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Daniel-François-Esprit Auber

Le Concert à la cour, ou La Débutante Opéra-comique en un acte Paroles de Eugène-Augustin Scribe et

by Robert Ignatius Letellier


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Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782–1871), the most amiable French composer of the 19th century, came to his abilities late in life. After a stalled commercial career, he studied with Cherubini. His first works were not a success, but La Bergère Châteleine, written at the age of 38, established him as an operatic composer. He then met the librettist Eugène Scribe (1791–1861), with whom he developed a long and illustrious working partnership that only ended with Scribe's death. Success followed success; works such as Le Maçon (1825) and La Muette de Portici (1828) brought Auber public fame and official recognition. In 1829 he was appointed a member of the Institut, in 1839 Director of Concerts at Court, in 1842 Director of the Conservatoire, in 1852 Musical Director of the Imperial Chapel, and in 1861 Grand Officer of the Légion d'Honneur. Auber's famous historical grand opera La Muette de Portici is a key work in operatic history, and helped to inspire the 1830 revolution in Brussels that led to the separation of Belgium from Holland. Auber died on 12 May 1871, at the advanced age of 89, and in the pitiful conditions of civil strife, after a long and painful illness which worsened during the Siege of Paris.Auber's overtures were once known everywhere, a staple of the light Classical repertoire. The influence of his gracious melodies and dance rhythms on piano and instrumental music, and on the genre of Romantic comic opera, especially in Germany, was overwhelming.Le Concert à la cour, ou La Débutante, an opéra-comique en un acte, with libretto by Eugène Scribe and Mélesville, was first performed at the Opéra-Comique on 3 June 1824. It enjoyed considerable success, with the number of performances in Paris totalling 246. The story is set in Stuttgart at the Court of Württemberg in the early-nineteenth century.Adèle, a young soprano, has come to the court at Stuttgart to obtain a position as a singer and finds her old friend Victor there as painter to the court. Despite the efforts of Kapellmeister Ascanio to reject her in an audition, the Prince arranges for her public debut. Ascanio tries to ruin it by conducting the accompanying orchestra in erratic tempos, but Victor accompanies her in another aria, which secures the approval of the Court.Le Concert à la cour presents a succinct one-act distillation of several aspects of the composer's art. The elegance and finesse of his style are amply in evidence, as are his delight in the overture form, the innate naturalness of his response to the couplets (the fundamental cell of the opéra-comique genre), as well as his deft handling of the larger concerted forms, like the trio and extended ensemble.The opera enjoyed considerable success across Europe, and even reached Rio de Janeiro in 1846. This edition reproduces the full orchestral score published in Paris by Frère Editeurs (1825).

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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  • Adobe PDF eBook 17 MB

Robert Ignatius Letellier (Editor)

Robert Ignatius Letellier was educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome and Jerusalem. He is a member of Trinity College, Cambridge, the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, and the Institute for Continuing Education at Madingley Hall, Cambr...

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