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date: 21 November 2019

Richard Coeur-de-lion (‘Richard the Lionheart’)locked

  • David Charlton

Extract

(‘Richard the Lionheart’)

Comédie mise en musique in three acts by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry to a libretto by Michel-Jean Sedaine after an anonymous account in the Bibliothèque universelle des romans, ii (July 1776), pp.163–94; Paris, Comédie-Italienne (Salle Favart), 21 October 1784 (revised in four acts, Fontainebleau, 25 October 1785).

The opera is set in the environs of Linz Castle, around the year 1193. Peasants are returning home for the night. Blondel (baritone), a troubadour and squire to King Richard (tenor), enters in disguise and feigning blindness. A local boy, Antonio (soprano), guides him and goes to find him lodgings. Blondel, alone, thinks the castle may hold Richard: he sings of the master he seeks (‘O Richard! ô mon Roi!’), who has been imprisoned during his return from the Third Crusade. The expatriate Welsh knight Williams (bass) and his daughter Laurette (soprano) live close by. Blondel has intercepted a letter to Laurette: its contents reveal to him that its author is Florestan (baritone), the castle governor who is courting Laurette, and that there is a secret, important prisoner. After Laurette’s account of her love, and Blondel’s reply (‘Un bandeau couvre les yeux’), a retinue of knights and ladies enters together with Marguerite of Flanders (soprano). Blondel recognizes her as Richard’s declared love, and plays on his violin the ...

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