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Huguenots, Les (Scribe / Meyerbeer)




Opéra en 5 actes créé à l'Académie royale de musique (salle Le Peletier) le 29 février 1836.


In the first half of the nineteenth century, the political and religious unrest that had been affecting France since the Revolution, combined with the emergence of a trend towards historicism, gave rise to an unprecedented interest in the history of the French Wars of Religion. Illustrations of that vogue include Charles de Rémusat’s successful dramatic work, La Saint-Barthélémy (1829), that of Alexandre Dumas, Henri III et sa cour, staged the Comédie-Française (1829), and Mérimée’s novel Chronique du temps de Charles IX (also 1829). The libretto of Hérold’s opéra-comique Le Pré aux clercs, premièred in 1832, was based on the latter, as was that of Meyerbeer’s grand opera Les Huguenots, set in France in the summer of 1572, which was first staged at the Paris Opéra on 29 February 1836. The action focuses on the love between the Catholic Valentine and the Protestant Raoul, roles taken by the famous singers Cornélie Falcon (soprano) and Adolphe Nourrit (tenor). After the sensational success of Robert le Diable, Meyerbeer and Scribe achieved with Les Huguenots what turned out to be one of the greatest triumphs of the nineteenth century at the Paris Opéra, with more than nine hundred performances between 1836 and 1900. Furthermore, it was chosen for the inaugural performance when the Opéra moved to the Palais Garnier in 1875. Most striking in this opera are the very rich instrumentation and unusual orchestral effects, and the use of the solemn and imposing Lutheran chorale Ein feste Burg as a leitmotif: developed and varied throughout, it gives the work an impressive unity and continuity. With great awareness of the bourgeois tastes of audiences of the time, Meyerbeer combined the brio of exuberant vocality (Urbain, Marguerite) with strong dramatic voices (Valentine, Marcel), thus bringing together the best of the Italian and French styles.

    Images - 21
  • Henri Sellier dans Les Huguenots (carte Guérin-Boutron)
  • Lucienne Bréval dans Les Huguenots (carte Guérin-Boutron)
  • Adelina Patti : portraits et différents rôles
  • Germaine Le Senne en Valentine (Les Huguenots de Meyerbeer)
  • Jacques-Émile Serda en comte de Sainte-Brice (Les Huguenots de Meyerbeer) par Dantan
  • Les Huguenots de Meyerbeer (carte Guérin-Boutron)
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    Persons - 4
  • FALCON, Cornélie (1814-1897)
  • MEYERBEER, Giacomo (1791-1864)
  • NOURRIT, Adolphe (1802-1839)
  • SCRIBE, Eugène (1791-1861)
  • Themes - 4
  • Institution – Opéra de Paris
  • Lieux de musique – Salle Le Peletier
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century
  • Opéra – Le grand opéra français
  • Studies - 5
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