See all informations
Opéra Bastille - from 25 January to 12 February 2019
5h10 with 2 intervals
Pre-opening night : 22 January 2019
Opening night : 25 January 2019
In few words:
In 1854, Hector Berlioz confided in his memoirs that, “For three years, I have been tormented by the idea of a vast opera for which I would like to write both words and music.” Held back by the failures of Benvenuto Cellini and La Damnation de Faust, the composer was to wait another two years before throwing himself into Les Troyens, an enterprise based on Virgil’s Aeneid: an ancient text that, galvanised by the master’s brilliant orchestral modernity, breathed new life into an operatic world still dominated by Verdi. In 1990, when the curtain rose for the first time at the Opéra Bastille, it revealed the Trojan plains. Thirty years later, a new production directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov marks the anniversary of the opera house, revealing the work in all its immensity.
- First Part 85 mn
- Interval 45 mn
- Second Part 80 mn
- Interval 30 mn
- Third part 45 mn
HylasBror Magnus Tødenes
NarbalChristian Van Horn
Deux Capitaines troyensJean-Luc Ballestra
Deux Capitaines troyensTomislav Lavoie
Le Fantôme de CassandreStéphanie d'Oustrac
Le Fantôme de ChorèbeStéphane Degout
Le Fantôme d'HectorThomas Dear
Le Fantôme de PriamPaata Burchuladze
Avec son sens aigu du récit, le metteur en scène dramaturge (…) a aussi relié de manière subséquente les deux parties du grand opéra en cinq actes.Le Monde, Marie-Aude Roux, 27.01.19
Tcherniakov se montre aussi remarquable directeur d’acteursCulturebox, Bertrand Renard, 28.01.19
Les chœurs, pilier de cette partition qui n’a pas renoncé au tribut apporté par la tragédie lyrique gluckiste, sont tout simplement admirables, que ce soit en tutti ou par pupitresLe Monde, Marie-Aude Roux, 27.01.19
Le plateau aligne des stars aux techniques parfaites et à l’appétit de jeu prégnant (…) Chacun se laisse aller à l’incarnation scénique avec intensité.Libération, Guillaume Tion, 30.01.09
Dans la fosse, la direction fine et colorée de Philippe Jordan dose avec subtilité l’héroïsme et la délicatesse qui traversent l’orchestration berliozienneLe Monde, Marie-Aude Roux, 27.01.19
Les personnages (sont) campés avec une évidence digne de l’Actors Studio. C’est le Tcherniakov qui sait raconter une histoire comme personne.Le Figaro, Christian Merlin, 31.01.2019
Cette nouvelle production fera date.Les Inrocks, Patrick Sourd, 06.02.19
Stéphanie d’Oustrac est une Cassandre inoubliable, à fleur de peau, révoltée, dont le chant intense est nourri aux sources du style françaisLe Figaro, Christian Merlin, 31.01.2019
An outstanding production of Berlioz’s operaFinancial Times, Shirley Apthorp, 28.01.19
Les Troyens (saison 18/19)- Acte V - Ekaterina Semenchuk et Aude Extrémo
Les Troyens (saison 18/19) - Acte IV - Christian Van Horn et Aude Extrémo
Les Troyens (saison 18/19) - Acte I - Stéphane Degout
Les Troyens (saison 18/19) - Acte IV - Ekaterina Semenchuk et Brandon Jovanovitch
A History of Les Troyens
Berlioz, a total genius
The story of Les Troyens
Draw-me Les Troyens
Podcast Les Troyens
A History of the Trojans
© Pierre Petit - BnF
A History of Les Troyens
Cassandra never features in Virgil’s Aeneid as a character. Her words are evoked in the story of the capture of Troy which Aeneas recounts to the Queen of Carthage in Book II. This gives rise to a twofold deprivation of Cassandra’s words. She is mentioned for the first time in these terms:
“Even then, Cassandra opened her lips for the coming doom—lips at a god’s command never believed by the Trojans.”
Cassandra is deprived of a singular voice. Through her, an entire chorus of prophesies are expressed which discredit her in the eyes of Trojan society.
Even so, another passage qualifies that point of view. The character’s silence is not total in the epic. If, indeed, she does not speak at the moment of the action, she has spoken of what we will anachronistically call the “horizon of expectation” of the protagonists and the premonitions revealing the future: “Let us yield to Phoebus and, advised, follow better things.”
If, once again, the voice of Cassandra is reduced to that of the god who cursed her, one can note, however, a slight evolution in the acceptance granted to her prophesies. In the same passage, two verbs of speech are used to evoke Cassandra’s past actions: “canebat” from the verb “cano” which means “to sing” and “vocare” which literally refers to the act of invoking an object or an event. “Vocare” reminds us of the special relationship that the voices of the prophets maintain with the future, but it is here that the verb “to sing” seems to give meaning to the entire passage. It is indeed song that makes Cassandra’s voice and her relationship with time unique. Already with Virgil, the sung dimension of the discourse lends a specific status to the character of Cassandra and for her becomes a factor of emancipation even after her death.Before we look at how Berlioz grasped the postulate of the transfiguration to come of Cassandra’s character for the first part of his grand opera, we should examine how Cassandra’s character was treated dramatically from Antiquity to 19th century opera.
The status of song in Greek tragedy
Ancient theatre, and more precisely, Greek tragedy, made use of multiple voices. Recent studies on the subject concur as to the musical nature of theatre performances in that era. If Aristotle in his work Poetics considered that tragedy was first and foremost a text, he nevertheless mentions the art's musical specificity: “I call a highly seasoned language” one that has rhythm, melody and song; and I mean by “seasonings of a specific species” that certain parts are executed simply with the aid of the metre, whereas others may use song” The sung dimension of Greek tragedy needs to be placed in the religious context of its performance: the great Dionysia.The first level of voices belongs to the characters or “the authors of the performance.” That is to say they are involved in the plot and responsible for the action. This first level of voice is itself twofold. According to researchers like Claude Calame or Florence Dupont, Greek tragedy is based on alienation techniques. The first among them is the mask. The character, be it male or female, is played by a man. The other medium of singularization for the characters is the voice. Each actor may play several characters: only the modulation of their voices makes it possible to identify between fictional beings. The second level of the voice is the chorus which “as a compact and unified voice is there to remind us that harmony is the aim of all discourse.” (Pierre Judet de la Combe). The chorus' vocal unity is also intended to guarantee the unities of time and place characteristic of Greek tragedy. The voice of the chorus in Greek tragedy thus marks the junction between two temporalities. It participates in the action performed on stage by means of exchanges with the characters yet, through this “there and then” aspect of the sung performance, it also reconnects with the temporality of the performance, the spectators, and the cultural and ritualistic dimension of the tragedy.
One would have to wait for the 19th century and Berlioz’s opera for this song to truly have an effect and become action. If Berlioz portrayed Cassandra and Chorebus’s love scene in a duet where incommunicability reign, it is as a Trojan woman whose word is free that the composer manages to liberate the character from her divine yoke. We should look on the youngest daughter of Priam as a young woman who “refuses to accept any negation of her right to speak, nor the narrow margins of her place as a woman, because she persists in doing so freely and clearly. Furthermore, she does not speak of feminine subjects but of politics by suggesting what the city should or not do.1” Entering on stage, the prophetess, who has just lost her lover in battle, predicts Troy’s future in Italy:
“All shall not perish. The valiant Aeneas
and his troops, brought home after thrice being in combat,
have freed our hardy citizens
Imprisoned in the Citadel.
Priam’s treasure is in the hands of the Trojans.
Soon, in Italy, where fate calls them,
They will see a new Troy rise
`A Troy more powerful, more beautiful.
They walk towards the Ida.2”
In addition to freeing Cassandra from her legendary charge in the finale of The Capture of Troy when the prophetess divides the chorus—excluding the “Thessalians”- and invites them to fight to “condemn the victory of the Greeks”, it is the operatic heroine whom Berlioz is liberating. The cohesion of the score of Les Troyens resides in the mirroring of the two parts and the conflict between the two heroines, Cassandra and Dido. If Chorebus died in combat, it is not grief that kills the Trojan princess for she knew that death hung over their wedding. The Capture of Troy makes no mention of Ajax coming to rape Cassandra, nor of Agamemnon dragging her in triumph to the door of the house of the Atridae where Clytemnestra will end up “tearing her to pieces”. Certainly, Cassandra commits suicide but that act is a gesture of glory to save Ilion from being sacked whereas the suicide of Dido is closer to that of a tragic heroine disabused and betrayed by love.
If Cassandra ultimately escapes Eros' fatal arrow and Apollo’s yoke, there is one person in the adventure of Les Troyens that neither love nor poetic inspiration would leave unperturbed until the end of his days, and that was Berlioz himself. For having freed the Princess of Troy, it seems that the composer in turn was subjected to the same curse to which she had fallen victim. Given the little recognition that Carvalho offered the first part of the work, Berlioz declared: “Ô my noble Cassandra, my heroic virgin, I must resign myself to the fact that I will never hear you!... And I am like the young Chorebus, “insano Cassandrae incensus amore.”
1. Dora Leontaridou: “Silences, métamorphoses de la parole et transcendance dans le discours féminin”.
2. Berlioz, Les Troyens Acte II air N°15 Recitative with chorus
© Elisa Haberer / OnP
Berlioz, a total genius
An interview with Philippe Jordan
Les Troyens marks the end of a Berlioz cycle that enabled us to hear Philippe Jordan conduct La Damnation de Faust in 2015 and then Béatrice et Bénédict and Benvenuto Cellini in 2017 and 2018. The Musical Director of the Paris Opera looks back on a voyage that took us into the world of the most revolutionary of the 19th century French composers.
The programming of Les Troyens is symbolic since it was the first opera performed on the stage of the Opera Bastille, and we are currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of the theatre!
Inspired by Virgil’s The Aeneid, Les Troyens recounts the epic story of Aeneas, the Trojan prince and legendary founder of Italy. Could you tell us a little about Berlioz’s quest for an ancient ideal?
This taste for antiquity reminds us of his passion for Gluck’s music which was a staple during his youth…
What are the vocal requirements of the work’s principal roles?
The influence of Gluck is evident in Les Troyens, but there was another composer who was also important for Berlioz, if not more so, and that is Beethoven. Could you tell us a little about what he brought to the art of the French composer?
You mentioned the orchestration. Berlioz himself was the author of a treatise on instrumentation and orchestration...
Berlioz was a composer, a theorist, a critic, and also a dramatist. What can we learn from him about the relationship between text and music?
There is an emblematic figure of 19th century music who forms a link between Berlioz and Wagner. And that is Franz Liszt who helped to promote the art of the French composer and have his music played…
© Pierre Petit - BnF
The story of Les Troyens
The saga behind the composition of Les Troyens continues: after seeing how the opera enabled Berlioz to finally free himself from material contingencies and embrace the life of an artist, we propose that you ponder another aspect of the work: the composer’s relationship with Shakespeare or, in his own words, why Les Troyens is “a grand opera on the Shakespearian model whose subject matter will be the second and fourth book of the Aeneid.”
The birth of epic emotion
When he composed Les Troyens, the challenge for Berlioz was to transform the stirring emotions aroused from reading The Aeneid into a genuine work of art. In his Memoirs Berlioz evokes his passion for Virgil’s poem as a young reader. Beyond the mere memories of childhood, this writing on the self would pave the way for his grand opera. It offered the beginnings of a translation of The Aeneid which underlines both his command of the Latin poem and his profound sensitivity:
“How often have I felt my heart throb and my voice quiver and break when presenting the fourth book of The Aeneid to my father!... One day, I was intensely affected by the sound of my voice uttering the translation of the line:
At regina gravi jamdudum saucia cura
I struggled on bravely until I came to the crisis—where Dido expires on her funeral pyre with the gifts and weapons of Aeneas, her betrayer, heaped around her, and, alas, the familiar couch bathed in her blood; but when I came to the despairing cries of the dying queen, “thrice rising on her elbow and thrice falling back” and had to describe her wounds and the anguish of her heart rent with its fatal passion, the cries of her distraught sister and nurse, and all the tortuous details of her death which moved even the gods to pity, my lips quivered and I could scarcely stammer out the words1”
What initially may have seemed like a lively exercise in reading was in fact the beginning of a translation of The Aeneid and would become the precursor for the composition of Les Troyens. This writing on the self again allows Berlioz to merge with his subject, as demonstrated in the phrases directly translated from Virgil’s work which highlight the distress of the young Hector even more intensely than the agony of the Queen of Carthage.
To accurately transcribe his youthful emotion, Berlioz had to translate Virgil’s text with the same precision. The critics however, were not so enamoured with his translations. Indeed, some saw the work of a schoolboy: “At the time, Berlioz’s evil genie told Berlioz: You will copy me five thousand verses of The Aeneid to teach yourself how to write a libretto! And that’s how he gave us detention lines for an opera2”.
And yet, far from being a mere text for a preparatory literature class, the libretto for Les Troyens is a true poetic tour de force which works to combine the epic with the dramatic. This desire to reconnect with the dramatic dimension of the saga can be observed in certain translation choices, specifically, in the second act when Hector’s ghost appears and says: “Ah!… flee, son of Venus! The enemy holds our walls3”, which Berlioz translated from “Heu fuge, nate dea, teque his, ait, eripe flammis, // Hostis habet muros (he said, flee goddess son and save thee from the fury of this flame // Our enemies now are masters of the walls).4” If Berlioz does not take account of the entire verse, he does seem to offer a more accurate translation of certain expressions than his contemporaries. Case in point: “hostis habet muros” (Our enemies now are masters of the walls) which Félix Lemaistre translated in 1859 in the second edition of his translation of The Aeneid with “The enemy is inside our walls.5” An action verb of the subject “hostis” (enemy), the verb “habeo” (to have) assumes an epic connotation with Berlioz that is linked to the notion of a battle which allows him to dramatize the action. This nuance in the translation also allowed Berlioz to introduce the irreversible journey of the Trojans as they marched towards their destiny. The state of siege leaves him little alternative other than to flee and settle in Italy.
If, for Berlioz, Virgil embodies the epic passion of childhood, Shakespeare is synonymous with the major upheavals of the composer’s career. One cannot determine by reading the twenty-eighth chapter of his Memoirs whether Berlioz fell in love with Harriet Smithson or Shakespeare himself when he went to the Odéon to see Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet in its original language. The Elizabethan playwright became a model of dramatic creation for the composer of symphonies who would henceforth refer to Les Troyens as “a grand opera on the Shakespearian model”. The composer mobilises everything which in Shakespearian tragedy goes against the rules of propriety and plausibility governing classical tragedy. Thus, at the climax of the tragedy, when Dido prepares to kill herself, Berlioz introduces the ludicrous duet of two Trojan sentries (“By Bacchus! They are mad with their Italy!”). Berlioz seizes on the Trojan women’s tragedy-tinged bemoaning about the length of the journey (the fifth book of The Aeneid) and turns it into a duet of bacchanalian lamentations, offering some comic relief before returning to the drama. Under Berlioz’s pen, Virgil and Shakespeare become contemporary. Which is how the famous duet between Dido and Aeneas “Nuit d’ivresse et d’extase infinite” came to be: “I’ve just finished the duet of the fourth act. It’s a scene which I have taken from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and I’ve Virgilized it. Those delightful, sweet nothings between Jessica and Lorenzo were lacking in Virgil. Shakespeare created the scene, I’ve borrowed it and endeavoured to combine the two.6”More romantic than he seems when you listen to his work, Berlioz sought to make grand opera the manifestation of a primary emotion. His “Virgilian grief7” once charged with the power of Shakespearian love at first sight becomes a hybrid emotion that sustained and enlivened both the composition of Les Troyens and its reception. By “plagiarising Virgil and Shakespeare” who for him become two singers8, Berlioz finds the voice which enables him to find fulfilment in the genre of grand opera.
1. Hector Berlioz: Memoirs, “Chapter II” MacMillan and Co. 1884
2. ]Firmin Gillot (engraver) in La vie parisienne in 1863
3. Hector Berlioz, Les Troyens: Act II, first tableau N°12
4. Virgil, The Aeneid, Book II v-689-690
5. Œuvres de Virgile French translation from the Panckouke collection by M. Félix Lemaistre. Tome 1. Garnier Frères, libraires-et éditeurs. 1859 p.
6. Berlioz to Ernest Legouvé, circa June 10, 1856, Correspondance générale, vol. V
7. ]Hector Berlioz: Memoirs, “Chapter II” MacMillan and Co. 1884
8. "It is odd that he, the poet from the North, played a role in the masterpiece of the Roman poet. […] What singers, the pair of them!!!…” Hector Berlioz to Ernest Legouvé, June 10, 1856, Correspondance générale, vol.5
Draw-me Les Troyens
Understand the plot in 1 minute
© Aukje Dekker
Podcast Les Troyens
"Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera" - by France Musique
© Pierre Petit - BnF
A History of the Trojans
“One is insufficiently aware, in general, of the cost of the labour by which the score of an opera is produced, and by what repeated efforts, far more arduous and more agonising still, is its public performance obtained.”
The composition of only three operas have been attributed to Berlioz of which but one “Grand Opera” in the generic sense of the term: The Trojans. The above statement taken from the closing pages of Berlioz’s critical work À travers chants sounds like an appeal to the reader to reconsider his work with indulgence. If one reads his Mémoires, the “thousand torments”, characteristic of the composition of an opera, assailed him constantly, whatever the work in hand. These torments and agonies, Berlioz considered to be characteristic of a period that had lost its faith in art, of a society which, at the opera, was more interested in discussing the stock market than in watching the performance in progress. Those spectators, despite reducing the opera house to the scene of their worldly preoccupations, imposed upon the artist, a “modern Sophocles”, endlessly to recommence without ever assuring his success.
Berlioz imagined himself in the skin of a “happy, powerful, radiant, almost god-like” author, the embodiment, in his view, of a tragic poet of Antiquity like Sophocles. In the composition and the performance of his works, he sought self-fulfilment and aimed to reveal, in the moment of realisation, the instant of inspirational truth. What was at stake in the composition of a grand opera like The Trojans, was a piece of mosaic from a musical portrait that was to bring resonance and logic to an entire tableau rendering him the ultimate dramatic composer of the 19th century.
What the author of Soirées d’orchestre lacked in order to establish himself as an opera composer in the French musical landscape was above all a voice. As a child, Berlioz had had a “pretty soprano voice” (chapter 2 of his Mémoires) and, after abandoning his studies in medicine, auditioned to become a chorister. The young prodigy joined the chorus with the voice of a “mediocre baritone.” In narrating this episode, Berlioz has little compassion for his rivals and even gives the impression of unlimited arrogance when he claims that they sang “not like cowherds but like calves.” Although one can imagine the author’s pleasure in remembering this audition, one should first of all see here a rhetorical procedure permitting him to sketch out his destiny in terms of grand opera. “There was I then, until such time as I could become a damned opera composer, in the chorus of a second rate theatre, passed over and excommunicated right to the very marrow of my bones! I admire the way my parents’ efforts to snatch me back from the abyss were successful!” Berlioz never ceases to dramatise his approach to the voice and then to opera and, in the reader of the Mémoires, seeks to arouse understanding rather than compassion – even when he depicts himself as a composer cursed less by the muses of operatic inspiration as by opera directors and the mediocrity of the artists who peopled Paris at that time. The irony and sarcasm in his writing about himself underpins the sensitivity and genuine pain that he felt throughout his life, a life dedicated to the quest for the “master piece dreamed of in childhood”.
The Temptation of Opera and symphonic creation
Known to music lovers for the revolution he instigated in the genre of the symphony, owing particularly to his Symphonie Fantastique, Berlioz was obsessed by opera in every one of his compositions. This five-act symphonic poem is itself a grand opera whose dramatic action is expressed by the orchestra. However, each time he tackles the operatic genre, Berlioz makes a well-argued denial of the fact, as in the preface to Romeo and Juliet (1839): “There will doubtless be no mistake as to the genre of this work. Although voices are used, this is neither a concert opera nor a cantata, but a symphony with chorus.” He is, however, not the first composer to use a chorus in a symphony, and this prefatory precaution reads, then, like a desire to counter those who might have taxed his use of voices with being dramatic.Already in 1823, the young Berlioz had plunged into the composition of a first opera, a “score as ridiculous, to say the least, as the play and the verse of Gérono” (whom he had asked to write a libretto based on Florian’s Estelle). Ten years later, when Berlioz composed the music for his first opera, Benvenuto Cellini, which was adapted from the life story of the Italian sculptor (La Vita), it was once again the libretto that jeopardised the success of the work. “I had been vividly struck by certain episodes in the life of Benvenuto Cellini, I had the misfortune to believe that they might offer subject matter for an interesting and dramatic opera, I begged Léon de Waily and Auguste Barbier, that dreadful poet of iambs to write me a libretto based on them. Their work, if I am to believe our mutual friends, does not include the elements necessary to what is called a “well-made” drama.” These mutual friends also, under the author’s pen, become but the wranglings of inner voices tending to raise him to the rank of opera composer. Was there room for anyone else in Berlioz’s creative process?
The Trojans: the artist liberated at a cost: the voices of others
For Berlioz to produce an opera and fulfil himself as a “happy, powerful, radiant” artist one voice was missing: his own. In The Trojans, it is not his “pretty soprano voice” that the author wishes to find again, still less his “mediocre baritone”, but that which from childhood onwards “wavered and cracked” on reading the fourth book of the Aenead. As a “masterpiece dreamed of in childhood and accomplished through experience” (Rémy Sticker), The Trojans leaves no room for any other voice but his own: “As I have already said, if I am to organise the performance of a great work such as this one in a suitable manner, I must have total mastery of the theatre as I have of the orchestra when I rehearse a symphony; I must have the willing cooperation of all and everyone must obey me without the slightest comment.” Berlioz dreamed of the absolute. A “total work of art” (sacrilege – he would never have used this expression) requires a total artist - unfettered genius. Music, libretto, staging, lights, everything is the composer’s business.However, Berlioz very nearly failed ever to produce the piece of mosaic that would give meaning to his musical life as a whole. Once again, this reticence is the expression of his fear of the opera genre, and more particularly of the way he perceived the institutional maltreatment of operatic works in his 19th century. Thus, one reads in the dedication addressed to the Princess of Wayn-Wittgenstein with which the score of The Trojans begins: “I had just spoken of my desire to write a vast operatic composition based on the fourth book of the Aenead. I added that I would studiously avoid undertaking it, knowing all too well the grief that such a work would necessarily occasion me in France, in our day, with our strange literary and musical habits, and the puerile instincts of the mob.” The composer was, in that moment of reflection, in full possession of his work, it was his own in the sense that he recognised himself in it, was fulfilled by it but he agonised – less over the manner with which the public might receive it as over how the theatres were going to treat it.
Berlioz never was the absolute master in the theatre as he wished to be. His voice was altered not by the inspiration and the emotion that accompanied it but by the choices made by the theatre director, Léon Carvalho, to whom Berlioz entrusted the staging. During his lifetime, Berlioz never heard the Capture of Troy; having found the work too long and ill-adapted for the stage, Carvalho amputated the first part and offered the public only one episode from Antiquity, a passage more common in opera since Purcell, the meeting between Dido and Aeneas. Berlioz recounts with humour all the modifications that were demanded of him and to which he finally consented:
“Carvalho persisted with incredible determination, in spite of my resistance, in cutting the scene between Narbal and Anna, the dance aria and the sentinels’ duet, the familiarity of which seemed to him incompatible with the epic style. Iopas’s verses disappeared with my consent, because the singer cast in the role was incapable of singing them well. It was the same with the duet between Aeneas and Dido: I had acknowledged the inadequacy of Madame Charton’s voice in this violent scene which tired the artist to the point at which she no longer had the strength, in the fifth act, to sing the formidable recitative: “Dieux immortels! il part!” and her last aria and the sacrificial pyre scene. Finally, Hylas’s song which had been found highly pleasing during the initial performances and which the young Cabel sang well, disappeared whilst I was laid up in bed afflicted with bronchitis. Cabel was required in the piece that was to be played the night following the performances of The Trojans and as his contract only obliged him to sing fifteen times a month, he would have had to have been paid two hundred francs for each additional evening.”
In these lines, the operatic institution seems to be solely responsible for the tribulations of the composer, who claims to have undergone an ordeal and speaks of his work as a “score carved up, in the music merchant’s shop window, like a calf on a butcher’s block, of which small bits are cut off as one might sell little scraps of meat to regale the porters’ cats!” It is true that the critics were scarcely merciful towards the work’s premiere performance. However, what Berlioz depicted as a failure was far from being any such thing. “Les Troyens à Carthage had only twenty-one performances”. For the period, this number is far from derisory and did not by any means represent a failure for the Théâtre Lyrique. Indeed, Berlioz himself received considerable honours as a result of these performances. He evoked particularly a series of concerts in which extracts from The Trojans were performed – concerts which he attended incognito but at which he was quickly recognised and acclaimed. But the greatest honour that the composer drew from The Trojans at the Théâtre Lyrique was, ironically, institutional and social. Being both the work’s composer and its librettist, Berlioz received royalties permitting him to end his collaboration with the Journal des débats and thus divest himself of the mask of critic so as finally to live by his art.“At last, at last, after thirty years of slavery, here I am free! I have no more articles to write, no more platitudes to justify, no more mediocre people to praise, no more indignation to suppress, no more lies, no more play-acting, no more cowardly compliance, I am free! I need never set foot in an opera house again, never speak of them, never hear about them, never even laugh over what they’re cooking up in those musical chop houses! Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!! It is to The Trojans, at least, that this unhappy scribbler owes his deliverance.”
With the support of the Cercle Berlioz
Sponsor of the Paris Opera initiatives for young people and of the avant-premières
Sponsor of the Paris Opera's audiovisual broadcasts
Ce spectacle fait l’objet d’une captation réalisée par Andy Sommer, coproduite par l’Opéra national de Paris, BelAir Média et Arte, avec le soutien du CNC et de la Fondation Orange, mécène des retransmissions audiovisuelles de l’Opéra national de Paris. This performance will be broadcast near-live on ARTE and ARTE Concert on January 31 at 10:45 pm, as part of Arte Opera's first European opera season.
Radiodiffusion sur France Musique ultérieurement.
Media and technical partners
Coproducer and broadcaster
Distributor TV international