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Opéra comique by Fromental Halévy
Fromental Halévy, L'Éclair score cover - Restoration.jpg
Title page of an early vocal score of the opera
Librettist Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges
Premiere 16 December 1835 (1835-12-16)
Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique-Bourse, Paris

L'éclair (The Lightning Flash) is an opéra comique in 3 acts by Fromental Halévy to a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

L'éclair was premiered by the Paris Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse on 16 December 1835; Jacques Offenbach was a cellist in the orchestra. The opera was well received which placed Halévy in the unusual position of having two simultaneous successes on the Paris stage (the other being his grand opera masterpiece, La Juive).

It was first performed in the United States on 16 February 1837 at the Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans.[1] It remained popular in the 19th century (Emma Calvé sang in it in 1885) and has been revived in modern times. Some of its arias (including the tenor aria 'Quand de la nuit') have been recorded.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 16 December 1835[2]
(Conductor: Henri Valentino[3])
George tenor Joseph-Antoine-Charles Couderc
Henriette soprano Amélie Miro-Camoin
Lyonel tenor Jean-Baptiste Chollet
Madame Darbel soprano Félicité Pradher, née More


Place: Contemporary Boston

It recounts the amours of the Englishman George and the American Lyonel for two sisters, Henriette and the widow Mme. Darbel. These are complicated by everyone being a bit indecisive and variable in their choice of preferred partner, and then further complicated by the temporary blindness suffered by Lyonel when he is struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.



  1. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column 774.
  2. ^ Cast from Wolff 1953, p. 227; full names and spelling from Jowers and Cavanagh 2000, pp. 471–473, 493.
  3. ^ Pougin 1880; Chouquet 1889.


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