Opéra and Comiques

Charpentier David et Jonathas illustration by Dégé

Wow, I’ve had quite a comics-heavy run lately, so let’s ease the transition with some opera-themed illustrations…

Somehow I stumbled upon the season illustrations for the Opéra Comique in Paris, which are adorable.  They’re by Guillame Dégé, and I don’t know what vegetables have to do with any of the operas, but I’m loving it.

The line-up is quite interesting too, with about half baroque repertory and half early modern repertory, but all pretty off-the-beaten path.

For example, I’d heard of Reynaldo Hahn ever-so briefly as a composer of song, but he wrote opera too!  Lucky for us, his 1923 operetta Ciboulette is up in full on YouTube:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeW6GhKCzBY&w=350&h=300]

Link to part two.  ( Also, get this: Hahn was born in Venezuela to German-Jewish and Spanish descended parents, and was maybe in the closet, so a Hispanic, Jewish, gay, immigrant?  Jeez, quadruple minority threat. )

Mârouf by duCaire illustration by DégéAll Images Copyright Guillame Dégé

I had never heard of Henri Rabaud though, but he’s there too, with the delightfully orientalist sounding Mârouf, The Cairo Cobbler, drawn from The Arabian Nights.  Opéra Comique gave its premiere in 1914,and and it even made it to thMetropolitan Opera by 1917, so it had its moment.  Here are some orchestral dances taken from the opera:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiWmHM2y4Yk&w=350&h=300]

aka, Beauty and Heart of Iron

BBC Radio 3‘s weekly streaming opera offering this time is a Rossini rarity, Matilde di Shabran, which was apparently controversial enough to cause fights after its 1821 premiere, so check it out to see what all the fuss is about…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khDPul1OE8&w=350&h=300]

This performance is coming from the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, which mounted the first production of Matilde di Shabran in 175 years back in 1996 and produced the accompanying short documentary.  Italian with French subtitles, but still plenty of 90s datedness to enjoy even if you can’t understand.