Salammbô (Reyer)

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Salammbô is an opera in five acts composed by Ernest Reyer to a French libretto by Camille du Locle. It is based on the novel Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert (1862). The opera was first performed at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels on 10 February 1890. The American premiere was at the French Opera House in New Orleans on 25 January 1900 with Lina Pacary in the title role. This rarely nowadays performed opera received the last performance in Paris Opera in 1943, and the most recent one in Marseilles on 27 September 2008, in commemoration of 100th anniversary of Reyer's death.[1]


Rose Caron as Salammbô.
After a portrait by Léon Bonnat.
Role Voice type Premiere Cast,
(Conductor: )
Hamilcar, Carthaginian leader baritone Maurice Renaud
Salammbô, a priestess, Hamilcar's daughter soprano Rose Caron
Taanach, Salammbo's servant mezzo-soprano
Shahabarim, high priest of Tanit tenor Edmond Vergnet
Narr'Havas, King of Numidia bass Sentein
Giscon, Carthaginian general bass Peeters
Mathô, chief Libyan mercenary tenor Henri Sellier
Spendius, Greek slave baritone Max Bouvet
Autharite, Gaulish mercenary bass Challet


Other opera adaptations[edit]

In 1863, Modeste Mussorgsky also started writing text and music for an opera based on Flaubert's novel, but he never managed to complete the work. Other versions were written by V. Fornari (1881), Niccolò Massa (1886), Eugeniusz Morawski-Dąbrowa, Josef Matthias Hauer (1930), Alfredo Cuscinà (1931), Veselin Stoyanov (1940) and Franco Casavola (1948). Contemporary French composer Philippe Fénélon's Salammbô was first performed in the Opéra Bastille in 1998.