Jongleur de Notre-Dame, Le (‘The Juggler of Notre Dame’)
- Rodney Milnes
(‘The Juggler of Notre Dame’)
Miracle in three acts by Jules Massenet to a libretto by Maurice Léna based on the medieval legend as recounted by Anatole France in his collection of stories L’étui de nacre (1892); Monte Carlo, Opéra, 18 February 1902.
Le jongleur was the first of the series of Massenet operas that were first performed in Monte Carlo (the remaining six included Chérubin, Thérèse and Don Quichotte). The circumstances leading up to the première are unclear; the composer wrote in his memoirs that it resulted from a chance meeting with the impresario Raoul Gunsbourg, but it seems more likely that Gunsbourg made the first – financially very tempting – approach and that the composer then had to extricate himself from an existing agreement with Albert Carré at the Opéra-Comique, where the work received its first Paris performance two years later. In both cities the title role was taken by Adolphe Maréchal, creator of Julien in Charpentier’s ...