Home / Works / Île du rêve, L’ (Alexandre & Hartmann / Hahn)

Print content of page

Île du rêve, L’ (Alexandre & Hartmann / Hahn)




Idylle polynésienne in 3 acts premiered at the Opéra-Comique on 23 March 1898. After Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti


In the early 1890s, librettists Georges Hartmann and André Alexandre negotiated with Pierre Loti for the adaptation rights to several of his novels. This agreement resulted in two operas: Madame Chrysanthème, entrusted to André Messager’s capable hands; and the L’Île du rêve, young Reynaldo Hahn’s first foray into opera. Completed first, Madame Chrysanthème was rejected by Carvalho, director of the Opéra-Comique, and opened the season at the Théâtre-Lyrique in 1893. The difficult evolution of Hahn’s opera worked in its favour: its completion coincided with a change of management at the Opéra-Comique and it became the first production mounted by Albert Carré on that stage. Faithful to the original text, the libretto tells the story of the love affair between a naval officer and a young Tahitian woman, Mahénu. This romantic idyll lasts only for the duration of the main character’s stay on the island, as his mistress decides against following him, afraid that he will no longer find her attractive away from the exotic setting of their first meeting. Although the treatment of the music shows the influence of Jules Massenet – the composer’s teacher and the work’s dedicatee –, it is set apart by the way all the numbers overlap, which impressed the critics: “Everything hangs together in this music, everything follows on and continues, all the episodes are linked, without pause”, exclaimed Arthur Pougin at the end of the premiere. Turning away from the heightened emotions of Romantic opera, Hahn was seeking a simplicity which led him, in the words of Philippe Blay, “towards a meditative and melancholy wonder”.

    Libretto - 1
  • Île du rêve, L' (Hartmann & Alexandre)
  • Persons - 3
  • ALEXANDRE, André (1860-1927)
  • HAHN, Reynaldo (1874-1947)
  • HARTMANN, Georges (1843-1900)
  • Theme - 1
  • Opéra – L’opéra-comique
  • Study - 1
  • Giroud, Vincent – A Polynesian idyll in the time of Gauguin
  • Press articles -  18
  • Gazette anecdotique, littéraire, artistique et bibliographique, 31 mars 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • Gil Blas, 24 mars 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • Gil Blas, 28 mars 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, 2 avril 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • La Presse, 24 mars 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • La Revue hebdomadaire, avril 1898 [L’Île du rêve de Hahn]
  • Display more
    Document - 1
  • Hahn & Risler – Correspondance autour de L'Île du rêve (1891-1898)