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Episode 1

1 hour
First broadcast:
Monday 30 November 2009

Opéra-Comique can be a kind of opera, an institution or a building. All three have strong links with each other and specific characteristics which were quite different to the other types of opera on offer. Donald Macleod and his guest Karen Henson, an Assistant Professor at Columbia University with a special interest in French opera unravel the intricacies of nineteenth century Parisian operatic life.

0ver the course of five programmes they'll be looking at some of the big names of the 19th century including Bizet, Massenet, and Boieldieu, who penned the runaway hit La dame blanche. Boieldieu's own life story could make him a character in one of his own opéra-comiques. The series draws to a close in classic opéra-comique territory with the tragic finale of Auber's version of Manon.

Music Played

5 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Georges Bizet

    Georges Bizet Carmen : L'amour est un oiseau rebelle

    Performer: Carmen - Teresa Berganza (soprano), The Ambrosian Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (conductor)


  • Image for Jules Massenet

    Jules Massenet Manon (Act 2) : Adieu, notre petite table …..Quelqu'un? Il ne faut pas de trouble fête

    Performer: Manon - Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Des Grieux - Robert Alagna (tenor), Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, Antonio Pappano (conductor)

    EMI CDC 55700006 2, 31 to 34

  • Image for François-Adrien Boïeldieu

    François-Adrien Boïeldieu La dame blanche (Act 1) : Sonnez, sonnez, sonnez cors et musettes; Ah! Quel plaisir que d'

    Performer: Dickson - Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Un paysan - Bernard Dehont (bass), Jenny - Annick Massis (soprano), Georges Brown - Rockwell Blake (tenor), Radio France Chorus, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Marc Minkowski (conductor)

    EMI 5 56355 2

  • Image for Daniel-François-Esprit Auber

    Daniel-François-Esprit Auber Le Domino Noir (Act 2) : Téméraire! Impie!....La bonne affaire!

    Performer: Gill Perez - Jules Bastin (bass), Lord Elfort - Gilles Cachemaille (bass baritone), Jacinthe - Martine Olmeda (mezzo soprano), Horace de Massarena - Bruce Ford (tenor), Angèle d’Olivarès - Sumi Jo (soprano), London Voices, English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge (conductor)

    DECCA 440 60 6462, 21 to 24

  • Image for Gaetano Donizetti

    Gaetano Donizetti La fille du regiment : A mes amis, quel jour de fête! ….Le camarade est amoureux!

    Performer: Tonio - Luciano Pavarotti (tenor), Le Caporal - Eric Garrett (bass), Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Richard Bonynge (conductor)

    DECCA 414 520-2, 12 + 13


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