Guido et Ginevra

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Guido et Ginevra, ou La Peste de Florence (French: Guido and Ginevra, or the Plague at Florence) is a grand opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy to a libretto by Eugène Scribe. It was premiered on 5 March 1838 by the Paris Opera at the Salle Le Peletier.

Performance history[edit]

Guido et Ginevra was only a moderate success for Halévy, not nearly as applauded as his previous grand opera La Juive (1835) or as La reine de Chypre which followed it (1841). However, after its premiere it was soon played in all the major European centres. When the opera was revived in Paris in 1840 it was cut to four acts. It was translated into Italian and performed in three acts by the Théâtre-Italien at the Salle Ventadour beginning on 17 February 1870.[1] It was performed in German in Mannheim beginning on 3 April 1879, and Hamburg, on 20 March 1882.[2] No recent productions are known.

The opera contains touches of the composer's innovative orchestration, with a melophone in Act II, and with Ginevra's tomb scene set to dark woodwind and brass instruments using diminished harmonies.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast,[3] 5 March 1838
(Conductor: )
Cosme de Médicis bass Nicolas Levasseur
Manfredi, Duke of Ferrara bass Nicolas-Prosper Dérivis
Guido, a young sculptor tenor Gilbert Duprez
Forte-Braccio, condottiere tenor Jean-Étienne-Auguste Massol
Lorenzo, steward to Médicis bass Molinier
Téobaldo, sacristan of Florence Cathedral bass Ferdinand Prévost
Ginevra, daughter of Médicis soprano Julie Aimée Dorus-Gras
Ricciarda, a singer mezzo-soprano Rosine Stoltz
Léonore, chambermaid of Ginevra soprano Mme Morin
Antonietta, young peasant soprano Maria Flécheux

Synopsis[edit]

Scribe drew the elements of his plot from the history of Florence by Louis-Charles Delécluze

Act 1[edit]

The Medici court

Ginevra is to be married to the Duke of Ferrara.

Act 2[edit]

During the ceremony, a poisoned veil she has been given causes her to faint away in a death-like trance; the sculptor Guido mourns her. It is assumed that she has the plague.

Act 3[edit]

The Medici vault

Buried in the Medici vault she awakes.

Act 4[edit]

Guido offers her shelter.

Act 5[edit]

The village of Camaldoli

Ginevra is reunited with her father, who agrees to her marriage with Guido. A procession of thanksgiving ends the opera.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column795; Chouquet 1873, p. 400; see also OCLC 459206797.
  2. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column795.
  3. ^ www.amadeusonline.eu

Sources

  • Chouquet, Gustave (1873). Histoire de la musique dramatique en France (in French), pp. 309–425. Paris: Didot. View at Google Books.
  • Hallman, Diana (2003). "The Grand Operas of Fromental Halévy", in The Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera, ed. David Charlton.
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1978). Annals of Opera 1597–1940 (third edition, revised). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-87471-851-5.
  • Macdonald, Hugh (2001). Guido et Ginevra, article in Grove Music Online.