Le domino noir
is an opéra comique
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged out of the popular opéra comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent , which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections...
by the French composer Daniel Auber
Daniel François Esprit Auber was a French composer.-Biography:The son of a Paris print-seller, Auber was born in Caen in Normandy. Though his father expected him to continue in the print-selling business, he also allowed his son to learn how to play several musical instruments...
, first performed on 2 December 1837 by the Opéra-Comique
The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the...
at the Salle de la Bourse in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
. The libretto to the three-act piece is by Auber's usual collaborator, Eugène Scribe
Augustin Eugène Scribe , was a French dramatist and librettist. He is best known for the perfection of the so-called "well-made play" . This dramatic formula was a mainstay of popular theater for over 100 years.-Biography:...
. It was one of Auber's most successful works, clocking up 1,207 performances by 1909. It received its UK premiere in 1838 and appeared in the USA the following year. Some of Auber's music has a Spanish flavour to reflect its setting.
In 1869, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...
s to replace the spoken dialogue for a proposed production of Le domino noir
by an Italian opera company visiting Russia. No performances are believed to have taken place, but four of Tchaikovsky's recitatives were included in Richard Bonynge's recording of the opera.
There was a production of the opera by Pierre Jourdan at the Théâtre Imperial at Compiègne
Compiègne is a city in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune within the département of Oise.The city is located along the Oise River...
||Premiere Cast, 2 December 1837
(Conductor: - )
|Angèle de Olivarès, a novice nun
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...
|Brigitte de San Lucar, her fellow nun and confidante
|Horace de Massarena, a young Spanish nobleman
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...
|Count Juliano, his friend
|Jacinthe, Juliano's housekeeper
Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...
|Gil Perez, Jacinthe's lover
|Ursule, another nun, later abbess of the convent
|Lord Elfort, a British diplomat
The action takes place in Spain and concerns a young novice nun, Angèle de Olivarès. Enjoying her last freedom before taking final vows, Angèle slips out of the convent along with her companion Brigitte to attend a ball in honour of the Queen of Spain's birthday. To conceal her identity, she wears a black half-mask (the "domino" of the title). A year previously, at the same ball, Angèle had met a young man, Horace de Masserena. Horace has fallen in love with her and returns to the ball in the hope of seeing her again. Instead he meets the unknown woman in the black mask and dances with her. Thinking to help Horace, his friend Count Juliano, sets the clock back an hour causing Angèle to miss leaving at midnight, which would have allowed her to get back to the convent in time before the gates close. Angèle runs off and tries to take shelter for the night in a house she finds on the way. Unfortunately, it turns out to belong to Count Juliano who is holding a late-night party for his friends. Angèle persuades the housekeeper to disguise her as her niece from the country. She manages to fool everyone except, of course, Horace who recognises her from the ball a year ago. He does not tell anyone else but locks Angèle in a room where he hopes to keep her until she gives him an explanation. But Angèle is inadvertently freed by the housekeeper's lover, the drunken Gil Perez, who opens the door and runs off, having mistaken her for a demon in her mask and cloak. Angèle manages to reach the convent and slip in undiscovered. However, that very morning a new abbess, Ursule, has been installed. Ursule is jealous of Angèle and orders her to leave the convent and find a husband. By coincidence, Horace turns up at the convent and joyfully takes the opportunity to ask Angèle to be his wife. Brigitte marries Count Juliano.
- Le domino noir Sumi Jo, Bruce Ford, Isabelle Vernet, Jules Bastin, London Voices, English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Richard Bonynge
Richard Alan Bonynge, AO, CBE is an Australian conductor and pianist.Bonynge was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney Boys High School before studying piano at the Royal College of Music in London. He gave up his music scholarship, continuing his private piano studies, and became a coach for...