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Messidor (opera)

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Messidor (opera)

Messidor is a four-act operatic drame lyrique by Alfred Bruneau to a French libretto by Émile Zola. The opera premiered on February 19, 1897 in Paris. The opera takes its name from the tenth month of the French Republican Calendar.[1]


Although initially successful, the popularity of Messidor was adversely affected by the Dreyfus Affair which was occurring at the time of the opera's premiere. Because both Bruneau and his good friend Zola were active supporters of Alfred Dreyfus during his trial for treason, the French public did not welcome the composer's music for several years afterward.[2]

The collaborations between Bruneau and Zola, of which Messidor is the most notable, were considered an attempt at a French alternative to the Italian verismo movement in opera.[3]

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, February 19, 1897[4]
Gaspard bass Jean Noté
Guillaume tenor Albert Alvarez
Mathias, Guillaume's cousin baritone Jean-François Delmas
Véronique, Guillaume's mother contralto Blanche Deschamps-Jéhin
Hélène, Gaspard's daughter soprano Lucy Berthet

Synopsis

Set in Ariège, a region in the south-west of France, the opera tells the story of a greedy peasant, Gaspard, who has appropriated for himself a gold-bearing stream, which had previously provided income for the entire community. His daughter, Hélène, and Guillaume, a young and virtuous man, fall in love, but Guillaume's mother, Véronique, has accused Gaspard of murdering her husband. Ultimately Gaspard's mining operation fails, and his cousin Mathias is found to be the real murderer.[5]

Vocal Score

The vocal score was published in 1897 and is now available online , Choudens.

Notes and references

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