Yes, even New England has heat waves. The mercury here in Cambridge has dropped to more typical (and bearable) summer temperatures, but I still can’t resist defying the season by showcasing these two recently-digitized scores of Luigi Cherubini’s opera Eliza, ou, Le voyage aux glaciers du Mont St. Bernard.
Composed in 1793, Eliza received its first performance – after revisions by government censors – at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris on December 13, 1794. The theatre’s productions were known for their scenery and stage effects, such as the castle destroyed in the third act of Cherubini’s hit Lodoïska. While the opera’s Alpine setting has obvious potential for spectacle, Eliza‘s plot is distinguished by librettist Jacques Antoine Révéroni Saint-Cyr’s use of the landscape itself, rather than the human dangers posed by violent conflict, as the final peril triumphantly overcome by the lovers Eliza and Florindo (with the assistance, naturally, of the friars of the hospice of Saint Bernard).1
- [Eliza]. Eliza, ou, Le voyage aux glaciers du Mont St. Bernard: opera en deux actes / par Saint Cyr; mis en musique par Cherubini et representé au Théatre de la rue Faydeau le 13. décembre 1794. A Paris: A l’Imprimerie du Conservatoire, Faux-bourg [sic] Poissonnière, au coin de la rue Bergere, [1795?].
RISM A/I, CC 2028 I,201
Merritt Mus 637.1.618
A full score with French words, including the dialogue.
- [Eliza. Vocal score. German & French]. Elise oder Die Reise auf den S. Bernardsberg. ein Singspiel in drey Akten in Musik gesezt [sic] / von Cherubini; im Klavierauszuge von G.B. Bierey. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, [1795?].
Merritt Mus 637.1.618.5
A vocal score with German and French words.
As always, find these and other scores in our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti.
1. On Cherubini’s musical representation of the Alps, see Michael Fend, “Literary Motifs, Musical Form and the Quest for the ‘Sublime’: Cherubini’s ‘Eliza ou le Voyage aux glaciers du Mont St Bernard’,” Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 5, no. 1 (Mar., 1993): 17-38. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/823748.
For transcriptions of Cherubini’s correspondence regarding the composition of Eliza, see Stephen Charles Willis, “Luigi Cherubini: a study of his life and dramatic music, 1795-1815” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1975), http://hollis.harvard.edu/?itemid=|library/m/aleph|008015816 (HOLLIS record).