We’ve added a number of scores to our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti, including this set of late 18th and early 19th century operas:
Johann Christian Bach
Amadis des Gaules: tragedie lyrique de Quinault reduite en trois actes … Représentée pour la premiere fois au théatre de l’Académie royale de musique le quinze decembre 1779. Mise en musique par Jean Chretien Bach. Paris.: Sieber, [1780?].
Merritt Room Mus 627.3.604, RISM A/I, B 167
Johann Christian Bach’s only French tragédie lyrique was premiered by the Académie Royale de Musique on December 14, 1779, to virtually universal distaste. As Friedrich Melchior Grimm wrote in an issue of the Correspondance littéraire, a journal covering the cultural events of Paris,
The Amadis of Mr. Bach…appeared for the first time this Tuesday the 14th and has not fulfilled our expectations….while it’s always good enough, it’s never more, and one cannot hide that, in this work at least, the whole of the composition lacks heat and effect. The Gluckists found it had neither the originality of Gluck, nor his sublime élan; the Piccinists, that his song had neither the charm nor the variety of melody of Piccinni.1
Lodoïska : opéra en 3 actes / paroles de Filette Loraux ; musique de Cherubini ; partition de piano et chant. Paris : M. Schlesinger, [1837?].
Merritt Room Mus 637.1.627.5
The first French edition of the vocal score.
Lodoïska, which premiered at the Théâtre Feydeau on July 18, 1791, was a great success. Based on an episode from the popular novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas, Lodoïska is notable not only for its music but also for its spectacle: the third act ends as a troop of Tatar soldiers burn the castle in which Lodoïska has been imprisoned by the villain Dourlinski.
Medea : Oper in drei Akten / Musik von L. Cherubini. Vollständiger Klavierauszug. Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel [1855?].
Merritt Room Mus 637.1.643.3
A vocal score, in German and French, of the opéra comique Médée, premiered at the Théâtre Feydeau, 13 March 1797. While the opera was not especially popular in France, it was given multiple German-language revivals in Berlin, Vienna, and other cities. This edition, though it dates from around 1855, does not include the recitative settings of the dialogue composed by Franz Paul Lachner for the 1855 Frankfurt production. (It may be worth noting that its extended passages of dialogue, not its subject, cause Médée to be classified as an opéra comique.)
Anacréon, ou, L’amour fugitive : opéra ballet en deux actes / par le C.R. Mendouze ; mis en musique par Chérubini. A Paris : Au magasin de musique dirigé par MMrs. Chérubini, Méhul, Kreutzer, Rode N. Isouard et Boieldieu rue de la Loi, no. 268 vis-à-vis celle Ménars ; A Lyon : chez Garnier, Place de la Comédie no. 18, .
Merritt Room Mus 637.1.602, RISM A/I, CC 2028 I, 79
A full score of Cherubini’s first, and unsuccessful, opéra-ballet, premiered at the Opéra on October 4, 1803. While the opera itself is rarely performed (the first revival didn’t occur until 1971), the overture – borrowed from his cantata Amphion – remains a popular concert piece.
1. See Friedrich Melchior Grimm, Correspondance, littéraire, philosophique et critique par Grimm, Diderot, Raynal, Meister, etc…., (Paris, Garnier frères, 1880), 12:350.