La Carmélite

Musical comedy in four acts and five scenes to a libretto by Catulle Mendès, premiered at the Opéra-Comique on 16 December 1902.
Opera Halle aux Grains
Sat 13 February 2021
Halle aux Grains, Toulouse
Despite a subtitle that makes reference to a later musical tradition, Hahn’s work is resolutely light in tone. It brings to the stage the true story of the love affair between Louis XIV and Louise, the future duchess of La Vallière, who meet by chance at a ballet rehearsal. The feelings the young woman (performed by the brilliant Emma Calvé on the evening of the premiere) has for the king, devoid of ulterior motive, earn her his love in return. Their affection gives rise to some lovely arias, whose restrained vocal writing seems to operate as a sign of social distinction. The relationship between the two young lovers is, however, marred by the jealousy of Athénaïs and by the intervention of “L’Évêque”, recognisable as Bishop Bossuet, who threatens Louise with damnation. She ends her affair with the King and decides to enter the order of the Carmelites. The remarkably realistic representation of Louise taking the veil caused a scandal in the press and the scene was shortened from the second performance of the work onwards. The stormy reception of the opera, which lacked any anticlerical commentary, can probably be explained by the prevailing social tension at the time of the opera’s first performance, following the publication of two decrees banning certain religious orders.
Alfonso Caiani conductor
Maxim Emelyanychev conductor

Louise de La Vallière Hélène Guilmette
Athénaïs Judith van Wanroij
Le Roi Mathias Vidal
L’Évêque / Le Poète Jérôme Boutillier
Ardélise / 1re Femme Anaïs Constans
Acté / L’écolier / L’Abbesse Axelle Fanyo
Églé Carine Séchaye
Hélys Ludivine Gombert
Olympe / 2e Femme Eléonore Pancrazi
La Reine / La Sorcière Marie Gautrot
Le Musicien / Le Loueur de chaises Pierre Derhet
Le Maître à danser / 2e Bourgeois Sébastien Droy
Le Comte / 2e Soldat / Le Sacrilège Philippe Estèphe
Le Duc / 1er Bourgeois / 1er Soldat Carl Ghazarossian
Le Marquis / Le Page / Le Maître des cérémonies Artavazd Sargsyan
In collaboration with the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse in partnership with the Palazzetto Bru Zane
Recording for the 'French opera' series – BRU ZANE
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