Echo et Narcisse

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Echo et Narcisse (Echo and Narcissus) was the last original opera, specifically a drame lyrique, written by Christoph Willibald Gluck, his sixth for the French stage. The libretto was written by Louis-Théodore de Tschudi.

Performance history[edit]

Echo et Narcisse was first performed on 24 September 1779 by the Paris Opéra in the second Salle du Palais-Royal. It was a failure, discontinued after only 12 performances. Gluck decided to go back to Vienna and never returned to Paris. He revised the work for 8 August 1780, but this version only enjoyed nine performances.

A third version was presented to the public on 8 June 1781. This was better received. However, it was infrequently produced until René Jacobs revived it in 1987 at the Schwetzingen Festival. Jacobs used the revised version as the original one has not survived, except for the libretto.


The cover page of a 1779 edition of the opera's score
Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 24 September 1779
(Conductor: - )
Echo, a nymph, ruler of the woods and waters soprano Mlle Beaumesnil (born Henriette Adélaïde de Villars)
Aglaé, a nymph, friend of Echo soprano Adelaïde Gavaudan 'cadette'
Eglé, a nymph, friend of Echo soprano Anne-Marie-Jeanne Gavaudan, 'L'aînée'
Amour (Cupid) soprano Gertrude Girardin
Narcisse, a hunter, son of Cephisus tenor Étienne Lainez
Cynire, friend of Narcisse haute-contre Joseph Legros
Sylphie, a nymph soprano
Thanais, a nymph soprano
Sylphs, Zephyrs and attendants and followers of Amour, Echo and Narcisse.
Ballet[1] - ballerinas: Marie-Madeleine Guimard, Anne Heinel, Marie Allard, Peslin; male dancers: Gaetano Vestris, Auguste Vestris, Maximilien Gardel, Jean D'Auberval


The nymph Echo is loved by Narcisse, but also desired by Apollo. Apollo puts a spell on Narcisse so he falls in love with his own reflection, but Cupid is eventually successful in securing a happy ending by re-uniting Echo and Narcisse.



  1. ^ Lajarte, 1878, p. 312


External links[edit]