Le comte Ory

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Le comte Ory is an opéra written by Gioachino Rossini in 1828. Some of the music originates from his opera Il viaggio a Reims written three years earlier for the coronation of Charles X.[1] The French libretto was by Eugène Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson adapted from a comedy they had first written in 1817.

The work is ostensibly a comic opera in that the story is humorous, even farcical. However it was devised for the Opéra rather than for the Théatre de l'Opéra-Comique and there are structural inconsistencies with the contemporary opéra comique genre: whereas the latter consists of relatively short lyrical numbers and spoken dialogue, Le Comte Ory consists of "highly developed, even massive musical forms linked by accompanied recitative.[2] Although the opera contains some of Rossini's most colorful orchestral writing, the quaint, brief overture is oddly restrained and unassuming, ending with a whisper of pizzicato strings.

Performance history[edit]

It was first performed on 20 August 1828 at the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera. It was given in London at the King's Theatre in Italian on 28 February 1829, in New Orleans at the Théâtre d'Orléans on 16 December 1830 and in New York on 22 August 1831.[2]

The opera is performed infrequently and, between 2008 and 2013, it stands at number 165 with 19 performance runs as listed on Operabase.com.[3] That number was increased in April 2011 when the opera received its premiere performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The cast included Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato, singing in a new production directed by Bartlett Sher. In 2013, that production was revived with Diego Florez repeating his role, but with a different supporting cast.[4]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 20 August 1828
(Conductor: François Habeneck)[5]
Count Ory tenor Adolphe Nourrit
Tutor baritone Nicolas Levasseur
Isolier mezzo-soprano (en travesti) Constance Jawureck
Raimbaud baritone Henri-Bernard Dabadie
La Comtesse Adèle coloratura soprano Laure Cinti-Damoreau
Ragonde mezzo-soprano Augusta Mori
Alice soprano
1st Knight tenor Alexis Dupont
2nd Knight tenor Jean-Étienne-Auguste Massol
3rd Knight baritone Henri-Bernard Dabadie the younger
4th Knight baritone Ferdinand Prévôt
Chorus of Ory's men, ladies, crusaders, peasants

Synopsis[edit]

Time: Circa 1200, during the Crusades
Place: Touraine

Act 1[edit]

The countryside before the castle of Formoutiers

The lords and men of Formoutiers have been away on a crusade. Count Ory, who is in love with the countess Adèle, takes advantage of the situation. Hoping to win her hand, he disguises himself as a hermit aided by Raimbaud, his friend. Raimbaud announces that a wise hermit will visit the village to offer advice on matters of the heart. The castle is filled with women waiting for their husbands to return from the crusades. Ory's page Isolier is in love with the countess. Isolier confides his love to the "hermit" (Count Ory in disguise) and explains his plan to sneak into the castle disguised as a female pilgrim.

The countess consults the hermit about a cure for her melancholia. He proposes that she fall in love, which she promptly does, with Isolier. The "hermit" warns her not to trust the page. Everyone is shocked when the Tutor reveals Ory's identity. The countess receives a letter announcing her brother's return.

Act 2[edit]

A large room in the castle

The countess and her attendants admit a group of female pilgrims awaiting their husbands' return from the crusade. This time the pilgrims are actually Ory and his men in disguise. Ory's new disguise is as "Sister Colette." Missing something to drink with dinner, Raimbaud breaks into the castle wine cellar and returns with enough for everyone. They toast the countess's absent brother. Isolier recognizes Ory and reveals his identity to Adèle. Isolier also tells the waiting women that their husbands will be back by midnight.

After everyone is in bed, Ory enters countess Adèle's room. He woos her, not realizing in the dark that it is Isolier's hand he is holding. The men return from the crusade. Isolier reveals himself and helps Count Ory escape from the castle.

Recordings[edit]

Year Cast:
Le Comte Ory
La Comtesse Adèle
Isolier
Ragonde
Raimbaud
Le Gouverneur
Conductor,
Opera House and Orchestra
Label [6]
1956 Juan Oncina
Sari Barabas
Cora Canne-Meijer
Monica Sinclair
Michel Roux
Ian Wallace
Vittorio Gui
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Audio CD: Urania
Cat: WS 121109;
EMI (2 LPs)
Cat: RLS 744 (mono)
1959 Michel Sénéchal
Sari Barabas
Cora Canne-Meijer
Monica Sinclair
Robert Massard
Vittorio Gui
Orchestra and Chorus of RAI Torino
Audio CD: Arkadia
Cat: MP 458.2;
Living Stage
Cat: LS 4035130
1979 Rockwell Blake
Ashley Putnam
Faith Esham
Jane Shaulis
David Holloway
Imre Palló
New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus
(Live Recording of a performance at the New York City Opera, September)
Audio CD: Celestial Audio
Cat: CA 368
1988 John Aler
Sumi Jo
Diana Montague
Raquel Pierotti
Gino Quilico
Gilles Cachemaille
John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestre et choeur de l'Opéra de Lyon
Audio CD: Philips Classics
Cat: 422 406-2
1995 William Matteuzzi
Sumi Jo
Marie-Ange Todorovitch
Nadine Chery
Jean-Luc Chaignaud
Gregory Reinhart
Evelino Pidò
Orchestre Européen du Festival
Choeur du Festival, Aix-en-Provence
(TV recording from Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, July 1995)
Stage directed by Marcel Maréchal
TV live broadcast (France 2)
1997 Marc Laho
Annick Massis
Diana Montague
Jane Shaulis
Ludovic Tézier
Julien Robbins
Andrew Davis
London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
(Video recording of a performance at the Glyndebourne Festival, July)
stage directed by Jérôme Savary
DVD: NVC Arts
Cat: 0630 18646-2;
Kultur
Cat: D 2983
2002 Huw Rhys-Evans
Linda Gerrard
Luisa Islam-Ali-Zade
Luca Salsi
Gloria Montanari
Wojtek Gierlach
Brad Cohen
Czech Chamber Soloits, Brno
Czech Philharmonic Choir, Brno
(Live recording from Rossini in Wildbad, July)
Audio CD: Naxos
Cat: ? (2007)
2003 Juan Diego Flórez
Stefania Bonfadelli
Marie-Ange Todorovitch
Bruno Praticò
Marina De Liso
Alastair Miles
Jesús López Cobos
Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Coro da Camera di Praga (chorus master: Lubomír Mátl
(Live recording at Teatro Rossini, from Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, 10,13,16,19, 22 August,[1])
Stage directed, designed by Lluís Pasqual
CD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: ?
2011 Juan Diego Flórez
Diana Damrau
Joyce DiDonato
Stéphane Degout
Susanne Resmark
Michele Pertusi
Maurizio Benini
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Stage directed by Bartlett Sher
(HD Live from The Metropolitan Opera, 9 April 2011)
HD Theatrical release Met Opera website of past Met-in-HD performances
DVD: Virgin Classics,
Cat: ?

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Osborne, Charles 1994, p.18.
  2. ^ a b Gossett 2001, p. 793
  3. ^ Operabase.com list of top operas ranked by number of performances given during the 2008/09 to 2012/13 seasons. Retrieved 9 April 2011
  4. ^ Met Opera website
  5. ^ Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia, 20 Agosto, 1828, retrieved 18 November 2012
  6. ^ Recordings of Le Comte Ory on operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Cited sources

Sources