Atys, which premiered on 10 January 1676, is the first of the tragédies lyriques of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault to conclude with a tragic ending. Joyce Newman, in Jean-Baptiste de Lully and his Tragédie Lyriques, summarizes the message of the story in this way: In [Atys], Quinault shows how actions which are not in accord with the noble ideal will bring defeat and punishment. Not only is love in opposition to glory in this opera, but also it is shown that if love is placed more highly than honor, it will bring unhappiness even to one of the immortals.
Atys, which premiered on 10 January 1676, is the first of the tragédies lyriques of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault to have a tragic ending. As the Prologue indicates, the tragedie itself is a divertissement to ease the king's mind of his impending duties. Joyce Newman, in Jean-Baptiste de Lully and his Tragédie Lyriques, summarizes the message of the story in this way: "In [Atys], Quinault shows how actions which are not in accord with the noble ideal will bring defeat and punishment. Not only is love in opposition to glory in this opera, but also it is shown that if love is place more highly than honor, it will bring unhappiness even to one of the immortals."
This item comprises two books of secular cantatas for soprano (indicated by the consistent use of the soprano clef in the vocal line), obbligato strings and winds, and (unrealized) basso continuo. The first book was printed in 1706; the second, in 1708. Since the two volumes were bound together, the later date is used for this item. The subtitle for the first volume indicates "a voix seule avec symphonies" while the subtitle for the second volume gives "a voix seule et basse-continue, avec et sans symphonies."
This a copy of vol. 2 of an anthology of French songs compiled by Christophe Ballad, music publisher of King Louis XIV. The work consists mainly of unaccompanied melodies with underlaid text for selected acts of the following tragedies: Proserpine (pp. 1-19); Le triomphe de l'amour (pp. 20-60); Persée (pp. 61-81); Phaeton (pp. 62-94); Amadis (pp. 95-125); Roland (pp. 126-155); Armide (pp. 169-176); Acis et Galatée (pp. 177-192). It contains also melodies for "Ballet du temple de la Paix" (pp. 156-168), and Vaudevilles on rondes de table (pp. 193-264). Two previous editions, compiled by Monsieur Ribon, published under title: Parodies bachiques. Cf. RISM, v. B I, 1 1695(4) and 1696(1), present ed. listed as 1700(3).
Omphale (1701) is one of Destouches’s contributions to the Lullian genre of the five-act tragédie en musique. Half a century after the premiere, Friedrich Melchior Grimm targeted the opera in his pamphlet “Lettre sur Omphale” (1752), which continued the earlier debate between advocates of Lully and Rameau. This written attack also precipitated the famous guerre des bouffons, which was sparked by a performance of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (1733) in 1752.
Like many of the operas created by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault, his favorite librettist, Phaëton is filled with solar symbolism--a reference to the "Sun King," Louis XIV. The story also provides a political lesson: the haughty youth unable to contend with his position of power served as a warning to anyone brash enough to challenge the rigid mores of Louis' court. In addition to this political interpretation, the story is also a character study of a reckless juvenile whose arrogance destroys him. Phaëton's misguided and inappropriate attempts to make his lineage public bring about his downfall. The plot, like that of several of Lully's operas, is based on an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
"Prodromus Musicalis" (published in 1702) is bound, here, with "Motets à une et deux voix, mélez de symphonies, livre premier" (1704); thus, the latter gate is used for this item as a unit. Both sets of motets consist of Latin-texted music preceded by a title page in French. A Table of Contents either at the front or back of each collection describes the motets contained therein. Content is printed on both sides of each leaf. "Prodromus" also has a note from Brossard informing the reader that a Dictionary of Music, published at the same time as "Prodomus," contains French translations of Italian, Greek, and Latin terms, knowledge of which is vital to the understanding and performance of the present music. The contents of "Prodromus" are as follows: "Ave vivens hostia," "O Jesu quam dulce," "Congratulamini filiae Sion," "O vos aetherei," "Festivi martyres" "Angele sancte" "Sonitus armorum," "Quemadmodum desiderat," and "O plenus irarum dies." "Motets à une et deux voix" contains the following pieces: "Venite exultemus," "Gaudete Mortales," "Ad mensam caelitus paratam," "Ave Regina coelorum," "Animae Amantes ad Deum esurientes," "Ite gemmae, Ite flores," "Anxiatus est super me spiritus meus," "Festivi Martyres, festivae Virgines," "Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum."
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.
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). This is the second edition. 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.
This three-act opera is to a libretto by Joseph Addison. Content is printed only on the recto side of each leaf. The score features two title pages: the first, with an engraving and small print describing the contents; the second, with large font. The work opens with a three-part "symphony or overture" for an ensemble of unspecified instrumentation: two treble instruments and one bass instrument. The indication "with Violins" on some the songs suggests the nature of the high instruments. No figures are included on the bass line. All the songs are followed, on the same page, by a version of the vocal line for flute.
Thomas Clayton’s first opera, Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus, premiered at Drury Lane in London on 16 January 1705. The opera initially enjoyed success, but two years later, Clayton’s second opera was not well-received. Part of Arsinoe’s popularity may have been due to Catherine Tofts' portrayal of the title character; Toft would later become a star of the English stage.
André Campra’s Tancrède, which premiered on 7 November 1702, is his best-known tragédie en musique, with a run of performances until 1764, and high praise by noteworthy music personalities such as Rameau. While the music critic La Cerf de la Viéville wrote positive comments about Tancrède, he was bothered by the opera’s use of low voices, which defied the tradition of employing castrati parts. Additionally, the role of Clorinda was written for a well-known contralto named Mademoiselle Maupin; although the range is that of a mezzo-soprano, the powerful quality of Maupin’s voice seemed to be a prime consideration for Campra.
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