Fêtes vénitiennes, Les (‘Venetian Festivities’)
- James R. Anthony
Opéra-ballet in a prologue and five (originally three) entrées by André Campra to a libretto by Antoine Danchet; Paris, Opéra, 17 June 1710.
The flexible format of the opéra-ballet (an independent intrigue and different characters for each act) allowed for a trial-and-error approach, and between June and October 1710 Campra and Danchet created in all two prologues and seven entrées. Ballard’s printed editions are based on the material of the 51st performance, on 10 October 1710, and it is this version that is described here.
After the prologue (‘Le carnaval dans Venise’), Zélie (soprano), disguised as a gypsy, tests the faithfulness of her lover Léandre (bass), a fickle French cavalier. Telling his fortune, Zélie says there are two who love him and he will find them both in Venice that very day. Léandre looks vainly for the second love. He finally accuses Zélie of deceit. Singing ‘I know your thoughts; you can guess mine’, she removes her mask....