratonice lacks nothing; it is a work of genius.  Méhul’s … Continue reading 11. Stratonice – Étienne-Nicolas Méhul

9. Hérodiade – Jules Massenet

HÉRODIADE Opéra in 3 or 4 acts By Jules Massenet Libretto: Paul Milliet and Henri Grémont (Georges Hartmann), after Gustave Flaubert’s “Hérodias” First performed: Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels, 19 December 1881, in original version of 3 acts and 6 scenes Reception: A success!  Hundreds of Parisian artists, journalists and music-lovers headed north to … Continue reading 9. Hérodiade – Jules Massenet