Le Cid (opera)

Last updated
Le Cid
Opera by Jules Massenet
Georges Clairin - Poster from the premiere of Jules Massenet's Le Cid.jpg
Original poster from 1885
Librettist
LanguageFrench
Based on Le Cid
by Pierre Corneille
Premiere
30 November 1885 (1885-11-30)

Le Cid is an opera in four acts and ten tableaux by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet, Édouard Blau and Adolphe d'Ennery. It is based on the play of the same name by Pierre Corneille. [1]

Contents

It was first performed by a star-studded cast at the Paris Opéra on 30 November 1885 in the presence of President Grévy, with Jean de Reszke as Rodrigue. The staging was directed by Pedro Gailhard, with costumes designed by Comte Lepic, and sets by Eugène Carpezat (act 1), Enrico Robecchi and his student Amable (act 2), Auguste Alfred Rubé, Philippe Chaperon and their students Marcel Jambon (act 3), and Jean-Baptiste Lavastre (act 4). The opera had been seen 150 times by 1919 but faded from the repertory and was not performed again in Paris until the 2015 revival at the Palais Garnier. While Le Cid is not in the standard operatic repertory, the ballet suite is a popular concert and recording piece which includes dances from different regions of Spain. It was specially created by Massenet for the prima ballerina Rosita Mauri. [2] An opera on the subject had been composed by Sacchini, Il Cid, for London in 1783, [3] and from 1890 to 1892 Debussy worked on, but did not complete, an opera Rodrigue et Chimène also based on Corneille.

Performance history

After the premiere, the Paris Opera continued to revive Le Cid until 1919, [4] reaching over 150 performances at the theatre by that date. [3] A new production was mounted at the Opéra in the 2014/15 season, conducted by Michel Plasson with Roberto Alagna in the title role. [5] This production was first seen in June 2011 at the Opéra de Marseille [6] in a production directed by Charles Roubaud, conducted by Jacques Lacombe, with Alagna singing Rodrigue. In March–April 2015 at the Paris Opera Alagna reprised the title role, alongside Sonia Ganassi and Annick Massis. [7]

Local premieres took place in Frankfurt, Antwerp, and Vienna in 1887, followed by Rome, New Orleans Geneva and Milan in the years following. [4] In New York, the premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1897 was revived in 1901 and 1902, and a cut concert performance on 8 March 1976 at Carnegie Hall with Plácido Domingo and Grace Bumbry was later issued as a commercial recording. [8]

In Saint-Etienne it was produced in 1979, then at the 1994 Massenet Festival under Patrick Fournillier with Michele Command and Chris Merritt. [4] Other modern productions include 1981 in San Francisco under Julius Rudel with Carol Neblett and William Lewis, 1984 and 1993 in Rouen, 1999 at Seville, and a 2001 production by the Washington Opera, starring Domingo, which was shown on PBS television, [9] and was seen in Zurich in January 2008. [10] In September 2015, Odyssey Opera performed Le Cid for the first time in Boston, a semi-staged version conducted by Gil Rose, with tenor Paul Groves in the title role. [11]

The opera had its UK premiere on 24 July 2018, performed by the Dorset Opera Festival at Bryanston, with Leonardo Capalbo in the title role, Lee Bisset as Chimène and Paul Gay as Don Diègue, conducted by Jeremy Carnall. [12]

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere cast, 30 November 1885
(Conductor: Ernest Altès)
Chimène soprano Fidès Devriès
Rodrigue tenor Jean de Reszke
Don Diègue bass Édouard de Reszke
Le Roi bass Léon Melchissédec
Le comte de Gormasbass Pol Plançon
L'InfantesopranoRosa Bosman
Saint Jacques baritone Lambert
L'envoyé maurebasse chantanteBalleroy
Don AriastenorGirard
Don AlonzobassSentein
Chorus: Noblemen, Ladies of the court, Bishops, Priests, Monks, Captains and Soldiers, People ; Dancers (for act 2 ballet).

Synopsis

Act 1

Tableau 1

In Burgos, a hall in the Gormas palace.

To the sound of fanfares outside the friends of the Comte de Gormas recount how the King is to make Rodrigue a knight, despite his young age. Gormas desires to be named the governor of the Infanta by the King. Gormas however approves the romantic attachment which his daughter Chimène has for Rodrigue. The Infanta has confessed to Chimène that she too loves Rodrigue, but as she is not allowed to love a mere knight Rodrigue could proceed to marry Chimène.

Tableau 2

A gallery in the royal palace leading to an entrance to Burgos cathedral

With bells sounding, the people give thanks for victory over the moors. The King now rewards Rodrigue by knighting him ("Ô noble lame étincelante"), and Rodrigue swears his faith to Saint Jacques de Compostelle. The King next names Don Diègue as governor of the Infanta, and this is seen as an insult by the Comte de Gormas and his friends. Don Diègue holds out his hand and wishes the marriage of his son and Chimène, but the count insults, swipes and disarms him. Cursing his loss of strength and old age, Don Diègue demands that his son revenges his honour. Rodrigue bemoans his fate, and the loss of his happiness, when he learns that the challenger is the father of his beloved.

The death of Gormas, act 2, tableau 3 (set by Robecchi and Amable), from the coverage of the opera's premiere by L'Illustration Jules Massenet - Le Cid 2e Acte, 3e Tableau - L'Illustration.jpg
The death of Gormas, act 2, tableau 3 (set by Robecchi and Amable), from the coverage of the opera's première by L'Illustration

Act 2

Tableau 3

A street in Burgos at night.

Rodrigue wonders if he should allow himself to be killed by the count rather than kill him, to avoid the anger and hatred of Chimène, but he concludes that he owes more to his father than his loved one and that he must go ahead and seek vengeance. In the following duel he swiftly kills the count. A crowd and a jubilant Don Diègue arrive on the scene, but when Chimène rushes out to find out about the murderer of her father she faints when she discovers his identity.

Act 2, tableau 4: The Envoy of Boabdil of the Moors declares war with the King of Castille. Set by Robecchi and Amable. Jules Massenet - Le Cid 2e Acte, 4e Tableau - L'Illustration.jpg
Act 2, tableau 4: The Envoy of Boabdil of the Moors declares war with the King of Castille. Set by Robecchi and Amable.

Tableau 4

The main square of Burgos. It is a lively spring day

The Infanta distributes alms and dancing follows: a Castillane, Andalouse, Aragonaise, Aubade, Catalane, Madrilène, Navarraise (ballet). Chimène demands justice to the King against Rodrigue and will hear of no pity or pardon for him. Don Diègue says that his son has only revenged him and that he should bear the accusation. The Infante feels her lost hopes revive. A moorish envoy brings a declaration of war to the King from his leader Boabdil, who is on the march. The King reproaches Rodrigue for having lost Spain's most courageous captain and Don Diègue calls for his son to take the place of the dead count in battle. Rodrigue asks the King for a day of grace – the time to return victorious. The King consents and the people acclaim Rodrigue while Chimène in despair continues to demand justice.

Act 3

Tableau 5

Chimène's chamber, night.

Chimène gives way to grief ("Pleurez! pleurez mes yeux...") at her dilemma. Rodrigue appears to say farewell but sad at having to go into battle with her hate behind him. As he departs, she calls on him to cover himself in glory to diminish his sins and to forget the past. She flees, ashamed to have allowed some hope of pardon for her father's murderer.

Tableau 6

Act 3, tableau 6: The ballet at Le Cid's camp. Set by Rube, Chaperon and Jambon. Jules Massenet - Le Cid 3e Acte, 6e Tableau - L'Illustration.jpg
Act 3, tableau 6: The ballet at Le Cid's camp. Set by Rubé, Chaperon and Jambon.

Rodrigue's camp.

At evening the officers and soldiers from Navarre and Castille drink and sing. Prisoners and Moorish musicians wait on one side. After a drinking song and a Moorish rhapsody some of the soldiers want to leave, confronted by such a large army of moors.

Tableau 7

Rodrigue's tent.

Rodrigue submits a fervent prayer ("Ô souverain, ô juge, ô père") which is answered by the image of Saint Jacques announcing that he will be victorious. In thunder and lightning the tent disappears.

Tableau 8

The camp ~ the battle.

At dawn soldiers run in groups, fanfares sound and all rush out, promised victory by Rodrigue.

Act 4

Tableau 9

A room in the royal palace in Grenada.

Deserting soldiers tell Don Diègue that Rodrigue was killed in battle but he throws them out. He is more content with the noble and courageous end than the death of his son. The Infanta and Chimène learn the news in despair and all three mourn Rodrigue. Chimène swears to them that she still loved him and that he believed himself loved of her as he died. Fanfares in the distance and cheers in the city warn her that Rodrigue still lives.

Tableau 10

Royal courtyard in Grenada.

The crowd acclaim Rodrigue, named Le Cid by the chiefs of the vanquished moors. The King offers him rewards, but Rodrigue replies that only Chimène can name his fate. As she cannot pardon him nor demand his punishment, he will himself pass justice, and he draws his sword to kill himself. Chimène hesitates and pardons him through her declaration of love and the opera ends in general rejoicing.

Noted arias

Related Research Articles

El Cid Prince of Valencia

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain and came to be known by the Moors as El Cid, and by the Christians as El Campeador. He was born in Vivar del Cid, a village near the city of Burgos. As the head of his loyal knights, he came to dominate the Levante of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 11th century. He reclaimed the city of Valencia from Moorish control for a brief period during the Reconquista, creating the independent Señorío de Valencia from 17 June 1094 until his death in 1099; his wife, Jimena Díaz, inherited the city and maintained it until 1102 when it was reconquered by the Moors.

<i>Don Carlos</i>

Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French-language libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, based on the dramatic play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien by Friedrich Schiller. In addition, it has been noted by David Kimball that the Forest of Fontainebleau scene and auto-da-fé were the most substantial of several incidents borrowed from a contemporary play on Philip II by Eugène Cormon". The opera is most often performed in Italian translation, usually under the title Don Carlo.

Roberto Alagna French tenor

Roberto Alagna is a French operatic tenor. He obtained French citizenship in 1981, while also retaining his previous Italian citizenship.

<i>Werther</i> 1892 opera by Jules Massenet

Werther is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann. It is loosely based on the German epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which was based both on fact and on Goethe's own early life. Earlier examples of operas using the story were made by Kreutzer (1792) and Pucitta (1802).

Jules Massenet French composer

Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet was a French composer of the Romantic era best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty. The two most frequently staged are Manon (1884) and Werther (1892). He also composed oratorios, ballets, orchestral works, incidental music, piano pieces, songs and other music.

<i>Le Cid</i>

Le Cid is a five-act French tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille, first performed in December 1636 at the Théâtre du Marais in Paris and published the same year. It is based on Guillén de Castro's play Las Mocedades del Cid. Castro's play in turn is based on the legend of El Cid.

<i>Don Quichotte</i>

Don Quichotte is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Henri Caïn. It was first performed on 19 February 1910 at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

<i>Le roi de Lahore</i>

Le roi de Lahore is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet. It was first performed at the Palais Garnier in Paris on 27 April 1877 in costumes designed by Eugène Lacoste and settings designed by Jean Émile Daran, Auguste Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon, Louis Chéret, Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, Antoine Lavastre and Eugène Louis Carpezat.

<i>Hérodiade</i> Opera by Jules Massenet

Hérodiade is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Paul Milliet and Henri Grémont, based on the novella Hérodias (1877) by Gustave Flaubert. It was first performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels on 19 December 1881.

<i>Don César de Bazan</i>

Don César de Bazan is an opéra comique in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Adolphe d'Ennery, Philippe-François Pinel "Dumanoir" and Jules Chantepie, based on the play by d'Ennery and Dumanoir, which was first performed at Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in 1844. This in turn drew on the popular character of Don César de Bazan, in the 1838 drama Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, though it has little connection with the plot of Hugo's drama. Massenet's opera was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 30 November 1872.

<i>Le Mage</i> Opera by Jules Massenet

Le Mage is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Jean Richepin. It was first performed at the Paris Opéra in Paris on 16 March 1891 in costumes by Charles Bianchini and sets by Auguste Alfred Rubé, Philippe Chaperon and Marcel Jambon, Amable and Eugène Gardy, Alfred Lemeunier, and Jean-Baptiste Lavastre and Eugène Carpezat.

<i>Le jongleur de Notre-Dame</i>

Le jongleur de Notre-Dame is a three-act opera by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Maurice Léna. It was first performed at the Opéra Garnier in Monte Carlo on 18 February 1902. It is one of five operas Massenet set in the Middle Ages, the others being Le Cid (1885), Esclarmonde (1889), Grisélidis (1901), and Panurge (1913).

<i>Panurge</i> (opera) Opera by Jules Massenet

Panurge is an opera in three acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Georges Spitzmuller and Maurice Boukay, after Pantagruel by Rabelais. It was first performed at the Théâtre de la Gaîté in Paris on 25 April 1913, nearly a year after Massenet's death, one of three operas by the composer to have premiered posthumously, the others being Cléopâtre (1914) and Amadis (1922).

The Opera Orchestra of New York specializes in the performance of opera in concert form. It is particularly known for its work in presenting rarely performed repertory. Among the numerous American premieres it has presented are Puccini’s Edgar, Boito’s Nerone, and Smetana’s Libuše.

Lucienne Bréval

Lucienne Bréval was a Swiss dramatic soprano who had a major international opera career from 1892 to 1918. Although she appeared throughout Europe and in the United States, Bréval spent most of her career performing with the Paris Opera where she became a greatly admired interpreter of French grand opera roles and Wagner heroines. She also specialized in the works of Gluck and Rameau, becoming particularly associated with the title roles in Gluck’s Armide and Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie. A favorite of the composers of her day, such as Massenet and Dukas, Bréval sang in numerous world premières during her career.

<i>Rodrigue et Chimène</i>

Rodrigue et Chimène is an unfinished opera in three acts by Claude Debussy. The French libretto, by Catulle Mendès, is based on the plays Las Mocedades del Cid by Guillén de Castro y Bellvís and Corneille's Le Cid which deal with the legend of El Cid. It was first staged in a version completed by Edison Denisov in Lyon on 14 May 1993.

Ada Adini American opera singer 1855-1924

Ada Adini was an American operatic soprano who had an active international career from 1876 up into the first decade of the 20th century. She possessed a large, expressive voice which enabled her to sing a broad range of roles that extended from the coloratura soprano repertoire to dramatic soprano parts. She made five recordings with Fonotipia Records in Paris in 1905.

Nathalie Manfrino is a French soprano. For UNIVERSAL- DECCA, She recorded her first disc, "French Heroines" with The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, DECCA label, which received the Golden Orpheus and the "Georg Solti prize". Her second solo recording album, Méditations, is a tribute to Jules Massenet, with the Monte-Carlo philharmonic orchestra conducted by Michel Plasson.

<i>Chimène</i>

Chimène, ou Le Cid is a French-language opera by Antonio Sacchini. It takes the form of a tragédie (lyrique) in three acts, with a libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard. It was first staged at Fontainebleau on 16 November 1783. The subject of the work was inspired by the tragicomedy Le Cid by Pierre Corneille, and indirectly by the medieval Spanish epic Cantar de Mio Cid and a play by Guillén de Castro y Bellvís, Las Mocedades del Cid. Comedia Comedia primera and segunda (1605–1615).

Béatrice Uria Monzon is a French mezzo-soprano.

References

Notes

  1. Milnes 1998, p. 862
  2. The Standard Opera and Concert Guide Part Two, George P. Upton and Felix Borowski (Kessinger Reprint, 2005) p.332
  3. 1 2 Art Lyrique Francais – Le Cid page accessed 14 August 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Bégaud, Josée. "L'œuvre à l'affiche". In: L'Avant-scène opéra  [ fr ] 161 – Panurge ~ Le Cid. Paris 1994, pp. 130–133.
  5. Opéra de Paris website Archived 2014-12-05 at the Wayback Machine , accessed 25 September 2014.
  6. Opera de Marseille website
  7. Blanmont, Nicolas. Report from Paris, France. Opera , July 2015, Vol. 66, No. 7, p. 858.
  8. Gillis, Patrick. "Points de repère". In: L'Avant-scène opéra 161 – Panurge ~ Le Cid. Paris 1994, pp. 3–9.
  9. The official authorized Website of Plácido Domingo | Repertoire/ Roles Archived 2008-05-21 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Koegler H. "Report from Zurich", Opera (London), April 2008, pp. 428–9.
  11. "A local premiere for Massenet's Le Cid". The Boston Globe . Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  12. Hall, George. Dorset Opera Festival at Bryanston School, Blandford Forum. Opera , October 2018, Vol.69 No.10, p1277-79.

Sources