Digital resources for French Romantic music

Euphrosine ou Le Tyran corrigé (Hoffman / Méhul)




Comédie en vers mise en musique in 5 acts (reduced to 4 acts on 11 September 1790, then 3 acts on 31 October 1790).

Revived under the title Euphrosine et Coradin on 22 August 1795 (5 Fructidor, Year III).


In 1789, Méhul presented his opera Alonso et Cora to the Académie Royale de Musique, but long production delays caused him to turn instead to the Opéra-Comique. The first fruit of a productive collaboration with the librettist François-Benoît Hoffman, Euphrosine ou Le Tyran corrigé thrust Méhul to the forefront of French opera and launched his brilliant career. Premiered at the Salle Favart on 4 September 1790, the work portrays a young woman, Euphrosine, who is determined to reform Coradin, a misogynistic feudal tyrant. During this “sentimental  education”, she has to contend with the jealousy of Coradin’s former mistress, the Countess of Arles. The duet “Gardez-vous de la jalousie” (Act II), in which the Countess claims to be warning Coradin while causing him to doubt Euphrosine’s constancy, was a huge success and was even quoted in contemporary works—Miller’s ballet Psyché (1790) and Vandenbroeck’s melodrama Le Génie Asouf (1795). The intense pathos of this duet, depicting feelings of jealousy in music, is brought across as much by the treatment of the voices and the exaggerated rhythms, as by the orchestral writing. Its dramatic power was praised by many musicians, including Grétry and Berlioz, who regarded it as “the most tremendous example of what the art of music combined with dramatic action can achieve to express passion. This remarkable piece is the worthy paraphrase of Iago’s speech […] in Shakespeare’s Othello” (Berlioz, Les Soirées de l’orchestre). With this scene, truly written in the spirit of Gluckian lyric tragedy, Méhul furthered the genre of opéra comique by introducing a musical, and tragic, depiction of human passions. 

    Image - 1
  • Euphrosine (Hoffman / Méhul)
  • Persons - 2
  • HOFFMAN, François-Benoît (1760-1828)
  • MÉHUL, Étienne-Nicolas (1763-1817)
  • Theme - 1
  • Opéra – L’opéra-comique