Alexandre bis

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Alexandre bis (Alexander Twice in English; Dvakrát Alexandr in Czech) is a surrealist comic opera in one act by Bohuslav Martinů, (H. 255), composed in 1937 to an original libretto written in French by André Wurmser.

The opera was intended by Martinů, who was then living in Paris, for performance at the Paris World Exhibition of 1937. However, various delays (including the intervening World War II) prevented its performance during the composer's lifetime.

The opera's first performance was given at the Opera House, Mannheim, on 18 February 1964, when it was conducted by Georg Calder. Shortly afterwards it was given its first performance in Martinů's native Czechoslovakia by the Brno Janáček Opera.

The opera is subtitled 'The Tragedy of a Man who Had His Beard Cut', and the surrealist libretto is set in Paris about 1900. Although Martinů had asked Wurmser for a libretto including a singing cat, he compromised on Wurmser's suggestion of a singing portrait, which acts as narrator to a tale of bourgeois infidelity.



A recording of the work was issued by Supraphon in 1994, conducted by František Jílek.