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Fromental Halevy
 
 

Jacques-François-Fromental-Élie Halévy
 
 
Jacques-François-Fromental-Elie Halevy, usually known as Fromental Halévy (French: [fʁɔmɑ̃tal alevi]; 27 May 1799 – 17 March 1862), was a French composer. He is known today largely for his opera La Juive.
 
Early career
Halévy was born in Paris, son of the cantor Élie Halfon Halévy, who was the secretary of the Jewish community of Paris and a writer and teacher of Hebrew, and a French Jewish mother. The name Fromental, by which he was generally known, reflects that he was born on the feast-day of that name, 7 Prairial, in the French Revolutionary calendar, which was still operative at that time. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the age of nine or ten (accounts differ), in 1809, becoming a pupil and later protégé of Cherubini. After two second-place attempts, he won the Prix de Rome in 1819: his cantata subject was Herminie. As he had to delay his departure to Rome because of the death of his mother, he was able to accept the first commission that brought him to public attention: a Marche Funèbre et De Profundis en Hébreu for three part choir, tenor and orchestra, which was commissioned by the Consistoire Israélite du Département de la Seine, for a public service in memory of the assassinated duc de Berry, performed on 24 March 1820. Later, his brother Léon recalled that the De Profundis, "infused with religious fervor, created a sensation, and attracted interest to the young laureate of the institute." Halévy was chorus master at the Théâtre Italien, while he struggled to get an opera performed. Despite the mediocre reception of L'artisan, at the Opéra-Comique in 1827, Halévy moved on to be chorus master at the Opéra. The same year he became professor of harmony and accompaniment at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he was professor of counterpoint and fugue in 1833 and of composition in 1840. He had many notable students, See: List of music students by teacher: G to M#Fromental Halévy.
 
 
La Juive
With his opera La Juive, in 1835, Halévy attained not only his first major triumph, but gave the world a work that was to be one of the cornerstones of the French repertory for a century, with the role of Eléazar one of the great favorites of tenors such as Enrico Caruso. The opera's most famous aria is Eléazar's "Rachel, quand du Seigneur". Its orchestral ritornello is the one quotation from Halévy that Berlioz included in his Treatise on Instrumentation, for its unusual duet for two cors anglais. It is probable however that this aria was inserted only at the request of the great tenor Adolphe Nourrit, who premiered the role and may have suggested the aria's text. La Juive is one of the grandest of grand operas, with major choruses, a spectacular procession in Act I, and impressive celebrations in Act III. It culminates with the heroine plunging into a vat of boiling water in Act V. Mahler admired it greatly, stating: "I am absolutely overwhelmed by this wonderful, majestic work. I regard it as one of the greatest operas ever created".

Other admirers included Wagner, who wrote an enthusiastic review of Halévy's grand operas for the German press in 1841 (Wagner never showed towards Halévy the anti-Jewish animus that was so notorious a feature of his writings on Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn).
 
 

Jacques-François-Fromental-Élie Halévy
  Later career[
Halévy was elected to the Institut de France in 1836, but after La Juive,his real successes were relatively few, although at least three operas, L'éclair, La reine de Chypre and Charles VI received some critical and popular acclaim. Heine commented that Halévy was an artist, but 'without the slightest spark of genius'.
He became however a leading bureaucrat of the arts, becoming Secretary of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and presiding over committees to determine the standard pitch of orchestral A, to award prizes for operettas, and so on. The artist Delacroix offers a chilling portrait of Halévy's decline in his diaries (5 February 1855):

I went on to Halévy’s house, where the heat from his stove was suffocating. His wretched wife has crammed his house with bric-a-brac and old furniture, and this new craze will end by driving him to a lunatic asylum. He has changed and looks much older, like a man who is being dragged on against his will. How can he possibly do serious work in this confusion? His new position at the Academy must take up a great deal of his time, and make it more and more difficult for him to find the peace and quiet he needs for his work. Left that inferno as quickly as possible. The breath of the streets seemed positively delicious.

Halévy's cantata Prométhée enchaîné was premiered in 1849 at the Paris Conservatoire, and is generally considered the first mainstream western orchestral composition to use quarter tones.

 
 
Halévy died in retirement at Nice in 1862, aged 62, leaving his last opera, Noé, unfinished. It was completed by his former student Georges Bizet, but was not performed until 10 years after Bizet's own death. Bizet married Halévy's daughter Geneviève in 1869. After his death she became a famous salonnière.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
Halevy: "La Juive" - 1835
 

La Juive (French pronunciation: ​[la ʒɥiv]) (The Jewess) is a grand opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy to an original French libretto by Eugène Scribe; it was first performed at the Opéra, Paris, on 23 February 1835.

 
Composition history
La Juive was one of the most popular and admired operas of the 19th century. Its libretto was the work of Eugène Scribe, one of the most prolific dramatic authors of the time. Scribe was writing to the tastes of the Opéra de Paris, where the work was first performed – a work in five acts presenting spectacular situations (here the Council of Constance of 1414), which would allow a flamboyant staging in a setting which brought out a dramatic situation which was also underlined by a powerful historical subject. In addition to this, there could be choral interludes, ballet and scenic effects which took advantage of the entire range of possibilities available at the Paris Opera. Because of the story of an impossible love between a Christian man and a Jewish woman, the work has been seen by some as a plea for religious tolerance, in much the same spirit as Nathan the Wise, which premiered in 1779,[2][3] Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots which premiered in 1836, a year after La Juive, as well as the 1819 novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott which deals with the same theme. At the time of composition, the July Monarchy had liberalised religious practices in France. Meyerbeer and Halévy were both Jewish, and storylines dealing with topics of tolerance were common in their operas. However, reviews of the initial performances show that journalists of the period responded to the liberalism and to the perceived anti-clericalism of Scribe's text, rather than to any specifically Jewish theme.

Some believe that the libretto of La Juive has a goal of reconsidering the status of Jews in French society. Others believe that the clichéd portrayal of the Jew Eléazar as secretive, vengeful and materialistic does not bear out this interpretation.
 
Cornélie Falcon as Rachel (1835).
Portrait by A. Colin.
 
 
Performance history
The opera's first, ornate production, costing 150,000 francs, was conducted by François Habeneck. The performances of the soprano Cornélie Falcon in the title role and the dramatic tenor Adolphe Nourrit as Eléazar were particularly noted.

Nourrit had significant influence on the opera: Eléazar, originally conceived as a bass part, was rewritten for him, and it appears that it was largely his idea to end act 4 not with a traditional ensemble, but with the aria "Rachel, quand du seigneur" for which he may also have suggested the text.
 
 
The production was notable for its lavishness, including the on-stage organ in Act I, the enormous supporting cast, and the unprecedentedly elaborate decor. Richard Wagner, who admired La Juive, may have 'borrowed' from it the act 1 organ effect, for his 1868 opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Moreover, Eléazar's tapping at his goldsmith's work is echoed by Hans Sachs's cobbling during Die Meistersinger.

La Juive enjoyed an international success comparable to that of Meyerbeer's grand operas. It made its American premiere at the Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans on 13 February 1844. The work was also used for the inaugural performance at the newly constructed Palais Garnier in Paris on 5 January 1875 (the title role was sung by Gabrielle Krauss).

The opera was produced by New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1919 as a vehicle for its star tenor, Enrico Caruso. Eléazar was the last role Caruso sang prior to his death in 1921. Giovanni Martinelli succeeded Caruso in the role at the Met and both he and Caruso recorded the opera's best known aria, "Rachel! Quand du seigneur".

The opera was programmed regularly until the 1930s. Modern revivals have been staged at the Vienna State Opera (1999), the Metropolitan Opera (2003), La Fenice in Venice (2005), the Paris Opera (2007), the Zurich Opera House (2007), the Staatstheater Stuttgart (2008), De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam (2009), the Tel Aviv (Israel) Opera (2010) and the Göteborg Opera (2014).
In Zurich, the action was changed from the 15th century to late 19th century France when anti-Semitism was rampant during the Dreyfus affair. In addition, the Royal Opera, London presented concert performances at The Barbican in 2006, with Dennis O'Neill and Marina Poplavskaya singing the roles of Eléazar and Rachel.

  Synopsis
The synopsis below reflects the original version of the opera. Modern performing versions often somewhat adapt this storyline for convenience.

Place: Constance
Time: 1414
Events before the opera begins
The following is a summary of events which took place before the first act of the opera, some of which are only revealed in the course of the action.

When he was young, the Jew Eléazar had lived in Italy near Rome and witnessed the condemnation and executions of his sons as heretics by Count Brogni. Eléazar himself was banished and forced to flee to Switzerland.

During his journey, Eléazar found a baby near death, abandoned inside a burnt-out house which turned out to be the home of the Count. Bandits had set fire to the house, attempting to kill the entire family of Brogni but unaware that the Count himself was in Rome at the time. Eléazar took the child, a girl, and raised her as his own daughter, naming her Rachel. Brogni discovered the ruins of his house and the bodies of his family upon his return. He subsequently became a priest and later a cardinal. At the beginning of the opera, in 1414 Rachel (now a young woman) is living with her adopted father in the city of Constance.

The forces of the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund have defeated the Hussites, in battles where Prince Leopold has distinguished himself. The Council of Constance, convened by Antipope John XXIII, has been arranged to resolve Church matters.
John XXIII is represented there by Cardinal Gian Francesco Brogni, who was a historical personage. His part in the story of the opera is, however, entirely fictional.

 
 

Act 1 of the original 1835 production, design by Charles Séchan, Léon Feuchère, Jules Dieterle, and Edouard Desplechin
 
 
Act 1
A square in the city of Constance in 1414

Eléazar is a goldsmith. The crowd condemns him for working during a day dedicated to Church festivities. He is saved from a lynching by the arrival of Brogni, who in the process recognises Eléazar as his old adversary.

Prince Léopold arrives in disguise as a young Jewish artist Samuel. Rachel is in love with Samuel and knows nothing of his true identity. Local laws reflect prejudice against the Jews: if a Jew and a Christian have sexual relations, the Christian is excommunicated and the Jew is killed. Léopold is thus taking a great risk in this affair, especially as he is already married to the Princess Eudoxie. The crowd returns to attack Eléazar, but 'Samuel' secretly instructs his troops to calm things down. The act closes with a grand triumphal procession.

Act 2
Inside the house of Éléazar

Rachel has invited 'Samuel' for the Passover celebration in Eléazar's house. He is present while Eléazar and the other Jews sing their Passover prayers. Rachel becomes anxious when she notices that 'Samuel' refuses to eat the piece of unleavened bread that she has given him. He reveals to her that he is a Christian, without telling her his true identity. Rachel is horrified and reminds him of the terrible consequences of such a relationship.

Princess Eudoxie enters to order from Eléazar a valuable jewel as a present for her husband, at which point Samuel (Prince Léopold) hides.

After Eudoxie leaves, Léopold promises to take Rachel away with him. She tries to resist, worrying about abandoning her father, but as she is about to succumb to his advances, they are confronted by Eléazar, who curses Léopold before the latter runs off.

  Act 3
Magnificent gardens

Rachel, who has followed 'Samuel' to the Palace, offers her services as a lady's maid to Princess Eudoxie. Eléazar arrives at the palace to deliver the jewel. He and Rachel recognise Léopold as 'Samuel'. Rachel declares before the assembly that Léopold seduced her and she, Eléazar and Léopold are arrested and placed in prison, on the instructions of Cardinal Brogni.

Act 4
A Gothic interior

Princess Eudoxie asks to see Rachel in prison, and persuades her to withdraw her allegations. Rachel agrees; Cardinal Brogni agrees to commute Léopold's sentence, and to spare Rachel and Eléazar if they convert. Eléazar at first answers that he would rather die, but then makes plans to avenge himself. He reminds the Cardinal of the fire in his house near Rome many years before and tells the Cardinal that his infant daughter did not die.

He says that she was saved by a Jew and that only he knows who he is. If he dies, his secret will die with him. Cardinal Brogni begs him to tell him where his daughter is, but in vain.

Eléazar sings of the vengeance that he will have in dying, but he suddenly remembers that he will be responsible for the death of Rachel. The only way to save her is to admit that the Cardinal is her father and that she is not Jewish but Christian.

The act ends with the opera's most famous aria, Eléazar's 'Rachel, quand du Seigneur'. He does not want to sacrifice Rachel to his hatred of Christians, and renounces his revenge.

However, when he hears the cries from a pogrom in the streets, he decides that God wants him to bear witness in death with his daughter to the God of Israel.

 
 

Design for Act 5 of the original 1835 production
 
 
Act 5
A large tent supported by Gothic columns

Eléazar and Rachel are brought to the gallows where they will be thrown into a cauldron of boiling water. Rachel is terrified. Eléazar explains that she can be saved if she converts to Christianity. She refuses and climbs to the gallows before him. As the people are singing various prayers, Cardinal Brogni asks Eléazar if his own daughter is still alive. Eléazar says that she is and when Cardinal Brogni asks where she can be found, Eléazar points to the cauldron, saying "There she is!" He then climbs to his own death while the Cardinal falls on his knees. The opera ends with a chorus of monks, soldiers and the people singing "It is done and we are avenged on the Jews!"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
 
 
"La juive" - Halévy Shicoff Stoyanova Wiena 2003
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jacques Fromental Halévy - La Juive
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jacques Fromental Halévy - La Juive - Ouverture
 
La Juive, grand opera in five acts, first performance 23 February 1835, Grand Opéra, Paris.

Libretto: Eugène Scribe

Ouverture

Orchestra: Chor & Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Conductor: Simone Young

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Roberto Alagna - Halévy - La Juive - Versailles - 2009
 
"Rachel, quand du Seigneur", Jacques Fromental Halévy, La Juive, Versailles, 9/07/2009

Orchestre de Paris / Michel Plasson

Rachel, quand du Seigneur
La grâce tutélaire
A mes tremblantes mains confia ton berceau,
J'avais à ton bonheur
Voué ma vie entière.
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau!
J'avais à ton bonheur
Voué ma vie entière,
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau,
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau!
Mais j'entends une voix qui me crie:
Sauvez-moi de la mort qui m'attend!
Je suis jeune et je tiens à la vie,
Ô mon père épargnez votre enfant,
Je suis jeune et je tiens à la vie,
Ô mon père, ô mon père, épargnez votre enfant!
Ah! Rachel, quand du Seigneur
La grâce tutélaire
A mes tremblantes mains confia ton berceau,
J'avais à ton bonheur
Voué ma vie entière.
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau,
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau!
Et c'est moi qui te livre au bourreau,
Rachel, je te livre au bourreau!
Rachel, c'est moi, moi,
moi qui te livre au bourreau!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Halévy La Juive - aria di Eleazar "Rachel..." Neil Shicoff
 
Wiener Staatsoper 2003 - Neil Shicoff
sings the wanderful aria "Rachel, quand du Seigneur..."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enrico Caruso Rachael, quand du Seigneur La Juive Halévy
 
Enrico Caruso (born Errico Caruso; February 25, 1873 August 2, 1921). This is a perfect example of a tenor with completely developed and coordinated registers who also knew how to cover correctly. This is one of his later recordings and his voice had gotten darker and heavier in the best of ways. Simply amazing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Plácido Domingo - Rachel, quand du Seigneur
 
The Three Tenors in Concert - Live in Paris (1998)
Conductor: James Levine
With Orchestre de Paris
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARIO DEL MONACO "Rachel, quand du Seigneur" La Juive
 
Mario del Monaco sings "Rachel, quand du Seigneur"
from La Juive by Fromental Halévy (1799-1862)
Orchestra dell`Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma
Alberto Erede, conductor
Roma VIII. 1953
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rachel quand du seigneur - Jose Carreras debut - 1981
 
Increible interpretacion de esta aria de la opera La Juive, en el año de su debut en este rol, acompañado de Siepi, Tokody en Viena el año 1981
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jacques Halévy La juive - Scène et Duo Eudoxie - Rachel
 
Jacques Halévy La juive ( «Жидовка»)
Элеазар - В.Алешков
Рахиль - Дж.Герминтайте
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Halévy, "La Juive". Act IV, duo Eudoxie (Elizabeth Futral) - Rachel (Soile Isokoski)
 
Live performance at New York Metropolitan Opera.
Halévy, "La Juive", act IV, scène I.
Princess Eudoxie: Elizabeth Futral
Rachel: Soile Isokoski
Conductor: Marcello Viotti.
MET, 13 dec. 2003

Un appartement gothique

16. Scène et Duo

Eudoxie
Du cardinal voici l'ordre suprême;
Il me permet de voir Rachel quelques instants!
Mon Dieu, pour délivrer l'infidèle que j'aime
Viens soutenir ma voix et dicter mes accents!
Que je sauve ses jours et puis qu'après je meure!

Rachel
Pourquoi m'arrachez-vous à ma sombre demeure?
M'apportez vous la mort qu'appelle mes souhaits?
Que vois-je ô ciel! mon ennemie!

Eudoxie
Une ennemie, hélas! qui te supplie!

Rachel
Que peut-il entre nous exister désormais?

Eudoxie
Pour moi je ne veux rien, mais pour lui seul je tremble!
Ce concile terrible en ce moment s'assemble,
Personne excepté vous ne pourrait désarmer ces juges impitoyables,
Ils le condamneront!..

Rachel
Ils sont donc équitables,
J'estime les chrétiens et je vais les aimer!

Eudoxie
Ah! que ma voix plaintive
oui que ma voix plaintive
fléchisse votre coeur
fléchisse votre coeur!
Ô vous, mon ennemie,
Accordez moi sa vie
Et prenez mon bonheur,
Accordez moi sa vie
Et prenez mon bonheur!

Rachel
Moi! permettre qu'il vive?
Moi! permettre qu'il vive?
Quand de la pauvre Juive
Il a brisé le coeur?
Non, que ma triste vie
Près de lui soit finie
Près de lui soit finie,
C'est là mon seul bonheur,
C'est là mon seul bonheur!

/ Eudoxie
| Ô vous, mon ennemie,
| Accordez moi sa vie
| Et prenez mon bonheur,
| Prenez, prenez, mon bonheur!
| Rachel, Rachel accordez moi sa vie.
| Rachel
| Non, que ma triste vie
| Près de lui soit finie,
| C'est là mon seul bonheur,
| C'est là mon seul bonheur, oui, oui!
\ non

Eudoxie
Vous pouvez le soustraire à l'arret implacable,
En declarant ici qu'il n'était pas coupable.

Rachel
Pas coupable!
Sais-tu qu'il avilit mes jours?
Sais-tu que je l'aimais, que je l'aime toujours?

Eudoxie
Entendez-vous et ce signal affreux,
Ce bruit, ces pas tumultueux?
C'est lui, c'est lui que l'on traîne au concile!
Si vous tardez, tout devient inutile,
Il meurt!

Rachel
Ô ciel!

Eudoxie
Il meurt!

Rachel
Ô ciel!

Eudoxie
Rendez-vous à mes voeux, à mes voeux!
/ Rachel, Rachel, entends mes voeux!
| Dieu tutélaire,
| Ah! reçois ma prière,
| Dieu tutélaire,
| Ah! sauve ses jours!
| Rachel
| Que faire? ô Dieu!
| Dieu tutélaire,
| Toi qui vois ma misère,
| Dieu tutélaire,
\ A toi, j'ai recours!

Eudoxie
Ah! pour moi peine extrême,
/ Oui, je sens que je l'aime,
| Rachel
\ Oui,
Eudoxie, Rachel
Hélas! je l'aime
Et pour toujours!

Rachel
Ah! pour moi peine extrême,
/ Oui, je sens que je l'aime toujours!
| Eudoxie
\ Et pour toujours!

Eudoxie
Rachel, qu'ici j'obtienne
Grâce et pardon de ton coeur irrité!

Rachel
Il ne sera pas dit qu'une femme chrétienne
Sur une Juive en rien l'ait emporté!
Eudoxie
Ah! Eudoxie, Rachel
Dieu tutélaire,
Ah! reçois ma prière,
Dieu tutélaire,
Ah! sauve ses jours!
Rachel
Ah pour moi peine extrême,
/ Oui, je sens que je l'aime,
| Eudoxie
\ Oui,
Eudoxie, Rachel
Hélas! je l'aime
Et pour toujours!

Rachel
Ah pour moi peine extrême,
Oui, je sens que je l'aime,

Eudoxie, Rachel
Hélas! hélas! je l'aime, hélas! je l'aime
/ Eudoxie
| Et pour toujours!
| Hélas! je l'aime
| Et pour toujours,
| oui, pour toujours!
| Rachel
| Et pour toujours,
| Et pour toujours!
| Hélas! je l'aime
| Et pour toujours,
\ et pour toujours!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Julia Varady - Il va venir! (La Juive)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annick Massis - La Juive
 
Annick Massis - La Juive - Paris - 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Halévy: Il va venir! (La Juive) - Régine Crespin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anna Caterina Antonacci - La Juive - 2007
 
 
 
 
 
     
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