Julien, ou La vie du poète (Julien, or The Poet’s Life) is a poème lyrique or opera by composer Gustave Charpentier. The work is devised in a prologue and four acts and uses a French libretto by the composer. Julien is a sequel to Charpentier's Louise (1900) and describes the artistic aspirations of Louise’s suitor Julien. The opera premiered in Paris at the Opéra-Comique on 4 June 1913.
Like Louise, Julien's plot is somewhat autobiographical and requires many characters and chorus roles, with the main female lead portraying four smaller characters in addition to the role of Louise. The opera integrates elements of an earlier piece, La Vie du Poète, a symphony-drama of 1888–1889. The chorus consists largely of ‘filles du rêve’ (girls of the dream), fairies, and chimeras as well as various men's roles, mainly different kinds of working class men. Charpentier described how, except for the prologue, "Louise and the various characters who surround Julien are not so much real people as an exteriorized realization of their inner souls". The opera was not well received and apart from two productions in 1914, one of which was at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City with Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso in the main roles, it has not been revived. The work did, however, gain the admiration of Gabriel Fauré who admired its expressionist qualities.
- Place: Initially in Rome; then several others
Enthousiasme ("Filled with enthusiasm")
Julien, as a Prix de Rome winner, is studying in Rome at the Villa Medici. This resembles the life of Charpentier as he too was a Prix de Rome winner. However, after this point, the opera moves from the real world into the imagination until the final tableau, set in Montmartre, returns the plot to reality.
Au pays du rêve ("In dreamland")
It contains three settings: the Holy Mountain, followed by a setting in the Accursed Valley, and lastly the Temple of Beauty.
This takes place in the Slovakian countryside and follows Julien as he experiences doubts in creating his artwork.
This is located in Brittany's wild countryside.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast,
4 June 1913
(Conductor: Albert Wolff)
|Louise/Beauty/homeless woman/young girl/old woman||soprano||Marguerite Carré|
|Bell ringer||tenor||Maurice Cazeneuve|
|Student||bass||Éloi de Roqueblave|
|Second grisette||mezzo-soprano||Marguerite Julliot|
|Voice from the abyss/officer||tenor||Eugène de Creus|
|First comrade/Another voice from the abyss/stone breaker/||bass||Ernest Dupré|
|Second comrade/logger/bohemian||tenor||Maurice Capitaine|
|First café waiter||baritone||Corbière|
|Second café waiter||baritone||Pierre Deloger|
|First dream ('Chimère')||soprano||Madeleine Ménard|
|Second dream||soprano||Le Fontenay|
|Third dream||mezzo-soprano||Germaine Gallot|
|Fourth dream/country-woman||mezzo-soprano||Germaine Philippot|
|Fifth dream||mezzo-soprano||Cécilie Thévenet|
|First girl of the dream||soprano||Marie Tissier|
|Second girl of the dream||soprano||Marie-Louise Arné|
|Third girl of the dream||soprano||Germaine Carrière|
|Fourth girl of the dream||soprano||Jeanne Calas|
|Fifth girl of the dream||soprano||Marguerite Villette|
|Sixth girl of the dream||soprano||Marini|