L'éclair was premiered by the Paris Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse on 16 December 1835; Jacques Offenbach was a cellist in the orchestra. The opera was well received which placed Halévy in the unusual position of having two simultaneous successes on the Paris stage (the other being his grand opera masterpiece, La juive).
It was first performed in the United States on 16 February 1837 at the Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans. It remained popular in the 19th century (Emma Calvé sang in it in 1885) and has been revived in modern times. Some of its arias (including the tenor aria 'Quand de la nuit') have been recorded.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 16 December 1835
(Conductor: Henri Valentino)
|George||tenor||Joseph Antoine Charles Couderc|
|Madame Darbel||soprano||Félicité Pradher, née More|
- Place: Contemporary Boston
It recounts the amours of the Englishman George and the American Lyonel for two sisters, Henriette and the widow Mme. Darbel. These are complicated by the temporary blindness suffered by Lyonel when he is struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.
- Loewenberg 1978, column 774.
- Cast from Wolff 1953, p. 227; full names and spelling from Jowers and Cavanagh 2000, pp. 471–473, 493.
- Pougin 1880; Chouquet 1889.
- Chouquet, Gustave (1889). "Valentino, Henri Justin Armand Joseph", vol. 4, p. 214, in A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 4 volumes. London: Macmillan.
- Jordan, Ruth (1996), Fromental Halévy: His Life and Music, 1799–1862, pp. 76–78. London: Kahn & Averill. ISBN 978-1-871082-51-7.
- Jowers, Sidney Jackson; Cavanagh, John (2000), Theatrical Costume, Masks, Make-up and Wigs: A Bibliography and Iconography. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-24774-0.
- Loewenberg, Alfred (1978). Annals of Opera 1597–1940 (third edition, revised). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-87471-851-5.
- Pougin, Arthur (1880). "Valentino (Henri-Justin-Joseph)", pp. 597–598, in Biographie universelle des musiciens et Bibliographie générale de la musique par F.-J. Fétis. Supplément et complément, vol. 2. Paris: Firmin-Didot. View at Google Books.
- Wolff, Stéphane (1953), Un demi-siècle d'Opéra-Comique (1900-1950). Paris: André Bonne. OCLC 44733987, 2174128 and 78755097