Boieldieu by Louis Léopold
Boilly, circa 1800 (Musée de Rouen).
(born Dec. 16, 1775, Rouen, France—died Oct. 8, 1834, Jarsy),
composer who helped transform the French opéra comique into
a more serious form of early romantic opera.
Boieldieu studied in Rouen under the organist Charles Broche
and composed numerous operas and piano sonatas. His sonatas
are remarkable for their form, and they constitute the first
important body of piano works by a French composer. In 1796
he settled in Paris, where he met Étienne Méhul and Luigi
Cherubini. The following year he produced three comic
operas—La Famille suisse, L’Heureuse nouvelle, and Le Pari
ou Mombreuil et Merville.
He became professor of piano at the conservatory in 1798 and
composed his successful operas Le Calife de Bagdad (1800)
and Ma Tante Aurore (1803). From 1804 to 1810 he directed
the opera at St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1816 he became
director of music to Louis XVIII, in 1817 a member of the
French Institute, and in 1820 professor of composition at
His main operas of this period were Jean de Paris (1812), Le
Petit Chaperon rouge (1818; “Little Red Riding Hood”), and
his masterpiece, La Dame blanche (1825; “The White Lady”).
Composed on a libretto by Eugène Scribe, derived from Sir
Walter Scott’s novels The Lady of the Lake, Guy Mannering,
and Monastery, it had received 1,700 performances by 1914.
Boieldieu’s work illustrates the evolution of French
operatic music in the generation following the French
In its lighter aspects, his
style was compared to Gioacchino Rossini’s. His scenes of
mystery and romance, particularly in La Dame blanche, are
akin to those of Carl Maria von Weber. He also composed
numerous romances for voice and harp or piano and a concerto
for harp (1801).
François-Adrien Boieldieu, etching after
Henri-François Riesener, Bibliothèque national de France.
La dame blanche (The White
Lady) - 1825
La dame blanche (The White
Lady) is an opéra comique in three acts by the French
composer François-Adrien Boieldieu. The libretto was written
by Eugène Scribe and is based on episodes from no less than
five works of the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott,
including his novels The Monastery, Guy Mannering, and The
Abbot. The opera has typical elements of the Romantic in its
Gothic mode, including an exotic Scottish locale, a lost
heir, a mysterious castle, a hidden fortune, and a ghost, in
this case benevolent. The work was one of the first attempts
to introduce the fantastic into opera and is a model for
works such as Giacomo Meyerbeer's Robert le diable and
Charles Gounod's Faust. The opera's musical style also
heavily influenced later operas like Lucia di Lammermoor, I
puritani and La jolie fille de Perth.
La dame blanche was first performed on 10 December 1825 by
the Opéra-Comique at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris. It was a
major success and became a standby of the 19th century
operatic repertory in France and Germany. By 1862, the
Opéra-Comique had given more than 1,000 performances of La
It was first performed in
England in English as The White Lady at the Drury Lane
Theatre on 9 October 1826, and in the United States in
French at the Théâtre d'Orléans on 6 February 1827.
The opera's popularity
began to diminish towards the very end of the 19th century
and performances since have been rare. The opera was revived
in Paris in 1996 by the conductor Marc Minkowski. Various
recordings of the opera have been made.
The overture was put
together from Boieldieu's themes by his student Adolphe
Boieldieu's score is highly expressive and full of striking
numbers. Of particular note are Jenny's ballad, Brown's
entrance aria and the music sung by Anna, which is highly
florid and preceded by harp arpeggios whenever the White
Lady appears. The central dramatic focus of the opera is the
auction scene, an ensemble in the Italian style which has an
intensity not equalled or surpassed by any other opéra
comique of that period, either by Boieldieu or his
contemporaries. The aria from the opera that is most often
performed today in recital is the tenor aria, "Viens,
gentille dame" ("Come, Gentle Lady"). The opera also makes
use of Scottish folk tunes.
The Count and Countess Avenel have both died in exile,
leaving the fate of their castle and estate to their wicked
and dishonest steward, Gaveston. The property is supposed to
go to the Avenel's son, Julien, but he is missing. Dickson,
a tenant farmer on the land of the late Count, and his
spouse Jenny are about to celebrate the baptism of their
infant son when they realize that they do not have a
godfather. A youthful officer in the English army, Georges
Brown, offers to assume this role. Dickson informs Brown
that the castle is going to be auctioned by Gaveston, who
hopes to buy it and the title for himself. Jenny sings the
Ballad of The White Lady ("D’ici voyez ce beau domaine"),
the "White Lady" being the guardian spirit of the Avenels.
Dickson receives correspondence from the White Lady,
beckoning him to the castle. As he is too frightened to
obey, Brown goes in his place.
Meanwhile, Anna, an orphan
raised by the Avenels, tells the elderly housekeeper
Marguerite how she cared for an injured soldier who reminded
her of Julien, who was her childhood sweetheart. Gaveston
proclaims his plans for the auction the next morning. Brown
appears, seeking shelter for the night. Left alone, he sings
the cavatina, "Viens, gentille dame". Anna enters, disguised
as The White Lady, in a white veil. She recognizes Brown as
the soldier she took care of in Hanover. Tomorrow he must
obey her implicitly. Brown agrees to do so.
The following morning the
auction takes place. On behalf of the Avenel tenants,
Dickson bets in opposition to Gaveston but quickly reaches
his limit. Encouraged by Anna to help Dickson out, Brown
places a bid in the auction and soon outbids the steward,
buying the castle for 500,000 francs. However, Dickson does
not have the money and if he does not pay before midday he
will be thrown into prison.
Anna and Marguerite look
for the statue of the White Lady, in which is stashed the
wealth of the Avenels. Brown has a curious feeling that he
somehow remembers the castle. Meanwhile, Gaveston receives
the news that George Brown is in fact the missing Julien
Avenel, although Brown himself does not know it. Anna
overhears the news and sets a plan in motion. At the strike
of 12 noon, the White Lady appears with a treasure chest.
Thwarted, Gaveston tears off her veil in rage to expose
Anna, who then reveals Brown's true identity as Julien.
Julien and Anna are happily reunited.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boieldieu: La Dame
blanche - Paris, 1961 (Sénéchal, Legros, Louvay, Berbié;
Gaveston: Adrien Legros
Dickson: Aimé Doniat
Anna: Françoise Louvay
Jenny: Jane Berbié
Marguerite Germaine Baudoz
Mac Irton: Pierre Héral
Orchestre Symphonique et Choeurs de Paris
dir. Pierre Stoll
François-Adrien Boïeldieu - La Dame
blanche - Ouverture
La Dame blanche, opéra comique in
three acts, first performance 10 December 1825, Opéra-Comique,
Libretto: Eugène Scribe, after Sir
Walter Scotts Georg Mannering
Orchestra: Radio Symphonieorchester
François-Adrien Boieldieu - IL CALIFFO DI BAGDAD
- Rai Milano,
30.07.1955 - RARE RECORDING
con Rodolfo Moraro, Anna Maria Rota,
Irene Gasperoni, Liliana Poli, Arturo La Porta, Mario Carlin, Egidio
Casolari e con Ernesto Calindri, Rina Centa, Enrica Corti, Emanuela
Dariva, Carlo Delfini. Orchestra Sinfonica e coro della Rai. Milano,
François-Adrien Boïeldieu - Le
calife de Bagdad - Ouverture
Le calife de Bagdad, opéra comique in
one acts, first peformance 16 September 1800, Opéra-Comique, Paris.
Libretto: Saint-Juste; Claude
Orchestra: Radio Symphonieorchester
Conductor: Ondrej Lenard
François-Adrien Boïeldieu -
Zoraime Et Zulnar - Ouverture
Zoraime Et Zulnar, opéra
comique in three acts, first performance 10 May 1798,
Opéra-Comique Favart, Paris.
Libretto: Claude Godard
d'Aucort de Saint-Just
Orchestra: English Chamber
Conductor: Richard Bonynge
François Boieldieu - Concerto
for Harp and Orchestra (Sasha Boldachev)
Rondeau Allegro agitato
Boieldieu's Concerto is in three movements, written at the
age of twenty. The third section is marked as Allegro
Baltazar Juárez is Solo harpist of the National Symphony
Orchestra of Mexico.
Evan Mitchell is Conducting the Vancouver Symphony
This concert was presented at 11th World Harp Congress at
Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.
F. A. BOIELDIEU : SONATA
clar. & piano
Wilfried Berk, clarinet /
Elisabeth Berk-Seiz, piano
(16 December 1775, Rouen -- 8 October 1834, Varennes-Jarcy,
Essonne) was a French composer, mainly of operas, often
called "the French Weber".
Sonata in E flat major /
Sonata em Mib majeur
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andantino con variazioni
(first world recording / première enregistrement mondiale)
LP Musik in Herrenhausen (2)
Leuenhagen & Paris