Digital resources for French Romantic music

Sérénade, La (Gay / Gail & García)




Opéra-comique in one act after the eponymous play by Jean-François Regnard, premiered at the Opéra-Comique (Salle Feydeau) on 2 April 1818.


True to her predilection for the era of Louis XIV, Sophie Gail joined forces with her near namesake, Sophie Gay, at the beginning of the Restoration period to adapt Jean-François Regnard’s La Sérénade (1694) for the opera. Apart from the sung words and the end of the play, the playwright’s text is reproduced identically. The plot concerns the marriage of Léonor, promised to a wealthy old man who turns out to be the father of the man she loves, Valère. However, Scapin, the latter’s servant, arranges for the son to obtain the hand of the beautiful woman. The work comprises an overture and eleven numbers, and seems to have been well received at the time of its premiere. The Gazette nationale recommended it to the “amateurs of the Mozart school”, and La Quotidienne praised its “varied, witty music”. The press of the time also mentioned possible borrowings from Manuel Garcia’s œuvre, suspicions that have been widely repeated since, as the opéra-comique is catalogued under the names of both musicians. The offending passages are the two numbers in Italian – a barcarolle and a bolero – but it is difficult to determine today whether or not this was a case of collaboration or even plagiarism. After three failures at the Opéra-Comique between December 1813 and September 1814, Sophie Gail finally found success with La Sérénade. Although not as dazzling as that Les Deux Jaloux, it nevertheless allowed the work to remain in the Opéra-Comique’s repertoire until 1823, for a total of seventy-six performances, and to be seen in several other French theatres during the Restoration.

    Persons - 4
  • GAIL, Sophie (1775-1819)
  • GARCÍA, Manuel (1775-1832)
  • GAY, Sophie (1776-1852)
  • REGNARD, Jean-François (1655-1709)
  • Themes - 4
  • Women composers
  • Institution – Opéra-Comique de Paris
  • Lieux de musique – Salle Feydeau
  • Opéra – L’opéra-comique
  • Press articles -  5
  • Gazette de France, 6 avril 1818 [La Sérénade de Gail et García]
  • Gazette nationale, 3 avril 1818 [La Sérénade de Gail et García]
  • Journal de Paris, 3 avril 1818 [La Sérénade de Gail et García]
  • Journal général de France, 3 avril 1818 [La Sérénade de Gail et García]
  • La Quotidienne, 3 avril 1818 [La Sérénade de Gail et García]