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Episode 417

Le chevalier d'Harmental (opera)
Mon, 2018-Jun-25 00:13 UTC
Length - 3:03

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Welcome to random Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a random Wikipedia page every day.

The random article for Monday, 25 June 2018 is Le chevalier d'Harmental (opera).

Le chevalier d’Harmental is an opéra comique in five acts of 1896, with music by André Messager and a French libretto by Paul Ferrier, after Dumas père and Auguste Maquet. The play of the 1843 novel – in five acts, a prologue and ten tableaux – was first performed on 16 July 1849 at the Théâtre-Historique in Paris. The opera was first performed at the Opéra Comique (Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt) in Paris on 5 May 1896, but ran for only six performances. It was seen at the Vienna Hofoper during the 1896-97 season.

The composer lamented that the failure of the work, which had preoccupied him for three years, hurt as he had attached great importance to it, and had put considerable effort into it; he was so discouraged that he did not want to compose, and wanted to go away to England. Messager's biographer Michel Augé-Laribé contends that the fault lay with the dull words, rather than the music, which he claims contains a prototype of the "style dialogué, juste, rapide, naturel, aisé", which will reach its height in the final works, and its beautifully coloured orchestration.

The rehearsals were fraught, with the director of the Opéra Comique, Léon Carvalho, constantly interrupting the performers over movements, actions, even criticizing the orchestration at one point; Messager responded robustly to this excessive interference. The mutual disdain did not bode well for the production. Two weeks after the premiere, the conductor Danbé wrote to Messager expressing his regrets and remarking the score was first-rate, much liked by the orchestra members who did full justice to the music. Février also comments that Reynaldo Hahn much admired the work.

The Annales author commends the attractive music, "as one might expect of the composer of Isoline and La Basoche", of which highlights cited included couplets for Fugère and the air of the queen of the night in the first act; a drinking song in the second, and several moments in the third act.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:13 UTC on Monday, 25 June 2018.

For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_chevalier_d'Harmental_(opera).

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