Author Topic: Operas in french written by non-french composers  (Read 1938 times)

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Offline Spineur

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Operas in french written by non-french composers
« on: June 24, 2016, 06:47:08 AM »
Here is a partial list of operas. Donizetti Les Martyrs/Polyeucte was initially composed in italian but never performed in this language because of censorship.  Created in french.
In the end I did not list Lully and Offenbach as a foreigner although they were not born in France: they immigrated as teens and spent all their lives in France.
I plan to update this list.  Feel free to suggest additions.  I will add stars to the operas recorded and available.

Antonio Salieri
Les Danaïdes Marius François Du Roullet/Baron Tschudi, (1784) * 4 CD recordings
Les Horaces livret de Nicholas-François Guillard (1786) (Overture to Les Horaces)
Tarare livret de Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1787) * DVD Arthaus, (2005)


Antonio Sacchini
Renaud, Libretto Simon Joseph de Pellegrin (1783) *
Chimène ou le Cid, livret de Nicolas-François Guillard (1783)
Dardanus, livret de Nicolas-François Guillard & C.-A. Leclerc de La Bruère (1784)
Œdipe à Colone, livret de Nicolas-François Guillard (1786) * (Oedipe a Colone)

Niccolò Piccinni (composed more than 125 operas, mostly in italian !!)
Roland, livret de Jean-François Marmontel, (1778)
Phaon, livret de C. H. Watelet, Choisy, (1778)
Il vago disprezzato, opéra-bouffe, (1779)
Atys, livret de Jean-François Marmontel (1780)
Iphigénie en Tauride, livret de Alphonse du Congé-Dubreuil (1781) *
Adéle de Ponthieu,  livret de Jean-Paul-André des Rasins de Saint-Marc, (1781)
Didon,  livret de Jean-François Marmontel, (1783) *
Le dormeur éveillé, livret de Jean-François Marmontel, (1783)
Le faux lord, livret de Giuseppe Maria Piccinni, (1783) -> german version as well
Diane et Endymion, livret de Jean-François Espic Chevalier de Liroux, (1784)
Lucette,  livret de Giuseppe Maria Piccinni, (1784)
Pénélope, livret de Jean-François Marmontel, (1785)
Clytemnestre, livret de L. G. Pitra, (1787)
L'enièvement des Sabines, (1787)


Johann Christian Bach; Amadis de Gaule , Alphonse-Marie-Denis de Vismes de Saint-Alphonse d'après Quinault (1779)

Christoph Willibald Gluck
Iphigénie en Aulide, libretto François-Louis Gand Le Bland Du Roullet (1774) * DVD Minkowski, CD Böhm, Gardiner
Orphée et Euridice, Pierre-Louis Moline (1774) *
L’arbre enchanté,  Pierre-Louis Moline (1775)
La Cythère assiégée, Charles Simon Favart (1775)
Alceste, François-Louis Gand Le Bland Du Roullet (1776)
Armide, Philippe Quinault (1777) * CDs: Minkowski, Hickox
Iphigénie en Tauride, Nicolas-François Guillard and François Gand-Leblanc du Roullet (1779) * DVDs Christie (Zurich), Minkowski

Luigi Cherubini; Lodoïska, Claude-François Fillette-Loraux (1791) * Ricardo Muti &  Jérémie Rhorer CDs
Luigi Cherubini; Koukourgi, opéra comique en trois actes inachevé, retrouvé à Cracovie (1793) * DVD Arthaus 2012
Luigi Cherubini; Éliza ou le Voyage aux glaciers du mont Saint-Bernard, livret de Saint-Cyr (1794) * Neville Marriner (within 7CD box)
Luigi Cherubini;  Médée, livret de François Benoît Hoffmann (1797) * (lots of DVD productions, Maria Callas live recording, etc)
Luigi Cherubini; L'Hôtellerie portugaise, livret d'Étienne Aigan (1798)
Luigi Cherubini et François-Adrien Boieldieu; Emma ou la Prisonnière, livret de Claude Godard d'Aucourt de Saint-Just, Étienne de Jouy et Charles de Longchamps (1799)
Luigi Cherubini; Les Deux Journées ou le Porteur d'eau (1802) * (CD op111 Naive)
Luigi Cherubini; Anacréon ou l'Amour fugitif (1803)
Luigi Cherubini; Pygmalion(1809)
Luigi Cherubini; Le Crescendo (1810)
Luigi Cherubini; Les Abencérages ou l'Étendard de Grenade,'Étienne de Jouy (1813) * (CD Art Archives remastered from RAI 1975 recording)
Luigi Cherubini; Ali-Baba ou les Quarante Voleurs (1833) *

Giovanni Paisiello's Proserpine Libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard (1803)

Gaspare Spontini; La Petite maison (1804)
Gaspare Spontini; Milton (1804)
Gaspare Spontini; Julie ou le Pot de fleurs (1805)
Gaspare Spontini; la Vestale, Étienne de Jouy (1807)
Gaspare Spontini; Fernand Cortez ,libretto by Etienne de Jouy and Joseph-Alphonse d’Esmenard (1809)
Gaspare Spontini; Pélage ou le Roi de la Paix (1814)
Gaspare Spontini; Les Deux rivaux (1816)
Gaspare Spontini; Olympie (1819)

Giacomo Meyerbeer; Robert le diable, Eugène Scribe & Germain Delavigne (1831) *
Giacomo Meyerbeer;  Les Huguenots, Eugène Scribe & Émile Deschamps (1836) *
Giacomo Meyerbeer; Le prophète, Eugène Scribe et Émile Deschamps (1949) *
Giacomo Meyerbeer; L'Étoile du Nord, Eugène Scribe (1954)
Giacomo Meyerbeer; Le Pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah) Jules Barbier & Michel Carré (1959) *
Giacomo Meyebeer;  L’Africaine Eugène Scribe (1965) *

Gaetano Donizetti: Lucie de Lamermoor, translation Alphonse Royer&Gustave Vaëz  (1826) *
Gaetano Donizetti: Les Martyrs (Polyeucte) transposed in French by Eugene scribe (1840)
Gaetano Donizetti: Le duc d'Albe, Eugène Scribe et Charles Duveyrie (1839) *
Gaetano Donizetti: La Favorite, Alphonse Royer et Gustave Vaëz (1840) *
Gaetano Donizetti: La fille du régiment, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges et Jean-François Bayard (1840) *
Gaetano Donizetti: Dom Sébastien roi du portugal, Eugène Scribe, (1843)
Gaetano Donizetti: Rita ou le mari battu (created postumously in 1860)


Gioacchino Rossini, Le comte d'Orly originally in French (1828) *
Gioacchino Rossini,  Guillaume Tell, Étienne de Jouy et Hippolyte Bis (1829) *
Gioacchino Rossini, Le siège de Corinth (adaptation de Maometto II)  (1828)
Gioacchino Rossini, Moïse et Pharaon (adaptation de Mosè in Egitto) (1827)

Giuseppe Verdi, Jérusalem, Libretto Alphonse Royer&Gustave Vaëz based on I Lombardi (Paris 1847)
Giuseppe Verdi, Les vêpres siciliennes, Charles Duveyrier and Eugène Scribe. (1855) *
Guiseppe Verdi, Don Carlos original version in french (1867) *

Pietro Mascagni, Amica Pietro libretto by Paul Bérel (Monte-Carlo 1905) *

Richard Strauss, Salomé Op 54 libretto Oscar Wilde, created in Paris in 1907 after the 1905 german creation. *

Ernest Bloch, Macbeth (1907) *

Stravinsky: le Rossignol, libretto Stravinsky & Stépane Mitousoff (Paris, P. Monteux, 1914) *

Sergei Prokofiev: L'amour des trois oranges, livret Prokofiev&Vera Janacopoulos (Paris, 1921)
Sergei Prokofiev: L'ange de feu (???) composed in 1919 but created in 1954 (Paris) Prokofiev libretto.

Franco Alfano, Cyrano de Bergerac, Henri Cain (1936) *

Georges Enesco, Oedipe, Edmond Fleg's libretto (1936)

Bohuslav Martinů
Julietta ou la clef de songes, Martinu's libretto derived from Georges Neveux play (1938) *
Alexandre bis 1 act opera bouffe (1937)
Ariane, libretto Schönenberg-Pratteln (1958) *

Frederick Delius, Margot la rouge,  libretto  Berthe Gaston-Danville (1983)

Georges Asperghis, Histoire de Loup (1976)
Georges Asperghis, L'Echarpe rouge, Livret Alain Badiou (1984)
Georges Asperghis, Les Boulingrin, Livret Courteline (2010)

Philip Glass: La Belle et la Bête for ensemble&film, libretto Philip Glass&Jean Cocteau (1994)

Saariaho, L´Amour de Loin, Libretto Amin Maalouf (Salzburg, Kent Nagano 2000)
Saariaho, Adriana Mater, libretto Amin Maalouf (Paris 2005)
Saariaho La passion de Simone (more an oratorio) libretto Amin Maalouf (London 2007, Paris 2009)
Saariaho Émilie, libretto Amin Maalouf (Lyon 2010) [Portrait of Emilie du Chatelet, Mathematician& Physicist]

 Peter Eötvös: Le balcon libretto, Jean Genet (Aix en provence, 2002)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 10:41:23 AM by Spineur »
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Offline ritter

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 12:59:04 PM »
Some additions to your interesting list, Spineur:

Johann Christian Bach's Amadis de Gaule (1779),  Alphonse-Marie-Denis de Vismes de Saint-Alphonse d'après Quinault.

Gaspare Spontini's Fernand Cortez from 1809, with a libretto by Etienne de Jouy and Joseph-Alphonse d’Esmenard. Most unfortunately, the only recording in the original French (on the Accord label) is long OOP and only available second-hand at astronomical prices.  >:(

Gioacchino Rossini's Le siège de Corinth (French revision of Maometto II) and Moïse et Pharaon (adapted from Mosè in Egitto).

More Donizetti: Le duc d'Albe, La Favorite, La fille du régiment and Dom Sébastien.

Giuseppe Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes, libretto by Charles Duveyrier and Eugène Scribe. First perfomed in 1855.

More stuff by Meyerbeer (Le Prophète, L'Étoile du nord, Dinorah, Vasco de Gama aka L'Africaine)

Franco Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac (Henri Cain d'après Edmond de Rostand). 1936

And the marvelous Oedipe by Georges Enesco (1936), on Edmond Fleg's libretto.

You also have a number of works by Reynaldo Hahn, but he did take on French citizenship...

« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 01:20:42 PM by ritter »
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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 01:25:54 PM »
Also, a number of works by Italians "imported" to France before the revolution. For intsance, Antonio Sacchini's Oedipe à Colonne and RenaudNiccolò Piccinni's Didon , Roland and Iphigénie en Tauride or Antonio Salieri's Les Danaïdes.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 01:27:27 PM by ritter »
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Offline Spineur

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2016, 11:46:10 PM »
Thanks Ritter.  I have made the additions.  Reynaldo Hahn arrived in France at the age of 3.  That really makes him french.

I have only heard a tiny fraction of this list.  Considering how much there is, it is difficult to argue that French is unfit for the lyric art !!
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Offline Turner

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2016, 11:58:01 PM »
Saariaho´s "L´Amour de Loin" should definitely be mentioned. A relatively recent and often beautiful work, it´s certainly not written in a too-edgy kind of avant-garde.

Offline ritter

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 02:02:35 AM »
Saariaho´s "L´Amour de Loin" should definitely be mentioned. A relatively recent and often beautiful work, it´s certainly not written in a too-edgy kind of avant-garde.
Fully agreed! How could I forget that one?  :-[ And then there's a string of operas by Georges Aperghis, all unknown to me, I'm afraid, as I have not been terribly impressed by the--little--music of this composer I know (which does not mean I shouldn't explore him further). AFAIK, we have (from French Wikipedia):

- Histoire de loups
- L'écharpe rouge
- Sextour, ou l'origine des espèces
- Avis de tempête
- Les Boulingrin


Aperghis has recently been granted the hgely endowed (400K €) Fundación BBVA prize for his innovations in the  operatic genre.

On another, completely different note, Pietro Mascagni composed his Amica to a French libretto by Paul Bérel.

And another contemporary one: Peter Eötvös set Jean Genet's Le Balcon in 2002 (Ax-en-Provence festival)

Thanks Ritter.  I have made the additions.  Reynaldo Hahn arrived in France at the age of 3.  That really makes him french.

I have only heard a tiny fraction of this list.  Considering how much there is, it is difficult to argue that French is unfit for the lyric art !!

My pleasure!  ;) This is actually quite fun for me.

I have listened to quite a few of those available on record, I admit, as could be expected from someone who is simulatneously an opera fan and a bit of a francophile.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 02:08:06 AM by ritter »
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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 03:17:32 AM »
Fromental Halévy; L'Artisan (1827),
Le Batelier (1827),
Le Dilettante d'Avignon (1828)
Les Souvenirs de Lafleur (1829),
La Tentation, ballet-opéra (1832)
Ludovic, commencé par Hérold (1833)
La Juive (1835) *


??? Halévy was French, born and educated in Paris.  His father was born in present-day Bavaria, but came to Paris at an early age.

An addition to your list would be Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna.  It was originally commissioned by the Met, but a dispute of the language led to Wainwright and the Met parting ways.  It's been recorded, on DG.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 03:29:42 AM by Wendell_E »
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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 03:57:40 AM »
??? Halévy was French, born and educated in Paris.  His father was born in present-day Bavaria, but came to Paris at an early age.

An addition to your list would be Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna.  It was originally commissioned by the Met, but a dispute of the language led to Wainwright and the Met parting ways.  It's been recorded, on DG.
You are right !  I knew that his family had been expelled from Bavaria because they were jews (antisemitsm and Bavaria...) but I did not actually know when they arrived in France.  I'll fix this and add Rufus Wainwright & Georges Aperghis

I listened to Antonio Sacchini's Oedipe à Colone on youtube.  Quite nice and interesting.  Leopold Mozart style.  I  may actually get one of the two recording that exist.  Unfortunately I dont know what recording is posted on youtube.
A woman voice glides like the wind
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Offline JCBuckley

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2016, 04:14:52 AM »
I think Telemann's Omphale had a French libretto - but I believe that only the overture-suites have survived.

And perhaps there's a place on the list for Philip Glass's La Belle et la Bête?

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2016, 04:22:56 AM »
I think Telemann's Omphale had a French libretto - but I believe that only the overture-suites have survived.

And perhaps there's a place on the list for Philip Glass's La Belle et la Bête?

I'll look into it.  I am sure there are post WWII operas missing:  in all the crowd drawn by Boulez to the IRCAM, there must have been lyrical pieces written.
French was also the language at the russian court, and a number of songs were composed on french texts.  Apparently "Nero" (Anton Rubinstein) was initially assembled with a french libretto but dumped by the Opera Garnier.  A performance apparently took place for Alexandre I (no really reliable source).  Tchaikovsky "La pucelle d'Orleans", used a number of sources including Mermet's "Jeanne d'Arc", but the libretto in its final form was in russian.

Stravinsky Le Rossignol and Prokofiev "L'amour des 3 oranges" have french libretti.  L'ange de feu is a bit of a mystery as it was created some 34 years after it was composed.

I am skipping Rufus Wainwright & Georges Aperghis for the time being: Read this to know why prima-donna-neo-neo-neant


 
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 06:59:11 AM by Spineur »
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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2016, 01:25:09 AM »
I listened to Antonio Sacchini's Oedipe à Colone on youtube.  Quite nice and interesting.  Leopold Mozart style.  I  may actually get one of the two recording that exist.  Unfortunately I dont know what recording is posted on youtube.
I only know this version:


To tell the truth, I'm not at all satisfied with it. It all sounds very coarse, the singing in general is too vehement and lacking in the refinement the whole tragédie lyrique genre requires. The sound ain't that good either.
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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2016, 01:57:58 AM »
To tell the truth, I'm not at all satisfied with it. It all sounds very coarse, the singing in general is too vehement and lacking in the refinement the whole tragédie lyrique genre requires. The sound ain't that good either.
Actually, I just bought Cherubini: Lodoiska


(Muti's version)
I have the italian version Medea with Callas & Tulio Serafin.  Cherubini may not have been the greatest musical genius, but he had a tremendous sense of drama.  I also got Enescu, Oedipe: all the raving review overcame my lukewarm impressions with this composer (based on a couple chamber music disks).

This was a great exercise for me and will prompt an exploration of a slightly neglected repertoire.  It is actually amazing to see how much good music is neglected by opera houses.  Traviata is great, but after you have seen 26 performances, the "déjà  vu" feeling sinks in...
 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 05:28:16 AM by Spineur »
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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2016, 10:21:07 AM »
I only know this version:
To tell the truth, I'm not at all satisfied with it. It all sounds very coarse, the singing in general is too vehement and lacking in the refinement the whole tragédie lyrique genre requires. The sound ain't that good either.
The version on youtube is this one


Its youtube sound so, its difficult to judge.  An interesting historical perspective for Sacchini's operas is provided by one of the Amazon.com reviewers:
"The music of Oedipe is perhaps more polite than challenging; but that politeness is the period style of the 1780s. Opera did not turn really violent until Cherubini's Medee in 1797 when the Revolution was an accomplished fact. Sacchini's politeness is analogous to genteel and ingratiating radio commercials in the 1940s before Presley unleashed his hound dog. The plot of Oedipe brings back to the stage King Theseus, a major player in Rameau's great Hippolyte et Aricie. It strikes me as somewhat unusual that the first voice we hear is a tenor. In fact both Theseus and his guest, the central character Polynices, are sung by tenors. In 19th century opera, tenor heroes are usually held back for dramatic entrances like Verdi's troubador singing offstage. With typical dignity, Theseus refers to his soldiers as "braves compagnons de mes nobles travaux." A herald addresses them as "protecteurs de l'Etat et defenseurs des rois." Less than a decade later there were no soldiers left to defend Louis XVI. Significantly Marie Antoinette failed in her attempt to promote this opera; and Sacchini died the following year; so he did not have to witness what was going to happen to her and her husband"

This explains why my preference went to Cherubini !!


« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 10:36:53 AM by Spineur »
A woman voice glides like the wind
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And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

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Offline nathanb

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2016, 04:23:19 PM »
I think you forgot to edit in Aperghis :)

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2016, 04:43:41 PM »
Add to Verdi
Jerusalem

Librettist   
Alphonse Royer
Gustave Vaëz
Language   French
Based on   Verdi's I Lombardi alla prima crociata of 1843
Premiere   26 November 1847
Salle Le Peletier (The Paris Opéra)

Offline ritter

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2016, 06:25:20 AM »
Jeffrey is absoultely right in reimnding us of Verdi's Jérusalem, which goes way beyond a simple tranlsation of I Lombardi. It's actually been "translated back" into Itailan as Gerusalemme (much like the journey--in Rossini's case--from Maometto secondo to Le siège de Corinth and then on to L'Assedio de Corinto ::) ).

As for Saariaho, apart from the tow works already included in Spineur's list, theres's the more recent La passion de Simone (kind of an "opera-oratorio") and Émilie (both based--as always with this composer's stage works--on librettos by Amin Maalouf).

And I knew I was forgetting a rather beautiful tragédie lyrique by anoter Italian: Giovanni Paisiello's Proserpine from 1803. Libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard, d'àprés Quinault). It's this composer's only work in the French language. A recording is available on Dynamic (from the Martina Franca festival):



And then there's Frederick Delius's one-act Margot la rouge, on a libretto in French by Berthe Gaston-Danville, and premièred (very) posthumously in St. Louis (MO) in 1983. I don't know the work at all (and it really does not attract me much).
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 06:42:59 AM by ritter »
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Offline Spineur

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2016, 04:45:28 AM »
Thanks Jeff&Ritter,
I made the additions.  I have a DVD of La passion de Simone: it is more an oratorio.  For Saariaho, I would recommend L'Amour de Loin, which I find very creative.

I wondered whether to include Alexandre Tansman here.  He acquired the french nationality at the age of 41 (in 1938), but left shortely afterwards (WWII) for the US.  He eventually came back to France, but spend a fair amount of time in Israel.  He is on of those "apatride" made by the 20th century wars.  So if he is not french, whose nation does he belong to ? No real answer...

 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 04:49:04 AM by Spineur »
A woman voice glides like the wind
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And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

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Offline nathanb

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2016, 06:51:37 AM »
Thanks Jeff&Ritter,
I made the additions.  I have a DVD of La passion de Simone: it is more an oratorio.  For Saariaho, I would recommend L'Amour de Loin, which I find very creative.

You forgot Aperghis again.

Offline Spineur

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2016, 09:07:57 PM »
Kajia Saariaho "L'amour de Loin" is programmed in december at the MET

https://www.metopera.org/Season/2016-17-Season/amour-de-loin-saariaho-tickets/
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline knight66

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Re: Operas in french written by non-french composers
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2016, 10:30:46 PM »
Kajia Saariaho "L'amour de Loin" is programmed in december at the MET

https://www.metopera.org/Season/2016-17-Season/amour-de-loin-saariaho-tickets/

I bought the DVD of it, never managed to get to the end.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

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