Reynaldo Hahn

L'Île du rêve

Idylle polynésienne in 3 acts to a libretto by Georges Hartmann and André Alexandre, premiered at the Opéra-Comique on 23 March 1898.
After Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti.
In the early 1890s, librettists Georges Hartmann and André Alexandre negotiated with Pierre Loti for the adaptation rights to several of his novels. This agreement resulted in two operas: Madame Chrysanthème, entrusted to André Messager’s capable hands; and the L’Île du rêve, young Reynaldo Hahn’s first foray into opera. The difficult evolution of Hahn’s opera worked in its favour: its completion coincided with a change of management at the Opéra-Comique and it became the first production mounted by Albert Carré on that stage. Faithful to the original text, the libretto tells the story of the love affair between a naval officer and a young Tahitian woman, Mahénu. This romantic idyll lasts only for the duration of the main character’s stay on the island. Although the treatment of the music shows the influence of Jules Massenet, it is set apart by the way all the numbers overlap, which impressed the critics: “Everything hangs together in this music, everything follows on and continues, all the episodes are linked, without pause”, exclaimed Arthur Pougin at the end of the premiere. Turning away from the heightened emotions of Romantic opera, Hahn was seeking a simplicity which led him, in the words of Philippe Blay, “towards a meditative and melancholy wonder”.


Sun 26 January 2020
Prinzregententheater, Munich


Hervé Niquet conductor
Mahénu Hélène Guilmette
Téria / Faïmana Ludivine Gombert
Oréna Anaïk Morel
Loti Cyrille Dubois
Taïrapa / Henri, officier / 3e Officier Thomas Dolié
Tsen Lee / Kerven / 2e Officier Artavazd Sargsyan
Live radio: Concert broadcasted live on BR Klassik.

A collection of art songs with orchestra by Hahn, Massenet and Fauré will be performed before the first part of L’Île du rêve.
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