Polyeucte (opera)


Polyeucte (opera)

" Polyeucte" is an opera by Charles Gounod based on the play about Saint Polyeuctus by Pierre Corneille. The libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré is more faithful to its source than Les martyrs, Scribe's adaptation for Donizetti, and Gounod hoped to express "the unknown and irresistable powers that Christianity has spead among humanity" [Steven Huebener "The Operas of Gounod" (Oxford 1990) p215] . The subject had occupied Gounod for some ten years; after a first delay caused by a fire at the Opéra, the first draft remained in the hands of a jealous Georgina Weldon when he left England in 1874 and he had to resort to a lawsuit before resigning himself to recomposing the work from memory. It premiered October 7, 1878 but was a failure, "the sorrow of my life" [ibid p217] and closed after 29 performances. [James Harding "Gounod" (Stein & Day1973) p199]

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