Notre Dame (opera)

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Notre Dame is a romantic opera by Franz Schmidt, to a libretto by himself and Leopold Wilk (1876-1944), a professional chemist and amateur poet.[1] It is based loosely on the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.

The opera was written between 1904 and 1906.[2] Schmidt approached the opera by writing the orchestral parts of the score first, adding the vocal parts in later.[1] He incorporated some material from an unfinished fantasia for piano and orchestra.[1]

Notre Dame was first performed in Vienna on 1 April 1914. The principal female role of Esmeralda was created by Marie Gutheil-Schoder.[2]

The work was popular till the early 1920s, then faded from view. It has been revived in Vienna and Dresden, and has been recorded at least twice.[1]

The opera is best known for its orchestral Intermezzo, which was first performed, along with the Carnival Music,[1] on 6 December 1903 in Vienna, as Zwischenspiel aus einer unvollständigen romantischen Oper.[3] These pieces were not composed with any opera in mind, but were later incorporated into Notre Dame, which he started writing in August 1904.[1] The composer and violinist Karl Goldmark described the Intermezzo as "the most beautiful of Gypsy music".[4]


Role Voice type Premiere: 1 April 1914, Vienna
Esmeralda soprano Marie Gutheil-Schoder
Gringoire tenor
Phoebus tenor
Quasimodo bass
Archdeacon baritone