Digital resources for French Romantic music

Déjanire (Gallet & Saint-Saëns / Saint-Saëns)




Tragédie lyrique in four acts premiered at the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo. Dedicated to Ferdinand Castelbon de Beauxhostes.


“It will be a strange score, with nothing similar, as far as I know; it will not please at all, or it will please immensely, there will be no middle ground.” It was in such clear-cut terms that in January 1910 Saint-Saëns presented the tragédie lyrique he was working on to the publisher Jacques Durand, over a year before it was premiered at the Monte-Carlo Theatre on 14 March 1911, at the request of Prince Albert I of Monaco. Déjanire’s genesis began much earlier, however, in August 1898, when at Béziers’ Roman Amphitheatre, outdoors, Saint-Saëns conducted his incidental music to the eponymous tragedy by his friend and collaborator Louis Gallet. The tragedy tells the story of the death of Hercules (Deianira’s husband) — the dramatic outcome of a tormented intrigue mingling passion, violence and jealousy. For his new score, Saint-Saëns preserved and reinforced the choruses of his “old Déjanire”, as he called it, and left intact the recycled passages taken from his symphonic poem La Jeunesse d’Hercule (1877) to open and conclude the four-act tragedy. He kept the dramatic framework of Gallet’s text, but adapted it, completed it and now meant it to be entirely sung. Much more than a simple reworking – Saint-Saëns himself objected to this idea – the new work thus created was praised by the critics: Gabriel Fauré wrote of a “music that is powerfully evocative, so pure in form, with a harmonic character that sometimes borrows its peculiar flavour from the ancient tonalities”, while the composer and conductor Francis Casadesus praised “the purity of its lines, the richness of its textures, the beautiful simplicity of its orchestration and the admirable solidity of its architecture, as sober as it is imposing”.

    Images - 14
  • Henri Dangès dans Déjanire (Saint-Saëns)
  • Lucien Muratore en Hercule (Déjanire de Saint-Saëns)
  • Lucien Muratore en Hercule (Déjanire de Saint-Saëns)
  • Scène de Déjanire (Gallet) à Béziers
  • Scène de Déjanire (Gallet) à Béziers : l'arrivée de Déjanire
  • Scène de Déjanire à Béziers
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    Libretto - 1
  • Déjanire (Gallet & Saint-Saëns)
  • Work - 1
  • Jeunesse d’Hercule, La (Camille Saint-Saëns)
  • Persons - 3
  • CASTELBON DE BEAUXHOSTES, Fernand (1859-1934)
  • GALLET, Louis (1835-1898)
  • SAINT-SAËNS, Camille (1835-1921)
  • Themes - 3
  • Lieux de musique – Opéra de Monte-Carlo
  • Lieux de musique – Théâtres en plein air, arènes et théâtres antiques
  • Opéra – La tragédie lyrique après Gluck
  • Studies - 3
  • Giroud, Vincent – Le dernier opéra de Saint-Saëns : Déjanire
  • Teulon Lardic, Sabine – À pleine voix et en plein air à Orange, Nîmes, Béziers : créations et reprises de Saint-Saëns (1894-1921)
  • Teulon Lardic, Sabine – Réinventer la tragédie « à l’antique » : Déjanire dans les arènes de Béziers
  • Press articles -  28
  • Comœdia, 14 février 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
  • Comœdia, 14 mars 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
  • Comœdia, 16 mars 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
  • Comœdia, 20 novembre 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
  • Excelsior, 15 mars 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
  • Excelsior, 20 novembre 1911 [Déjanire de Saint-Saëns]
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