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 Resource Type: Musical Score/Notation
Armide:  Drame héroique, mis en musique

Armide: Drame héroique, mis en musique

Date: 1783
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787
Description: Armide was premiered at the Paris Opéra on September 23, 1777, recalling the earlier success of Lully’s opera of the same name, which premiered nearly a century earlier on February 15, 1686. After collaborating on several reform operas with Calzabigi, Gluck revived the older dramatic tradition of Quinault (Lully's librettist) by setting the older text in the modern musical style. The seventeenth-century five act model requires more continuous music, with few distinct arias, as well as divertissements and spectacular effects. Gluck also respects the tragic conclusion endemic to the model, avoiding the modern practice of the lieto fine ("happy ending") in which misfortunes are reversed at the last possible moment.
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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
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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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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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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Orphée et Euridice; tragédie; opéra en trois actes

Orphée et Euridice; tragédie; opéra en trois actes

Date: 1783
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787
Description: The Viennese premiere of Orfeo was extremely well received, and Gluck decided to revise the opera as Orphée et Eurydice for Paris in 1774, with the French adaptation and additions provided by Pierre Louis Moline. The role of Orpheus was lowered slightly for an haute-contre singer (a male operatic voice type more in line with an alto range), adhering to French preferences. The opera was lengthened, to create a more magnificent spectacle, with extra arias, ensembles, and instrumental numbers. Gluck also modified the orchestration to accommodate the orchestra at the Académie Royale de Musique. This version, Orphée et Eurydice, became one of the most popular operas in France.
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Le Huron : comedie en deux actes, et en vers

Le Huron : comedie en deux actes, et en vers

Date: 1768
Creator: Gretry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: Grétry’s Le Huron takes as its source a short story called L’ingénu (Geneva, 1767), written by Voltaire under the name Dulaurens. The story was banned two months after its publication due to anti-government themes. For instance, the young man raised by the Hurons (the title character of the opera) was imprisoned for expressing his radical ideas about issues such as the treatment of the Huguenots. Voltaire’s character is derived from another source, the novel Bélisaire by Marmontel, in which a man is framed for a crime and awaiting the death penalty before being released. Marmontel, who corresponded regularly with Voltaire, created the libretto for Grétry’s opera. However, most controversial aspects of the story were eliminated or downplayed for the censors, and as a result, the anti-religious message is absent from Le Huron.
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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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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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Épreuve villageoise : opéra bouffon en deux actes en vers

Épreuve villageoise : opéra bouffon en deux actes en vers

Date: 1784
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: L’épreuve villageoise started out as Théodore et Paulin before Grétry convinced Desforges to rewrite the libretto. The original three-act opera was reduced to two acts, and the improbabilities of the original plot were reworked. Théodore et Paulin received one performance at Versailles on 5 March 1784, but it was never published. L’épreuve villageoise appeared at the Comédie-Italienne on 24 June 1784. This revision remained one of the most popular of Grétry’s opéra-comiques, receiving performances throughout the nineteenth century.
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Panurge dans l'Isle des Lanternes : comédie lirique en trois actes

Panurge dans l'Isle des Lanternes : comédie lirique en trois actes

Date: 1785
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library