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Acis and Galatea

Description: This is a ca. 1743 score of Acis and Galatea, a musical masque (also considered an English pastoral opera) by Handel to a libretto by John Gay. The performance forces include: oboes (2), flauto [recorder], violins, basso continuo, and chorus of mixed voices (mostly soprano, three tenors and bass) and vocal soloists. On the front cover the name Morgan appears imprinted on a red stamp with golden ornaments and letters. The names Anna Maria [Lawes] and Mary Anne Morgan were written at the top of the title page and the inscription, "the gift [of] her uncle T. Morgan, 1808." Underneath the dedication: WH London, 1890.
Date: 1743
Creator: Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759.

Idomeneo : dramma eroico in tre atti, volume 2

Description: This score is special edition of Mozart's opera "Idomeneo" issued by subscription by J. Frey in ca. 1822. The cursive signature J. Frey appears in ink at the bottom of the t.p. This edition is in two volumes. Volume 1 lists the names of subscribers and has a table of contents for each of the three acts with the incipit of first lines of texts of arias, recitatives and choruses. Volume 1 also contains the overture of the opera and the first act. Volume 2 contains the second and third acts. According to New Grove, in 1780 Mozart received a commission to composed a serious opera on a libretto by the Salzburg cleric Giambattista Varesco, which the latter based on Antoine Danchet's Idoménée.
Date: 1821
Creator: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791.

Saul : Oratorium

Description: This is ca. 1820 vocal score of Handel's oratorio Saul. The orchestra reduction for piano is credited to J.F. [Johann Friedrich] Naue. The hand-written date 1738 that appears at the top of the t.p. underneath Saul corresponds to the year when Handel composed the oratorio. The music parts for the soloists (soprano alto tenor, bass) and the chorus appear at the top of the piano reduction staff.
Date: 1820?
Creator: Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759

Iphigenie en Aulide; tragédie. Opera en trois actes

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.
Date: 1811
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787 & Du Roullet, François Louis Gaud Lebland, marquis, 1716-1786

Iphigenie en Aulide; tragédie. Opera en trois actes

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.
Date: 1811
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787 & Du Roullet, François Louis Gaud Lebland, marquis, 1716-1786

Buona figliuola : opera comica

Description: Goldoni turned to Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) as the inspiration for his La buona figliuola. In 1750, he wrote the play Pamela nubile and then turned it into a libretto for Duni. Although Duni’s La buona figliuola (1756) was a failure, Piccinni’s setting in 1760 was a huge success. The hilarious comedy coupled with Piccinni’s sentimental treatment of Cecchina contributed to the popularity of the opera, which still receives performances to this day. Typical of opera buffe, La buona figliuola features chain-like finales that propel the plot and characters to the end of the act (at that time, sectional finales were new to Rome). Other features of his music that receive praise are the beautiful, Italianate melodies, energetic accompaniments, and the variety of musical treatment throughout the opera.
Date: 1767
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800; Goldoni, Carlo, 1707-1793 & Richardson, Samuel, 1689-1761

Barbe bleue : comédie en prose et en trois actes

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.
Date: 1789
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813 & Sedaine, 1719-1797

Recueil d'opera

Description: Collection of opera excerpts in manuscript (in an unidentified hand).
Date: 16uu
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687

Issé

Description: 1724 score of André Cardinal Destouches' opera Issé. Destouches’s Issé premiered in 1697, just nine years after the death of Jean-Baptiste Lully. The tradition of featuring new operas at the court prior to a public premiere—common during Lully’s later years—was reinstated with this work. When Destouches revived the opera in 1708, he enlarged the original three-act work to five acts. This allowed for expanded divertissements, choruses, and more elaborate arias, which appealed to contemporary public preferences. The volume in the Virtual Rare Book Room is the five-act version.
Date: 1697
Creator: Destouches, M. (André Cardinal), 1672-1749 & La Motte, M. de (Antoine Houdar), 1672-1731

Achille et Polixene, tragédie dont le prologue & les quatre derniers actes

Description: Achille et Polixene, Jean-Baptiste Lully's last opera, premiered on 7 November 1687, eight months after Lully's death on March 22 of that year. Since the composer had only finished the overture and first act, the score was completed by Pascal Colasse, Lully's secretary and student, to a text by Jean Galbert de Campistron based on events in Virgil's Aeneid.
Date: 1687
Creator: Collasse, Pascal, 1649-1709; Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Campistron, Jean Galbert de, 1656-1723

Alceste

Description: This is a ca. 1774 score of the opera "Alceste" by Anton Schweitzer based on a libretto by Christoph Wieland. The work premiered in Weimar in 1773. The plot was based on the Greek legend of Alcestis, on the subject of female virtue and conjugal love. The library's copy contains an engraved illustration that portrays a domestic scene. The score does not indicate the musical instruments and the music, which is notated in two, three or four staves, contains the German text underlaid with indication of the character who sings.
Date: 1774
Creator: Schweitzer, Anton, 1735-1787.

Alceste: tragedie opera en trois actes

Description: According to Grove Music, "when Admetus, King of Pherae in Thessaly, is ill and about to die an oracle announces that he will be saved if someone else is willing to die in his stead. His wife Alcestis displays her conjugal devotion by offering herself; she dies and Admetus recovers. Under the influence of tragédie lyrique, Calzabigi enriched his libretto with choruses, ballets and opportunities for impressive scenery."
Date: 1776
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787; Calzabigi, Ranieri de, 1714-1795 & Du Roullet, François Louis Gaud Lebland, marquis, 1716-1786

Iphigénie en Tauride. Tragédie lirique en quatre actes

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.
Date: 1781
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800 & Dubreil, Alphonse Ducongé, 1734-1801

Tom Jones; comedie lyrique en trois actes

Description: Philidor’s Tom Jones is representative of the continental interest in English literature. Henry Fielding’s homonymous novel served as the foundation for Philidor’s opera, but Philidor pared down the story quite a bit, especially downplaying Tom’s philandering ways. Many secondary characters and situations were also cut, a common technique that librettists employ when adapting prose writings to the stage. Thus, a central plot unfolds in a manner that the audience can follow, and the length remains manageable for an evening’s entertainment.
Date: 1766
Creator: Philidor, F. D. (François Danican), 1726-1795; Poinsinet, Antoine Alexandre Henri, 1735-1769; Davesne, Bertin, 1714-1742 & Fielding, Henry, 1707-1754

Tancrède: tragédie

Description: 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.
Date: 1702
Creator: Campra, André, 1660-1744; Danchet, Antoine, 1671-1748. & Tasso, Torquato, 1544-1595

Épreuve villageoise : opéra bouffon en deux actes en vers

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.
Date: 1784
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813 & Desforges, M. (Pierre-Jean-Baptiste), 1746-1806

Amadis; tragedie, mise en musique

Description: The premiere of Amadis was delayed for a year after Lully completed its composition in order to allow the proper mourning period for Marie Thérese, wife of Louis XIV, who died in July of 1683. While still abstaining from theater at court, Louis XIV at last allowed the first public presentation of Amadis at the Opéra in Paris on 18 January 1684. It was an immediate public success.
Date: 1684
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688

Armide : tragedie mise en musique

Description: Armide, which premiered at the Paris Opéra February 15, 1686, was the last tragédie lyrique on which Jean-Baptiste Lully collaborated with his favorite librettist, Philippe Quinault. Quinault retired from the stage after Armide, and Lully died a year later on March 22, 1687. From its first performance, Armide was considered their masterpiece. Armide is unusual among Lully and Quinault's tragédies lyriques in that it concentrates on the psychological development of a single character; the reflective style of this late work may be regarded as an early presentiment of trends toward individualism in art.
Date: 1686
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688

Tarare : opéra en cinq actes avec un prologue

Description: Antonio Salieri’s French debut Les Danaïdes (1784) led to additional commissions, Les Horaces (1786) and Tarare (1787). Although Les Horaces was not well-received, Tarare was popular both in Paris and Vienna. Beaumarchais supplied the libretto for Tarare, basing his plot on the third volume of the exotic English collection The Tales of the Genii, or The Delightful Lessons of Horam, the Son of Asmar (1764) by James Ridley, (pseudonym for Sir Charles Morell), who claimed the stories were translated from a Persian source.
Date: 1790
Creator: Salieri, Antonio, 1750-1825 & Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de, 1732-1799

Romeo et Juliette, opera en trois actes, en prose

Description: This is the score of Daniel Steibelt's first opera "Roméo et Juliette" composed in 1793 to a libretto by Vicomte Alexandre de Ségur. According to Grove Music, Steibelt submitted this opera to the Académie Royale de Musique, but it was rejected. The work was performed as opéra comique at the Théâtre Feydeau on 9 October 1793, after Steibelt replaced the original recitatives with spoken dialog. The opera is in three acts and the orchestral forces comprise: woodwinds (flutes (2), oboes (2), clarinets (2), and bassoon (2)), brass instruments (horns in E-flat (2), trumpets in C (2), and trombones (3)), timpani in C, and strings (violins, viola, violoncello, and bass). On the t.p., the publisher advertised Steibelt's arrangement for the piano of arias and overture of this opera.
Date: 1793
Creator: Steibelt, Daniel, 1765-1823.

Proserpine; tragedie

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.
Date: 1680
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688

Roland; tragédie mise en musique

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.
Date: 1685
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688

Zéphire et Flore; opéra en musique

Description: Zephire et Flore, the only opera attributed to Louis and Jean-Louis Lully, sons of Jean-Baptiste Lully, sets a libretto by Michel Du Boullay based on episodes from Greek mythology. It was performed for the first time 22 March 1688 at the Palais Royale in Paris. There is no record of a court performance, and it was revived only once, in June of 1715, with revisions by Destouches. We know of no modern performances, nor recordings of the opera in whole or in part.
Date: 1688
Creator: Lully, Louis de, 1664-1734 & Duboullay, Michel

Proserpine : tragedie mise en musique

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.
Date: 1707
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688