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Jocelyn (Capoul & Silvestre / Godard)




Opera in 4 acts, from the poem by Lamartine, dedicated to Daniel Barton and premiered on 25 February 1888 at the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie In Brussels, French premiere on 13 October 1888 at the Théâtre-Lyrique-National (Théâtre du Château d’Eau).


Librettists Victor Capoul (the former tenor), Armand Silvestre, and composer Benjamin Godard had to wait several years before Jocelyn was brought to the stage. In fact, the libretto, adapted from the poem by Alphonse de Lamartine, describing the impossible love between a priest and a young woman during the French Revolution, gave rise to numerous discussions about morality. In the end, it was the director of the La Monnaie theatre in Brussels who took the risk and profited from the success of this opera, which saw the Parisian artistic elite flock to its premiere on 25 February 1888. The four acts, or eight tableaux, faithfully depict the most powerful moments of the poem, although they are not linked by place or time. As a result, what some regarded as a strength of the libretto, a means of varying the mood and staving off boredom, was criticised by others for the overall lack of unity it engendered. The music by Benjamin Godard came in for less criticism because the champions of French music saw in it the “grace”, “elegance” and “distinction” characteristic of the national style. In fact, Jocelyn’s Berceuse from the second act, the only surviving piece that is still heard, reveals a score which, although it takes no risks, is accomplished and particularly moving. The success of this aria can be gauged by the many transcriptions made of it. The names of Pierre-Emile Engel in the role of Jocelyn, Rose Caron in that of Laurence, and Joseph Dupont as conductor contributed to the immediate success of Godard’s opera.

    Images - 6
  • Affiche pour Jocelyn (Silvestre & Capoul / Godard)
  • Page de titre de la Romance de Laurence tirée de Jocelyn (Godard)
  • Page de titre de la transcription pour piano de la berceuse de Jocelyn de Godard (Wormser)
  • Page de titre de Wiegenlied tiré de Jocelyn (Godard)
  • Page de titre du bouquet de mélodies d'après Jocelyn de Godard (Renaud de Vilbac)
  • Table des morceaux séparés de Jocelyn (Godard)
  • Work - 1
  • Berceuse (Benjamin Godard)
  • Persons - 3
  • CAPOUL, Victor (1839-1824)
  • GODARD, Benjamin (1849-1895)
  • SILVESTRE, Armand (1837-1901)
  • Theme - 1
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century