Henry VIII (opera)
|Opera by Camille Saint-Saëns|
Setting for the premiere, evoking Westminster Hall
|Based on||El cisma en Inglaterra
by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
|Premiere||5 March 1883
Académie Nationale de Musique, Paris
Henry VIII is an opera in four acts by Camille Saint-Saëns, from a libretto by Léonce Détroyat and Armand Silvestre, based on El cisma en Inglaterra (The schism in England) by Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
In an effort to evoke the historical context, Saint-Saëns researched English music from the period and incorporated several English, Scottish, and Irish folk melodies into his score, as well as an air by William Byrd, contained in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.
Henry VIII received its first performance on 5 March 1883 at the Académie Nationale de Musique, with costumes designed by Eugène Lacoste and settings by Antoine Lavastre and Eugène Louis Carpezat (Act I), Jean-Baptiste Lavastre (Act II and Act IV, scene 2), and Auguste-Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon (Act III and Act IV, scene 1). A new production directed by Paul Stuart premiered on 18 June 1909, with costumes by Charles Bianchini and sets by Carpezat, Marcel Jambon and Alexandre Bailly. Henry VIII remained in the repertoire of the Opéra until 1919. It was also seen at the Royal Opera House, London in 1889 with Maurice Renaud in the title role, Lina Pacary as Catherine d'Aragon, and Meyriane Héglon as Anne Boleyn. It was revived in 1991 at the Théatre Impérial de Compiègne in a production by Pierre Jourdan, with Philippe Rouillon as Henry VIII, Michèle Command as Catherine of Aragon and Lucile Vignon as Anne Boleyn. The production was made into a film.
Performances were given at the Liceu in Barcelona in 2002 where it was staged once again by Pierre Jourdan with Montserrat Caballé as Catherine, Simon Estes as Henry and Nomeda Kazlaus as Anne Boleyn, with José Collado conducting.
A concert performance was given at the Bard College Music Festival, Annandale-on-Hudson, on 20 August 2012, with Ellie Dehn as Catherine, Jason Howard as Henry, and Jennifer Holloway as Anne Boleyn. Leon Botstein conducted.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 5 March 1883|
|Henry VIII||baritone||Jean Lassalle|
|Catherine d'Aragon||soprano||Gabrielle Krauss|
|Anne Boleyn||mezzo-soprano||Alphonsine Richard|
|Lady Clarence||soprano||Mlle Nastorg|
|Don Gomez de Feria||tenor||Étienne Dereims|
|Cardinal Campeggio, legatus of the pope||bass||Auguste Boudouresque|
|Le duc de Norfolk||bass||Eugène Lorrain|
|Le comte de Surrey||tenor||Étienne Sapin|
|Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury||bass||M. Gaspard|
|Garter King of Arms||tenor||M. Malvaut|
|Un huissier||bass||M. Boutens|
- Philippe Rouillon, baritone (Henry); Michèle Command, soprano (Catherine of Aragon); Lucile Vignon, mezzo-soprano (Anne Boleyn); Alain Gabriel, tenor (Don Gomez), Lucile Vignon, conducted by Alain Guingal. Le Chant Du Monde. 1991 (also available as a DVD, Kultur Films)
- (French) Piotr Kaminski, 1001 opéras, Fayard, 2003, p. 1383
- Huebner, Steven (2006). French Opera at the Fin de Siècle: Henry VIII. Oxford Univ. Press, US. pp. 213–230. ISBN 978-0-19-518954-4.
- Upton, George P.; Borowski, Felix (1928). The Standard Opera Guide. New York: Blue Ribbon Books. pp. 320–323.