Cyrano (opera)

Cyrano (opera)

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Cyrano is an opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in three acts by David DiChiera
David DiChiera
David DiChiera is an American composer and founding general director of Michigan Opera Theatre.-Career:...

 (orchestration: Mark Flint) to a libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 in French by Bernard Uzan, based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac
Cyrano de Bergerac (play)
Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play bears very scant resemblance to his life....

by Edmond Rostand
Edmond Rostand
Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand's romantic plays provided an alternative to the naturalistic theatre popular during the late nineteenth century...

. The opera premiered on 13 October 2007 at the Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre is Michigan's principal opera company. The company is based in Detroit, where it performs in the Detroit Opera House. Each year it presents an opera and dance season. The company usually presents five operas in their original language with English supertitles and hosts five...

. It was then given February 8–17, 2008 at the Opera Company of Philadelphia
Opera Company of Philadelphia
The Opera Company of Philadelphia is an American opera company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is the city's only company producing grand opera. The organization produces four fully staged opera productions annually, encompassing works from the seventeenth through the 21st century...

. Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera is an American opera company based in Miami, Florida. FGO was created in 1994 from the consolidation of two opera companies in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region:...

 will present the work in the 2010/11 season.


Role Voice type
Voice type
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types...

Premiere cast, 13 October 2007
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

: Mark Flint
Cyrano de Bergerac
Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was a French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand...

Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Marian Pop
Roxane soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Leah Partridge
Christian tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

José Luis Sola
DeGuiche bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Peter Volpe
Duenna mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

Gloria Parker
Lebret baritone Gaetan Laperriere
Ragueneau tenor Mark T. Panuccio
A bass-baritone is a high-lying bass or low-lying "classical" baritone voice type which shares certain qualities with the true baritone voice. The term arose in the late 19th century to describe the particular type of voice required to sing three Wagnerian roles: the Dutchman in Der fliegende...

Daniel Okulitch
Daniel Okulitch
Daniel Okulitch is a Canadian bass-baritone. He first came to attention on Broadway as Schaunard in Baz Luhrmann's production of La bohème in 2002/03 – a role he repeated when the production traveled to Los Angeles the following year, for which he received the Ovation Award for Best Ensemble...

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

Marquis de Cuigy
tenor Torrance Blaisdell
Orchestra Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra
Chorus master
Michigan Opera Theatre Chorus
Suzanne Mallare Acton
Director Bernard Uzan
Costumes John Pascoe
Lighting design Donald Thomas

Act 1

Scene 1

The audience at the Hotel Bourgogne anticipate a performance by the famous actor Montfleury. Christian de Neuvilette, a handsome new recruit in the Gascon Guards, points out to his drunken friend, Lignière, a woman in one of the boxes with whom he is in love. Lignière tells Christian that she is Madeleine de Robin, known as Roxane. She is beautiful, rich, and intellectual. Christian laments that he is too stupid and coarse to win the heart of such a refined woman. The baker-poet Rageneau and the soldier Le Bret enter looking for one of the Gascon Guards, Cyrano de Bergerac, who has banned Montfleury from performing for a month. They describe Cyrano as being eloquent and brave, but as being much ridiculed because of his abnormally large nose, a subject on which he is extremely sensitive. Lignière goes out drinking, and Christian is told by a mysterious man of an attempt at Lignière's life. That night when Lignière goes to the Porte de Nelle on his way home, he will be met by one hundred men sent by a nobleman who is upset that Lignière wrote a poem making fun of him. Christian goes to save Lignière.

The performance commences, but in the middle of it Cyrano chases Montfleury offstage and pays off the theater manager. A nobleman tries to insult Cyrano by saying simply that his nose is "very large". Cyrano counters by coming up with many other more interesting insults the nobleman could have used. Swords are drawn and Cyrano wounds the nobleman. Le Bret tells Cyrano that he is making too many enemies, and Cyrano in turn confesses his love for Roxane. He says that he loves Roxane but she will never be able to love him in return because of his large nose. Roxane's nurse arrives to tell Cyrano that Roxane requests a meeting with him at Rageneau's bakery the next day, and Cyrano accepts. Cyrano then learns of the plot against Lignière, and determines to take on the mob himself.

Scene 2
Cyrano arrives at the bakery, eagerly anticipating his meeting with Roxane. Rageneau's wife, Lise, enters with some of Rageneau's manuscripts that she has turned into paper bags for pastries, to Rageneau's dismay. Roxane's nurse arrives with Roxane and Cyrano gets her out of the room by telling her to go out into the streets and eat some pastries, and then read the poetry written on the bags. Alone with Cyrano, Roxane confesses her love for a man. Cyrano thinks it is him who she loves, but it is actually Christian. Roxane makes Cyrano promise to protect Christian in battle.

The cadets arrive, praising Cyrano. Christian and Le Bret are among them. Cyrano proceeds to tell the story of how he fought the hundred men at the Porte de Nelle, and Christian interjects several references to Cyrano's nose. Cyrano orders the room cleared and is alone with Christian. Cyrano tells Christian that he is Roxane's cousin, and Christian confesses his love. The two become fast friends. They eventually decide that Cyrano will write letters to Roxane under Christian's name.

Act 2

Roxane is waiting for a meeting with Christian. She and Cyrano converse about Christian's "refinement". Cyrano exits before Le Comte de Guiche enters. He is in love with Roxane and asks her to become his lover before he goes to war against the Spanish. She declines, but not before convincing him to allow Cyrano and Christian's company to stay in Paris.

Christian later arrives, and tells Cyrano that he no longer needs his services, and that he can win Roxane on his own. But when he tries, he fails miserably, angering Roxane with his "loss of charm". Cyrano tells Christian that he will feed him words to say to Roxane. Christian then woos Roxane, who is on her balcony. Eventually Cyrano takes over, speaking while Christian mouths words. Christian climbs up the balcony and kisses Roxane. A Capucin monk, delivering to Roxane a message that De Guiche still wants to meet with her, agrees to marry Christian and Roxane. The couple celebrate their love while Cyrano laments that he has lost Roxane. De Guiche arrives and, seeing that Roxane and Christian are married, orders Cyrano, Christian, and their company to report to go to war against the Spanish. Roxane makes Cyrano promise that Christian write to her every single day.

Act 3

Scene 1

At the battlefield in Arras
Arras is the capital of the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. The historic centre of the Artois region, its local speech is characterized as a Picard dialect...

, the soldiers are asleep. Christian, Carbon and Le Bret are among them, and Le Bret awakens to find Cyrano running to the camp from enemy lines. He has gone out every day to deliver "Christian's" letters to Roxane. De Guiche arrives and chastises them. After Cyrano insults De Guiche, he waves a white handkerchief as a signal to a spy to tell the Spanish to attack, and ensuring certain death for Cyrano and the guards. Roxane later arrives with Rageneau, bring food. She has crossed enemy territory to see Christian. Cyrano tells Christian about the letters, and gives him a letter to sign so he can give it to Christian if he dies. Christian notices a mark on the letter, and Cyrano replies that it is one of his tears, as dying is not so terrible as never seeing Roxane again. Roxane tells Christian that she would love him even if he were ugly, and he realizes that she loves Christian, not him. Christian convinces Cyrano to tell Roxane about the letters, then rushes into battle. Just as Cyrano is about to do so, Le Bret and Carbon enter carrying the mortally wounded Christian. Cyrano tells Christian that he told Roxane and that she loves him, and Christian dies.

Scene 2

Fifteen years later, Roxane lives at a convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

, mourning the loss of Christian. Cyrano comes to her every day, delivering his Gazette, or news from the outside world. Cyrano comes to visit her, and tell her news, and Roxane notices blood on his head. Cyrano confesses that he has been brutally beaten by one of his enemies, and is dying. Before he dies, Roxane requests he read Christian's farewell letter to her one last time. Roxane noitices that Cyrano is not reading the letter, but he is reciting it. She realizes then that it was Cyrano she loved all along. Cyrano dies in Roxane's arms.

Differences from the play

  • Christian is told of the plot against Lignière by a mysterious cloaked man. In the play, he is told by a boy who tries to steal money from his purse.
  • The play is in five acts. The opera combines the first and second, and the third and fourth acts to creat three acts.
  • The scene in which Cyrano tries to distract De Guiche from arriving at Roxane's house by telling him that he has fallen from the moon is cut.

External links