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Niccolai, Michela – The visual aspects of Le Mage




The first part of Massenet’s career was marked by the composition of several grand operas: Le Roi de Lahore (1877), Hérodiade (1881), Le Cid (1885) and Le Mage (1891). The latter, produced at the Paris Opéra, directed at that time by Ritt and Gailhard, was lavishly staged and the number of costumes was extraordinary. Even so, it remained on the bill, between spring and autumn 1891, for just thirty-one performances, from the première on 16 March. Neither the libretto nor the score received unanimous public acclaim. The staging, on the other hand, was seen – for example by Louis Besson, writing in L’Événement (18 March 1891) – as ‘worthy of boundless praise’.  Let us therefore take a look at the visual aspect of this production, focusing in particular on the sets and the theatrical devices used at the Opéra to take the audience back in time, to the city of Bakhdi, several centuries BCE.

From the CD-Book Le Mage de Massenet (Palazzetto Bru Zane, collection Opéra français, 2013). Translation: Mary Pardoe.

    Person - 1
  • MASSENET, Jules (1842-1912)
  • Work - 1
  • Mage, Le (Richepin / Massenet)
  • Theme - 1
  • Institution – Opéra de Paris