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  Partner: UNT Music Library
 Decade: 1780-1789
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Iphigénie en Tauride. Tragédie lirique en quatre actes

Iphigénie en Tauride. Tragédie lirique en quatre actes

Date: 1781
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800
Description: The contrast between Piccinni and Gluck can perhaps best be illustrated with Iphigénie en Tauride, as Piccinni’s opera appeared just two years after Gluck’s work on the same subject. In fact, supporters of Piccinni (“Piccinnistes”) hoped that the Italian composer would demonstrate the superiority of his style with Iphigénie, and scholars have used these settings to illustrate the difference between the two composers.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Renaud : tragedie lyrique en trois actes

Renaud : tragedie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1783
Creator: Sacchini, Antonio, 1730-1786
Description: Sacchini’s first opera for the French stage was Renaud. Although he had the support of Marie Antoinette, Sacchini quickly learned that foreign (especially Italian) composers in Paris faced difficulties. The premiere of Renaud was intentionally delayed in an attempt to highlight Sacchini’s privilege with the queen, and the opera did not enjoy immediate success, even from Piccinni’s supporters. However, Renaud went on to be performed frequently, appearing as late as 1815.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
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).
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
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
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Atys : tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Atys : tragédie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1780
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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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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Thomas and Sally

Thomas and Sally

Date: 1782
Creator: Arne, Thomas Augustine, 1710-1778
Description: 1782 vocal score of Thomas Arne's opera Thomas and Sally, or the Sailors return. Dramatic pastoral in two acts by Thomas Augustine Arne to a libretto by Isaac Bickerstaff; London, Covent Garden, 28 November 1760. Thomas and Sally can claim to be the first all-sung English comic opera. It is noteworthy as well for the introduction of clarinets into the orchestra (Grove Music Online).
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
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