Guercœur

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Guercœur is an opera in three acts by the French composer Albéric Magnard to his own libretto. It was first performed posthumously at the Paris Opéra on 24 April 1931, though it had mostly been written between 1897 and 1901. The composer died trying to save his house from the invading Germans at the beginning of World War I in 1914 and the score was partially destroyed in the resulting fire. Magnard's friend Guy Ropartz reconstructed the missing sections so the opera could be staged. The music shows the strong influence of Wagner.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast
Conductor: François Ruhlmann
Guercœur baritone Arthur Endrèze
Heurtal tenor Victor Forti
Giselle soprano Marisa Ferrer
La Verité soprano Yvonne Gall

Synopsis[edit]

Guercœur, the wise ruler of a medieval city-state, has died in battle defending his people. In Heaven, he begs to be allowed to return to earth to save his city. His wish is granted but he finds his best friend, Heurtal, has become the lover of his widow, Giselle, and is planning to rule as a despot after marrying her. Shocked, Guercœur attempts to convince the people to reject corruption, but they become increasingly angry with him, and in the end he is murdered. Disillusioned with humanity, he returns to heaven, where he is greeted by the Goddess of Truth. She assures him that despite human weaknesses, a great age of humanity lies ahead.

Recordings[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Discs (1993)
  • Viking Opera Guide ed. Holden (Viking, 1993)
  • Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Guercœur, 24 April 1931". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia ‹See Tfd›(in Italian).