Milton (opera)

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Milton is an opéra comique in one act by Gaspare Spontini. The French libretto, by Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy and Armand-Michel Dieulafoy, is based on the life of the English poet John Milton. Milton was first performed on 27 November 1804 by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle Feydeau in Paris . It was Spontini's first major success in France. The composer planned a reworked version for performances in Germany, under the title Das verlorene Paradies (Paradise Lost), but in the event it was never staged.[1]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast
Milton, an old man, a poet, blind baritone Jean-Pierre Solié
Emma, his daughter soprano Mme Gavaudan[2]
Miss Charlotte, his niece, an old maid[3] mezzo-soprano Mme Crétu[4]
Lord Arthur Davenant, going under the name Arthur tenor Jean-Baptiste-Sauveur Gavaudan (fr)
Godwin, a Quaker, a Justice of the Peace bass Simon Chénard
A jockey of Lord Arthur
A house servant
People in the livery of the king


The blind poet Milton and his daughter Emma, fearing political persecution by King Charles II, find refuge with the Quaker Godwin. Godwin's niece Charlotte is in love with Milton's secretary, "Arthur". In reality, Arthur is Sir William Davenant, who has adopted this disguise because he is in love with Emma. Milton dictates verses from his poem Paradise Lost to his daughter. In the end, Davenant reveals his true identity and brings Milton a letter from the king promising he will not be punished. Davenant and Emma are now free to marry.


  1. ^ Holden, p.1003
  2. ^ She was born Alexandrine-Marie-Agathe Ducamel (1781-1850) and became known as Mme Gavaudan after marrying tenor Jean-Baptiste-Sauveur Gavaudan (1772-1840).
  3. ^ The libretto describes this role as a "demi-caricature"
  4. ^ She was born Anne-Marie Simonet (1763-1829) and was also known as Mme Cretu, after her married name.