Guillaume Tell (Grétry)

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Guillaume Tell (William 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.

Performance history[edit]

It was first performed at the Comédie-Italienne, Paris on 9 April 1791; it was revived at the Opéra-Comique in 1828 before disappearing from the repertoire as Rossini's opera on the same subject gained preference.

An Opéra royal de Wallonie production at the Theatre Royal in Liege in July 2013 featured Marc Laho in the title role and was conducted by Claudio Scimone.[1]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, April 9, 1791[2]
(Conductor: – )
Guesler baritone Chénard
Guillaume Tell tenor Philippe Cauvy, 'Philippe'
Madame Tell soprano Desforges
Marie, Guillaume Tell's daughter soprano Rose Renaud
Melktal, the son tenor Elvion
Melktal, the father baritone Narbonne
An officer Solier
An old man Favard
Surlemann Granger
A traveller Menier
Traveller's wife Lescaut
Traveller's child Chénard
Chorus: Soldiers, village boys and girls, people


The opera is set in 13th century Switzerland. Like Rossini's later work of the same name it portrays the heroic struggle of the liberty-aspiring Swiss patriots led by Tell against the evil and oppressive Austrians under Guesler, the local governor.