L'Aiglon (opera)

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L'Aiglon is an operetta (drame musical) in five acts composed by Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert. (Honegger composed Acts II, III, and IV, with Ibert composing Acts I and V). The libretto by Henri Cain was based on Edmond Rostand's 1900 play L'Aiglon ("The Eaglet") about the life of Napoleon II of France.

It premiered at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on 11 March 1937. The principal roles were sung by Fanny Heldy and Vanni Marcoux.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 11 March 1937
(Conductor: F. Wolfes)
L'Aiglon/The Duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon soprano Fanny Heldy
Séraphin Flambeau, his footman bass Vanni Marcoux
The French attaché tenor Victor Pujol
Countess Camerata contralto Germaine Chellet
Le Chevalier de Prokesch-Osten bass Luigi Cérésole
Maréchal Marmont baritone Robert Marvini
Prince Metternich bass-baritone Arthur Endréze
Marie-Louise mezzo-soprano Mlle. Gadsden
Comte de Sedlinsky tenor Barone
Frédéric de Gentz tenor Fraikin
Thérèse de Lorget soprano Marie Branèze
Fanny Elssler mezzo-soprano Schirman


At the première in Monte Carlo in 1937: Fanny Heldy (seated), Arthur Honegger (3rd from left), Jacques Ibert (2nd from right), Vanni Marcoux (1st from right)

The Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon II), with his faithful footman Séraphin Flambeau, escapes from Austrian imprisonment, and visits the old site of the Battle of Wagram, before eventually dying of tuberculosis.