Le déserteur (The Deserter) is an opéra comique by the French composer Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny with a libretto by Michel-Jean Sedaine. It was first performed on 6 March 1769 by the Comédie-Italienne at their public theatre, the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris.
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged from the popular opéras comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent, which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections. Associated with the Paris theatre of the same name, opéra comique is not always comic or light in nature; Carmen, perhaps the most famous opéra comique, is a tragedy.
Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny was a French composer and a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts (1813).
A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.
The work was Monsigny's greatest musical success and is one of the key operas of late 18th century French opéra comique. It was popular in Germany and was performed in New York City in 1787. At the Paris Opéra-Comique it was performed over 300 times throughout the 19th century and up to 1911.The work mixes serious and comic elements, an example of the latter being the behaviour of the drunkard Montauciel. The theme of a last-minute reprieve from execution influenced later rescue opera.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart, is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public. Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.
Rescue opera was a genre of opera in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in France and Germany. Generally, rescue operas deal with the rescue of a main character from danger and end with a happy dramatic resolution in which lofty humanistic ideals triumph over base motives. Operas with this kind of subject matter became popular in France around the time of the French Revolution; a number of such operas dealt with the rescue of a political prisoner. Stylistically and thematically, rescue opera was an outgrowth of the French bourgeois opéra comique; musically, it began a new tradition that would influence German Romantic opera and French grand opera. The most famous rescue opera is Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio.
|Cast||Voice type||Premiere, 6 March 1769 |
|Alexis, a soldier||baritone||Joseph Caillot|
|Louise, his fiancée||soprano||Marie-Thérèse Laruette|
|Jean-Louis, Louise's father||tenor||Jean-Louis Laruette|
|Alexis's aunt||soprano||Mme Bérard|
|Bertrand, Alexis's cousin||haute-contre||Antoine Trial|
|Jeannette, a young peasant||soprano||Pétronille-Rosalie Beaupré|
|Montauciel, a dragoon||tenor||Clairval (Jean-Baptiste Guignard)|
|Courchemin, a brigadier||basse-taille (bass-baritone)||M Nainville|
|Three guards||haute-contre, tenor, tenor||Robert Desbrosses, M Lemoyne etc.|
|The jailer||spoken role|
Alexis is engaged to be married to Louise. She plays a trick on him by pretending she is going to marry Bertrand instead. Alexis falls for the deception and deserts the army in despair. He is captured and thrown into jail to await execution. Louise goes to see the king to beg for mercy for Alexis. She receives a letter of reprieve but faints from exhaustion before she is able to deliver it. All ends happily, however, when the king arrives in person and frees Alexis.
Louise is an opera in four acts by Gustave Charpentier to an original French libretto by the composer, with some contributions by Saint-Pol-Roux, a symbolist poet and inspiration of the surrealists.
Michel-Jean Sedaine was a French dramatist and librettist, especially noted for his librettos for opéras comiques, in which he took an important and influential role in the advancement of the genre from the period of Charles-Simon Favart to the beginning of the Revolution.
Le cadi dupé is an opéra comique in one act by Christoph Willibald Gluck. It has a French-language libretto by Pierre-René Lemonnier. It premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 8 December 1761. The libretto had already been set by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny in an opera that had premiered on 4 February of the same year at the Paris Foire St-Germain.
Guillaume Tell is an opéra comique, described as a drame mise en musique, in three acts by André Grétry, The French text was by Michel-Jean Sedaine based on a play of the same name by Antoine-Marin Lemierre.
Aucassin et Nicolette, ou Les moeurs du bon vieux tems is a French opéra comique by André Grétry. It takes the form of a comédie mise en musique in four acts. The work was first performed by the Comédie-Italienne at the Palace of Versailles on 30 December 1779 and subsequently at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris on 3 January 1780. It was also revived in 1782 in a version reduced to three acts.
Jean Elleviou was a French operatic tenor, one of the most celebrated French singers of his time.
Barnolt was the stage name of Paul Fleuret, a French operatic tenor associated with the Opéra-Comique in Paris.
Esther Chevalier was a French mezzo-soprano, active in Paris almost exclusively at the Opéra-Comique, appearing in several operatic premieres there.
Jean-Pierre Solié was a French cellist and operatic singer. He began as a tenor, but switched and became well known as a baritone. He sang most often at the Paris Opéra-Comique. He also became a prolific composer, writing primarily one-act comic operas.
Blaise le savetier is a 1759 one-act opéra comique, by the French composer François-André Danican Philidor. The libretto was by Michel-Jean Sedaine, after a story by Jean de La Fontaine entitled Conte d'une chose arrivée à Château-Thierry.
Les rendez-vous bourgeois is an opéra bouffon in one act by Nicolas Isouard to a French libretto by François Benoît Hoffmann, in the form of an opéra comique with spoken dialogue between the musical numbers. The work was first performed by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle Feydeau in Paris on 9 May 1807.
Lalla-Roukh is an opéra comique in two acts composed by Félicien David. The libretto by Michel Carré and Hippolyte Lucas was based on Thomas Moore's 1817 poem Lalla Rookh. It was first performed on 12 May 1862 by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle Favart in Paris. Set in Kashmir and Samarkand, the opera recounts the love story between Nourreddin, the King of Samarkand, and the Mughal princess Lalla-Roukh. Her name means "Tulip-cheeked", a frequent term of endearment in Persian poetry.
Marie-Thérèse Laruette was a French opera singer. A member of the troupe of the Comédie-Italienne, with which the Opéra-Comique was merged in 1762, she was Jean-Louis Laruette's wife (1731–1792), also a singer and a composer.
Clairval, real name Jean-Baptiste Guignard, was an 18th-century French operatic singer (tenor), comedian and librettist. He played with the same authority drama, comedy and opera, in a considerable number of roles. Among the most notable were:
Silvain is a one-act opéra-comique by André Grétry with a libretto by Jean-François Marmontel. It was first performed at the Comédie-Italienne on 19 February 1770 and was one of Grétry's biggest early successes. The plot concerns Silvain, who works as a poor farmer after being disinherited by his rich father for marrying a lower class woman. The pastoral theme and its celebration of rural life was common in opéra-comique of the time but Marmontel's libretto goes much further in advocating social equality and defending the rights of peasants against the encroachment of landowners.
Charles-Guillaume Alexandre was a French classical violinist and composer.
Nicole Wild was a French musicologist, chief curator at the Paris Opera Library and Museum, and a specialist in the history and iconography of opera in France in the 19th century.
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