Les Horaces

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Les Horaces (The Horatii) is an operatic tragédie lyrique by Antonio Salieri. The text was by Nicolas-François Guillard after Pierre Corneille's Horace.

The opera was commissioned by the Paris Opera after the success of Salieri's Les Danaïdes with the company.

Performance history[edit]

According to different sources, Les Horaces was first performed either at Fontainebleau on 2 November 1786,[1] or at Versailles on 2 December 1786.[2] According to Spire Pitou, however, both dates seem to be errors and "the correct date of the world première of Salieri's Les Horaces is 7 December 1786 at the Royal Academy of Music ...".[3] Whatever the case, it was not well received.[4] The failure of the opera to some extent has been blamed on the lackluster performances of the original performers.[5]


Cast Voice type Premiere, December 2, 1786[6]
(Conductor: - )
Old Horace bass-baritone Auguste-Athanase (Augustin) Chéron
Young Horace tenor/baritone François Lays
Curiace tenor Étienne Lainez
Camille soprano Antoinette Cécile de Saint-Huberty
A woman of Camille's retinue soprano Adelaïde Gavaudan "cadette"[7]
The High Priest bass-baritone Martin-Joseph Adrien
Valère baritone Claude-Armand Chardin (stage name, "Chardini")
A Roman bass-baritone M. Moreau
An Alban bass-baritone M. Châteaufort
An oracle bass-baritone M. Moreau


  1. ^ the libretto bears such a notation (Pitou, "Les Horaces" (Salieri), p. 277)
  2. ^ as reported by Théodore Lajarte in his Bibliothèque musicale du théâtre de l'Opéra (online at Internet Archive), Paris, 1876, I, p. 353
  3. ^ Pitou, "Les Horaces" (Salieri), pp. 277-78
  4. ^ Classy Classical: Antonio Salieri: Truth or Fiction
  5. ^ Antonio Salieri. "Yet -retorts Pitou- the best voices of the company had been cast in this failure..." ("Les Horaces" (Salieri), p. 279
  6. ^ According to the original libretto.
  7. ^ According to Spire Pitou (articles: "Gavaudan aînée, Anne-Marie Jeanne", p. 240, and "Les Horaces" (Salieri), p. 278), the role was performed by Adelaïde's elder sister, Anne-Marie Jeanne Gavaudan, aînée.


  • Original libretto: Les Horaces, Tragédie-Lyrique, en trois actes, mêlée d'intermedes. Représentée devant Leurs Majestés à Fontainebleu, le 2 Novembre 1786, Paris, Ballard, 1786 (a copy online at Gallica - Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
  • Pitou, Spire, The Paris Opéra. An Encyclopedia of Operas, Ballets, Composers, and Performers – Rococo and Romantic, 1715-1815, Greenwood Press, Westport/London, 1985 (ISBN 0-313-24394-8)
  • Horaces, Les by John A Rice, in 'The New Grove Dictionary of Opera', ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7