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  Partner: UNT Music Library
 Collection: Virtual Music Rare Book Room
Iphigenie en Aulide; tragédie. Opera en trois actes

Iphigenie en Aulide; tragédie. Opera en trois actes

Date: 1811
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787
Description: Although he did not have a production planned, Gluck composed the music for Iphigénie en Aulide for Paris, with the intention (along with Roullet) of establishing himself at the Opéra. He initially had difficulties convincing the Academy of Music to arrange for the production, but with the support of Marie Antoinette, the opera was finally realized in 1773. Gluck revised Iphigénie for performances in 1775. The most significant change was the addition of Diana as a character, whose appearance serves as the deus ex machina of the plot. He also altered and expanded the divertissements.
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Matrimonio segreto : dramma giocoso in due atti = ou, Le mariage secret : opera comiLe mariage secret : opera comique en deux actesque en deux actes

Matrimonio segreto : dramma giocoso in due atti = ou, Le mariage secret : opera comiLe mariage secret : opera comique en deux actesque en deux actes

Date: 1799
Creator: Cimarosa, Domenico, 1749-1801
Description: Domenico Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 7 February 1792, just two months after Mozart’s death. It received immediate accolades, particularly from Emperor Leopold II, and the opera was performed a second time that day for a private audience that included the Holy Roman ruler. Il matrimonio segreto enjoyed a successful run that lasted almost a hundred years, with revised versions appearing in the second half of the nineteenth century; in 1933, the work was performed at the Library of Congress. Although the harmonic language is largely diatonic, Cimarosa’s beautiful melodies and exciting rhythms complement Bertati’s direct text. The opera presents the predicament of the secretly married couple without resorting to stock plot conventions such as characters in disguise, conveying the dramatic naturalness and simplicity promoted by Rousseau. The inventive orchestration, which includes clarinets, was another aspect of the opera that was praised by some (while Schumann appreciated the orchestration, Berlioz was unimpressed).
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Didon; tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Didon; tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1815
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800
Description: With Didon, Piccinni demonstrated his ability to combine both Italian and French styles to create a compelling tragédie lyrique. The opera includes lyrical Italian melodies and a second-act finale, as well as French choruses and numbers that transition continuously without pauses. Didon was premiered at Fountainebleau on 16 October 1783, and it remained one of Piccinni’s most popular French operas, with performances through the first part of the nineteenth century. The story of Dido had been realized on the operatic stage before Piccinni’s setting, including Cavalli’s Didone (1641), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (c. 1689), and Vinci’s Didone abbandonata (1726) with a libretto by Metastasio.
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Le devin du village

Le devin du village

Date: 1785
Creator: Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778
Description: As with many French operas, Rousseau’s Le devin du village was first staged for the court, appearing at Fountainebleau on 18 October 1752. The work was then performed at the Paris Opéra on 1 March 1753. The historical importance of this short intermè is closely tied to its role in the famous Querelle de bouffons, a debate about the merits of French serious opera in comparison to Italian comic opera (especially Pergolesi’s La serva padrona).
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Dardanus : tragédie lyrique en quatre actes

Dardanus : tragédie lyrique en quatre actes

Date: 1784
Creator: Sacchini, Antonio, 1730-1786
Description: Like Renaud, Sacchini’s second French opera, Dardanus, faced problems due in large part to the composer’s Italian heritage. The opera is based on Rameau’s Dardanus, which had been a topic of earlier dispute between the Lullistes and the Ramistes. After an initially disappointing reception, Dardanus was reduced from four acts to three. In its first form, the opera received only six performances, but the three-act version was performed more than thirty times during the eighteenth century. Dardanus went on to enjoy several productions in the first decade of the nineteenth century.
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Dardanus : nouvelle tragédie

Dardanus : nouvelle tragédie

Date: 1744
Creator: Rameau, Jean Philippe, 1683-1764
Description: Dardanus went through a number of revisions from the time of its premiere in 1739 until its final eighteenth-century run at the Opéra in 1771. The version in the Virtual Rare Book Room was first performed in 1744; the last three acts exhibit extensive plot changes from the first edition. The final version in 1760 received the most positive acclaim, especially compared to the criticisms that were made about the nonsensical plot of the first version. By this point, however, the polemic between the Lullistes and the Ramistes, which had surrounded the premiere, had subsided.
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Colinette à la cour ou La double épreuve : comédie lyrique en trois actes

Colinette à la cour ou La double épreuve : comédie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1782
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: A comparison of the scores for Colinette à la cour and Barbe-bleue illustrates the primary distinguishing factor between the genres of comédie lyrique and opera comique: the method of dialogue delivery. In Paris, the issue of genre was tied to the performance venue of a particular opera, due to government regulations. Although comic opera was traditionally presented with spoken dialogue, as in opera comique, when Grétry composed for the Opéra, where recitative was expected, he merged comic subject matter with the sung dialogue heard in serious opera.
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Barbe bleue : comédie en prose et en trois actes

Barbe bleue : comédie en prose et en trois actes

Date: 1789
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: Although the story of Bluebeard was familiar to French readers from Charles Perrault’s 1698 collection of children’s tales, transferring it to the operatic stage was problematic due in large part to the gruesome nature of the plot. Other violent works had appeared in Paris, but in this instance, the drama was to be performed at the Comédie-Italienne, which typically featured lighter plots than that of Raoul and Isaure. Nevertheless, the opera had a successful run, receiving over a hundred performances in the decade after its premiere. After its initial popularity, Raoul Bluebeard was staged less frequently, but it still made an impression on nineteenth-century composers, particularly Weber.
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Bellérophon; tragedie mise en musique

Bellérophon; tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1679
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687
Description: Although not the first of the Jean-Baptiste Lully's tragédies lyriques, Bellérophon was the first of Lully's opera scores to appear in print. The Ballard first edition was printed in 1679 to accompany the premiere, on January 31 of that year, at the Palais Royale. Bellérophon was the second of two operas (the first was Psyché) created by Lully without librettist Philippe Quinault after the scandal associated with Isis that led to Quinault's temporary dismissal as royal librettist. After an extended illness during which he did not compose, Lully collaborated with Thomas Corneille and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle for the second time to create one of his most unqualified successes. Following the first performance in January 1679, Bellérophon played for nine months at the Palais Royale.
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Atys : tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Atys : tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1781
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800
Description: The story of Atys was first known operatically through Lully’s opera that premiered in 1676 at the court of St Germain-en-Laye. Marmontel adapted Quinault’s libretto and modified it by removing the prologue and divertissements. He also altered the plot; in lieu of Ovid’s metamorphic ending (to which Quinault had adhered), Atys commits suicide.
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