Henry VIII (opera)


Henry VIII (opera)

"Henry VIII" is an opera in four acts by Camille Saint-Saëns, from a libretto by Léonce Détroyat and Armand Silvestre, based on "El cisma en Inglaterra" "(The schism in England)" by Pedro Calderón de la Barca.

Background and performance history

The action covers the period in Henry VIII's life when the king was discarding Queen Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn, a move rejected by the Church.

In an effort to evoke the historical context, Saint-Saëns researched English music from the period and incorporated several English, Scottish, and Irish folk melodies into his score, as well as an air by William Byrd, contained in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

"Henry VIII" received its first performance on 5 March 1883 at the Opéra de Paris, where it remained in the repertoire until 1919. It was seen at the Royal Opera House, London in 1889. It was revived in 1991 at the Théatre Impérial de Compiègne in a production by Pierre Jourdan, with Philippe Rouillon as Henry VIII, Michèle Command as Catherine of Aragon and Lucile Vignon as Anne Boleyn. The production was made into a film.

Its most recent (2002) performance was at the Liceu in Barcelona where it was staged once again by Pierre Jourdan with Montserrat Caballé as Catherine, Simon Estes as Henry and Nomeda Kazlaus as Anne Boleyn, with José Collado conducting.

Recording

* Philippe Rouillon, Michèle Command, Lucile Vignon, conducted by Alain Guingal. "Le Chant Du Monde". (also available as a DVD, "Kultur Films")

External links

* [http://www.karadar.it/Librettos/saint-saens_henry.html French Libretto]


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