Vêpres siciliennes, Les [I vespri siciliani (‘The Sicilian Vespers’)]
- Roger Parker
[I vespri siciliani (‘The Sicilian Vespers’)]
Opéra in five acts by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier after their libretto Le duc d’Albe; Paris, Opéra, 13 June 1855.
After the performances of Jérusalem at the Opéra in 1847 Verdi had intended to produce an entirely new opera for the first theatre of Paris, but the revolutions of 1848 caused the plan to be shelved. He renewed negotiations with the Opéra, however, in 1852, and a contract was drawn up for a full-scale French grand opera in five acts, with a libretto by Eugène Scribe, the acknowledged poetic master of the genre. After various subjects had been proposed, poet and composer eventually agreed to use a revised version of an existing libretto, Le duc d’Albe, written by Scribe and Charles Duveyrier for Halévy (who did not use it) and partly set to music by Donizetti in 1839. Verdi spent most of 1854...