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Isis; tragedie mise en musique

Isis; tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1719
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Isis, which premiered January 5, 1677, at St. Germain-en-Laye, was the fifth of Jean-Baptiste Lully's tragédies lyriques written with librettist Philippe Quinault. The plot is loosely adapted from one of the episodes in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In many of its essentials, the plot of Isis resembles that of Lully's previous opera, Atys. In Isis, the nymph Io, daughter of the river Inachus, is promised in marriage to Hierax, just as the nymph Sangaride, daughter of the river Sangar, was promised to Celoenus. Like Sangaride, Io is pursued by another love and yields to this love in spite of her feelings of guilt. Like Sangaride, Io has a goddess as a rival and is vulnerable to her jealousy. Lully's contemporaries interpreted this story as representing the volatile situation between two of the King's mistresses. The subsequent scandale of the premiere ended the collaboration between Lully and Quinault for a time, and led to the dismissal of a number of members of Lully's artistic circle.
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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 & Du Roullet, François Louis Gaud Lebland, marquis, 1716-1786
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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Roland; tragédie mise en musique

Roland; tragédie mise en musique

Date: 1685
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Roland is one of three operas by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and librettist Philippe Quinault based on the medieval legends of chivalry (the other two are Amadis and Armide). Roland sets episodes from Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando furioso. And, like its sibling Armide, Roland centers on the conflict between duty and love. Acts I-III portray this conflict within Angélique, Queen of Cathay, while the remaining acts concern Roland's unrequited love for Angélique, which is resolved only when the goddesses Glory and Fame show him that this too is a struggle between duty and love.
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Thesée; tragedie, mise en musique

Thesée; tragedie, mise en musique

Date: 1688
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Thesée, which premiered at the court theater at St. Germain-en-laye on January 11, 1675, was Jean-Baptiste Lully's third tragédie lyrique created in collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault. As in most of his libretti for Lully, Quinault combines a plot based on a classical source (an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses) with references to contemporary events. The Prologue alludes to Louis XIV's personal leadership in the military engagements in the Alsace (along the French/German border). The juxtaposition of Venus' entreaties for pleasure with Mars' call to arms reflects a period of unease during which the French armies were in retreat from the armies of the Elector of Brandenburg. This resulted in the unique joining of songs of love with songs of war and victory.
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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 & Bertati, Giovanni, 1735-1815
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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Proserpine; tragedie

Proserpine; tragedie

Date: 1680
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: With Proserpine, composer Jean-Baptiste Lully returned to his collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault, which had been interrupted when the poet was banned from Court for offending Madame de Montespan (the king's mistress) with unflattering references in Isis. By 1679, Quinault had been restored to favor. Proserpine was first performed at St. Germain-en-Laye in February of 1680. Though seventeenth-century audiences were familiar with the story of Proserpine being carried off into Hades from numerous ballets and stage plays, Quinault returned to the source in Ovid's Metamorphoses to embellish the plot. In addition to details drawn from Ovid, Quinault added some of his own, making Proserpine among the most convoluted of Lully's operas. While the prologue alludes to King Louis XIV in the guise of Jupiter, the play itself refers specifically to the king's recent victories over the Spanish and Dutch when Jupiter battles and defeats the giants. Robert Isherwood notes that Jupiter's trip to Phrygia may represent Louis' inspection of Flanders after its defeat in 1679.
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Colonie : opéra comique en deux actes

Colonie : opéra comique en deux actes

Date: 1776
Creator: Sacchini, Antonio, 1730-1786 & Framery, Nicolas Etienne, 1745-1810
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
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 & Sedaine, 1719-1797
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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Echo et Narcisse, drame lyrique en trois actes

Echo et Narcisse, drame lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1779
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787 & Tschudi, Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Théodore, baron de, 1734-1784
Description: After the resounding success of Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), Gluck set out to compose his last of the seven Paris operas, which turned out to be his final opera. Whereas Iphigénie en Tauride is often considered Gluck’s best opera, its immediate successor, Echo et Narcisse (1779) was ill-fated and quickly disappeared from the repertoire. Echo was premiered a mere four months after Tauride, and the Parisian audience was not prepared for the differences between these two operas. Although the music resembles that of his other French operas, the pastoral story lacks the dramatic intensity that viewers expected in a Gluck opera. Thus, the serene music—though it is at times quite beautiful— lacks dramatic impulse.
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Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Date: 1754
Creator: Vade, M. (Jean Joseph), 1719-1757.
Description: In the mid-eighteenth century, comic opera librettos served a dual purpose, as evinced by the libretto to Vadé ’s Trompeur trompé (1754). Although the primary function of the publication was to allow audience members to follow along with the text of the opera, solo airs were printed in the back of the book. Not all the melodies are included, but those printed in the libretto enhance our understanding of an opera the music of which was never published as a comprehensive musical score.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library