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Camille Saint-Saëns. Déjanire

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Déjanire couvertureCD-Book. Bru Zane Label. French opera n. 39.

‘It will be a strange score: people will either not like it at all, or will like it enormously’, prophesied Camille Saint-Saëns a few days before the premiere of Déjanire. The opera, first performed in Monte Carlo on 14 March 1911, is based on incidental music written in 1898 for the Béziers Arena. Fascinated by the subject, the composer soon wanted to give it a second, more ambitious life. He therefore conceived a mythological epic that inspired ‘powerfully evocative music’, according to Gabriel Fauré, who was struck by the impact of the choral writing. Yet the love drama that rends the heroine’s heart engenders wildly romantic duets and culminates in the public immolation of Hercules, set ablaze by the poisoned tunic offered to him by the fallen queen. This new Déjanire received high praise from the critics, who flocked to Monaco to see it. But the modernist path that French opera was taking at the time did not allow the work to survive the upheavals of the First World War. It would have been a shame to prolong this unjustified ostracism any longer.


Alexandre Dratwicki – Death and trasfiguration.

Vincent Giroud – The last opéra of Saint-Saëns : Déjanire.

Sabine Teulon Lardic – Reinventing tragedy 'à l'antique' : Déjanire at the Béziers Arena.

Gabriel Fauré – The evening of the première

What the papers said – Le Gaulois, 16 mars 1911 ; Le Monde artiste, 18 mars 1911 ; Les Annales politiques et littéraires, 19 mars 1911 ; Le Ménestrel, 25 novembre 1911 ; Le Monde artiste, 25 novembre 1911 ; Gil Blas, 20 novembre 1911.


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Composer, Organist, Pianist, Journalist


(1835 - 1921)