Placide Cappeau was a French poet and the author of the well-known poem, "Minuit, chrétiens", set to music by Adolphe Adam. He was born on 25 October 1808 at 8 p.m. in Roquemaure. He was the son of Mathieu Cappeau, a cooper, Agathe Louise Martinet. From the beginning, he was destined to follow his father in the family business; the accident occurred. The young Brignon shot Cappeau in the hand; this led to the young Cappeau having to undergo an amputation of his hand. Thanks to the financial support from Mr Brignon who supplied half of tuition, Placide Cappeau was able to attend a town school and was accepted into the Collège Royal d’Avignon. While there, in spite of his disability, he was awarded the first prize in drawing in 1825. After studying in Nîmes, where he received a baccalauréat littéraire, he studied law in Paris and was awarded a license to practice law in 1831. Following in his father's footsteps, to an extent, he became a merchant of spirits. However, his focus in life was literature.
According to Placide, he wrote the poem "Minuit Chrétien" in a stagecoach to Paris, between Mâcon and Dijon. More this famous Christmas carol was written by Cappeau in the usual way. Adolphe Adam called his tune "la Marseillaise religieuse", reflecting the republican and anti-clerical, somewhat socialist views of Cappeau, which reflect the spirit of the original poem. Other writings include Le château de Roquemaure, published in 1876, Le roi de la fève, La poésie, Le papillon and La rose, he was a friend of some of the great writers of the Félibrige like Frédéric Mistral, Joseph Roumanille, Alphonse Daudet. He knew Alphonse de Lamartine as well, he died on 8 August 1877 in Roquemaure, at the age of 69. Durieu, L'auteur du "Minuit chrétiens", Placide Cappeau, Nîmes, Lacour, 1996. Works by Placide Cappeau at LibriVox
Coppélia is a comic ballet choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes, with libretto by Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter. Nuitter's libretto and mise-en-scène was based upon two stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann: Der Sandmann and Die Puppe. In Greek, κοπελιά means young lady. Coppélia premiered on 25 May 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial l'Opéra, with the 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the principal role of Swanhilda and ballerina Eugénie Fiocre playing the part of Frantz en travestie; the costumes were designed by Paul Lormier and Alfred Albert, the scenery by Charles-Antoine Cambon, Édouard Desplechin and Jean-Baptiste Lavastre. The ballet's first flush of success was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Paris, but it became the most-performed ballet at the Opéra. Modern-day productions are traditionally derived from the revivals staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in the late 19th century. Petipa's choreography was documented in the Stepanov method of choreographic notation at the turn of the 20th century.
These notations were used to stage the St. Petersburg version for such companies as the Vic-Wells Ballet. Dr. Coppélius is a doctor, it is so lifelike that Franz, a village youth, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his heart's true desire, Swanhilda. She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor. Act IThe story begins during a town festival to celebrate the arrival of a new bell; the town crier announces that, when it arrives, anyone who becomes married will be awarded a special gift of money. Swanhilda and Franz plan to marry during the festival. However, Swanhilda becomes unhappy with Franz because he seems to be paying more attention to a girl named Coppélia, who sits motionless on the balcony of a nearby house; the house belongs to Doctor Coppélius. Although Coppélia spends all of her time sitting motionless and reading, Franz is mesmerized by her beauty and is determined to attract her attention.
Still upset with Franz, Swanhilda shakes an ear of wheat to her head: if it rattles she will know that Franz loves her. Upon doing this, she hears nothing; when she shakes it by Franz's head, he hears nothing. However, she runs away heartbroken. On, Dr. Coppelius leaves his house and is heckled by a group of boys. After shooing them away, he continues on without realizing that he has dropped his keys in the melée. Swanhilda finds the keys, she and her friends decide to enter Dr. Coppelius' house. Meanwhile, Franz develops his own plan climbing a ladder to her balcony. Act IISwanhilda and her friends find themselves in a large room filled with people. However, the occupants aren't moving; the girls discover that, rather than people, these are life-size mechanical dolls. They wind them up and watch them move. Swanhilda finds Coppélia behind a curtain and discovers that she, too, is a doll. Dr. Coppelius returns home to find the girls, he becomes angry with them, not only for trespassing but for disturbing his workroom.
He begins cleaning up the mess. However, upon noticing Franz at the window, Coppélius invites him in; the inventor wants to do that, he needs a human sacrifice. With a magic spell, he will transfer it to Coppélia. After Dr. Coppelius proffers him some wine laced with sleeping powder, Franz begins to fall asleep; the inventor readies his magic spell. However, Dr. Coppelius did not expel all the girls: Swanhilda is still there, hidden behind a curtain, she pretends that the doll has come to life. She wakes Franz and winds up all the mechanical dolls to aid their escape. Dr. Coppelius becomes confused and saddened when he finds a lifeless Coppélia behind the curtain. Act IIISwanhilda and Franz are about to make their wedding vows when the angry Dr. Coppelius appears, claiming damages. Dismayed at having caused such an upset, Swanhilda offers Dr. Coppelius her dowry in return for his forgiveness. However, Franz offers to pay Dr. Coppelius instead. At that point, the mayor gives Dr. Coppelius a bag of money, which placates him.
Swanhilda and Franz are married and the entire town celebrates by dancing. Doctor Coppelius is not unlike Hoffmann's sinister Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker or the macabre Svengali-like travelling magician of the same name in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann; the part of Franz was danced en travesti by Eugénie Fiocre, a convention that pleased the male members of the Jockey-Club de Paris and was retained in Paris until after World War II. The festive wedding-day divertissements in the village square that occupy Act III are deleted in modern danced versions; some influence on this story comes from travelling shows of the late 18th and early 19th centuries starring mechanical automata. This field of entertainment has been under-documented
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The Opéra-National was a Parisian opera company that the French composer Adolphe Adam founded in 1847 to provide an alternative to the two primary French opera companies in Paris, the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique. The goals of the new company were to "foster new compositional talent," revive opéras comiques from an earlier period, produce opera at a lower ticket price for a wider public; the company first performed in the large Cirque Olympique on the Boulevard du Temple, in a working class district of Paris. Financial difficulties and the turmoil of the 1848 Revolution caused the company to close in March of that year, it was revived under a new director, Edmond Seveste, in 1851, when it moved to the Théâtre Historique, a short distance away on the Boulevard du Temple. In 1852 the company was renamed Théâtre Lyrique and operated under that name until 1872. In 1791, during the French Revolution, many restrictions on theatres were removed. New laws allowed anyone to open a theatre. Developers founded many new theatres, it became difficult for any, including state sponsored theatres, to make money.
On 8 June 1806 Napoleon issued a decree. No person could open a theatre without the approval of the emperor, based on a proposal prepared and submitted by the minister of the interior. On 25 April 1807 he enacted a second, more developed decree that determined the genres permitted at each theatre. Any theatre wanting to stage a work in the repertory of the state-supported Opéra, the Comédie-Française, or the Opéra-Comique had to pay a fee to the management of the appropriate company. In addition, only the Opéra could perform particular historical and mythological ballets, thus burdening several companies the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin. In spite of these measures, the situation continued to worsen, on 29 July 1807 Napoleon decided that only eight theatres could continue to operate; the primary theatres were the Opéra, the Comédie-Française, the Opéra-Comique, the Théâtre de l'Impératrice. The four secondary theatres were the Vaudeville, the Variétés, the Gaité, the Ambigu-Comique; the other twenty-five or so existing theatres had to close by 15 August.
Venues for the performance of French-language opera were reduced to two: the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique. After Napoleon's downfall, licenses for new theatres began to increase, the enforcement of restrictions on genre began to relax. Official censors were more concerned with content rather than genre. Opéra comique was given at the Théâtre du Gymnase as early as 1820. From 1824 to 1829 operas, such as Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, were produced at the Théâtre Lyrique de l'Odéon. From 1827 to 1831 opéra-comique and French adaptations of Rossini and Mozart were presented at the Théâtre des Nouveautés. After the July Revolution of 1830, restrictions loosened more, beginning in 1838 opéras-comiques and operas, including the premiere of Donizetti's Lucie de Lammermoor, were presented at the Théâtre de la Renaissance. None at these theatres presented operas however. In fact, opera represented a small part of their repertory. Moreover, all of these endeavours were short-lived attempts.
The latter theatre failed in mid-1841. As early as 14 May 1842, several composers, including Hector Berlioz, Ambroise Thomas, Adolphe Adam, petitioned administrative authorities to create a permanent third opera house in Paris. A commission was established, by August plans for a new theatre were announced. However, on 28 October the petition was rejected. In September 1844 a second petition was submitted by winners of the Prix de Rome, requesting the establishment of a new lyric theatre dedicated to works of younger, lesser known composers and librettists; this petition was rejected. In 1847, on the third attempt, one composer, Adolphe Adam, succeeded. In 1847 Adolphe Adam, with the help of his friend François Louis Crosnier—a former director of the Opéra-Comique and current manager of the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin—obtained a license to open the Opéra-National; the license allowed Adam to perform many of his works, in the repertory of the Opéra-Comique. The stated aims of the new company were to bring French opera to a wider public and provide a performance venue for younger, less well-established French composers.
Adam first intended to use Crosnier's theatre at the Porte Saint-Martin, but Crosnier found it more financially rewarding to rent that theatre to others. Adam had to find another venue. With his license in hand and a partnership with Achille Mirecour, he acquired the Cirque Olympique for 1,400,000 francs; the theatre had been designed as an indoor equestrian circus. At a cost of 200,000 francs, it was renovated and altered for use as an opera house by the architect Louis Charles Théodore Charpentier. Having a capacity of 2400, it was unusually large, so the acoustics were less than ideal, but the stage projected into the auditorium, a help to the singers; the theatre opened on 15 November 1847 with a musical prologue and the premiere of a 3-act opera Gastibelza. The opera had a libretto by Adolphe d'Ennery and Eugène Cormon, music by Aimé Maillart; the prologue, a pastiche with music by Adam, Daniel Auber, Fromental Halévy, Michele Carafa, a libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, was topical, with references to the new railway from Paris to Tours and the Boulevard du Crime (nickname of the Boulevard du Temple, for the numerous me
Louis Adam or Jean-Louis Adam was a French composer, music teacher, piano virtuoso. His son, Adolphe Adam, was the composer of the score for the ballet Giselle. Born in Muttersholtz, the son of Mathias Adam and Marie-Dorothée Meyer, Adam went to Paris in 1775 to study piano and harpsichord with Jean-Frédéric Edelmann, he spent over four decades, from 1797 through 1842, as Professor of Pianoforte at the Conservatoire de Paris, retiring in 1842, died in the city, aged 89. As professor, he was the teacher of a number of notable students, including Joseph Daussoigne-Méhul, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Ferdinand Hérold, Henry Lemoine. See: List of music students by teacher: A to B#Louis Adam. In addition to being a skilled pianist, he composed a number of piano pieces that were in vogue at the time some variations on Le bon roi Dagobert, he wrote two standard instruction books for piano: Méthode ou principe générale du doigté pour le Forté-piano and Méthode nouvelle pour le Piano. In 1804 he published an influential work: Méthode de piano du Conservatoire, which contributed to the advancement of piano technique in Paris.
Adam was married three times. His second wife was the sister of the Count de Louvois. After his separation, Adam remarried to daughter of a doctor; the couple had two boys: Alphonse Hippolyte. Theodore Baker and Alfred Remy, ed.. "Adam, Louis". Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. P. 4. This Wikipedia entry relies on the French Wikipedia entry, accessed for translation on January 12, 2019. Free scores by Louis Adam at the International Music Score Library Project
John Sullivan Dwight
John Sullivan Dwight was a Unitarian minister, transcendentalist, America's first influential classical music critic. Dwight was born in Boston, the son of John Dwight, M. D. and Mary Corey. He was a member of the New England Dwight family through his paternal grandfather, John Dwight, Jr.. He graduated from Harvard College in 1832 and prepared for the Unitarian ministry at Harvard Divinity School, from which he graduated in 1836. Dwight was ordained a minister in 1840. Instead he developed a deep interest in particular that of Ludwig van Beethoven. Dwight served as director of the school at the Brook Farm commune, where he taught music and organised musical and theatrical events. About this time he began writing a regular column on music. Brook Farm collapsed financially in 1847, but Dwight set up a cooperative house in Boston and began a career in musical journalism, he married singer Mary Bullard on February 11, 1851. In 1852, he founded Dwight's Journal of Music, which became one of the most respected and influential such periodicals in the country in the mid-19th century.
Among the early writers was Alexander Wheelock Thayer, who would become one of the first major music historians in the country. Other contributors included John Knowles Paine, William F. Apthorp, W. S. B. Mathews and C. H. Brittan. In 1855, Dwight translated the carol "O Holy Night" from the French. Together with his friend and colleague Otto Dresel, who emigrated from Leipzig in 1848 and settled in Boston in 1852, the two "contributed singly and jointly to the shaping of American taste for the European classical tradition in music". In his criticism of the contemporary American pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Dwight stepped into a trap. At a concert, Gottschalk claimed a Beethoven work as his own and identified one of his own as a Beethoven; when a hostile Dwight praised the wrong piece, the composer sent a note apologizing for the "printer’s error" in the program, but wryly thanking him for the praise. His wife died September 6, 1860, he died on September 5, 1893, is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston.
George Willis Cooke. John Sullivan Dwight: Brook-Farmer and Critic of Music. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. Horowitz, Joseph. Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005. "Dwight, John Sullivan." Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians. 1999. Biography Reference Bank. H. W. Wilson Works by or about John Sullivan Dwight at Internet Archive Works by John Sullivan Dwight at LibriVox Robinson, David. "John Sullivan Dwight". Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography. Unitarian Universalist Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-08-07
Sylvia Sylvia, ou La nymphe de Diane, is a full-length ballet in two or three acts, first choreographed by Louis Mérante to music by Léo Delibes in 1876. Sylvia is a typical classical ballet in many respects, yet it has many interesting features that make it unique. Sylvia is notable for its mythological Arcadian setting, creative choreographies, expansive sets and, above all, its remarkable score; the ballet's origins are in Tasso's 1573 play Aminta, which provides the basic plot of Delibes' work. Jules Barbier and Baron de Reinach adapted this for the Paris Opera; the piano arrangement was composed in 1876 and the orchestral suite was done in 1880. When Sylvia premiered on Wednesday, June 14, 1876, at the Palais Garnier, it went unnoticed. In fact, the first seven productions of Sylvia were not commercially successful, it was the 1952 revival, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton. Ashton's success set the stage for the 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2009 productions, all of which were based on his 1952 choreography.
In 1875, the Paris Opera chose Reinach's libretto for Sylvia. Mérante was chosen to choreograph Sylvia based on his extensive experience in the field and position as the premier maître de ballet at Paris Opera. All other reasonable choreographers were at the time unavailable. Rehearsals for Sylvia begin on August 1875, with only the first third of the music intact. Throughout the rehearsal period the score was under constant revision by Delibes with the "aid" of Mérante and Rita Sangalli who would each dance a lead rôle; this development of the score was a grueling process of many restarts. Mérante was demanding of Delibes and would request changes to the score to accommodate his choreography, yet Léo Delibes made the changes requested of him in a timely fashion. Sylvia, ou la nymphe de Diane, as it was titled, was the first ballet to be shown at the newly constructed Opera Garnier and it did so with extravagance; this approach proved at times excessive. The lavish scenery of Jules Chéret was poorly lit.
The costumes designed by Lacoste were well appreciated, however. In the end it was Delibes' score. Without such esteemed music, the ballet would have soon drifted into obscurity. At the age of 27, Rita Sangalli was the principal ballerina at the Opéra, thus the obvious choice to star as Sylvia. Sangalli was described as having a "superb physique", but not spectacular dancing skills. Nonetheless, she was the only ballerina taught the rôle, on one occasion the ballet had to be temporarily closed when she injured herself. Among the first important versions of Sylvia, ou la nymphe de Diane following the original production of 1876 was a production presented by the Imperial Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia on 15 December 1901; the ballet had been performed in Russia before: in 1886 the ballerina Antonietta Dell'Era performed excerpts from the ballet at the Arcadia Theatre of St. Petersburg, in 1892 the ballerina Carlotta Brianza performed the full-length work at the Fantasia Theatre in Moscow.
The Mariinsky Theatre's production was planned for the 1900–1901 season in a staging supervised by Sergei Diaghilev, with décors and costumes designed by Alexandre Benois and choreography by the brothers Sergei and Nikolai Legat. But differences between Diaghilev and the director of the Imperial Theatres, Prince Volkonsky, led to the project's cancellation as well as the end of Diaghilev's association with the Imperial Theatres, an event that led Diaghilev to form the original Ballets Russes in 1909; the ballet was re-scheduled for the 1901–1902 season in a version mounted by the Imperial Theatre's Deuxieme Maître de Ballet Lev Ivanov, whose death in December 1901 caused the direction to hand the project over to the noted Premier danseur Pavel Gerdt. Ivanov's most lasting contribution to the ballet's history was the change of title from Sylvia, ou la nymphe de Diane to Sylvia; the cast included the great Prima ballerina Olga Preobrajenska in the title rôle and the danseur Sergei Legat as the shepherd Aminta.
Included among the ballet's secondary characters was a young Agrippina Vaganova as a nymph of the Goddess Diana, Pavel Gerdt in the rôle of Orion. Although the dances of the ballerina Preobrajenska were a great success, the first performance was not; the editor-publisher of the Saint Petersburg Gazette, Sergei Khudekov, himself a ballet expert and noted for co-authoring the librettos for several ballets staged at the Mariinsky, was one of several critics who complained that the Ivanov/Gerdt choreography was of poor quality, that the libretto was slight. Another element that contributed to the ballet's failure was the fact that the direction did not allow any new décors to be created, instead sets were utilized from works that were no longer being performed. After only five performances Sylvia was taken out of the company's repertory. In spite of this, excerpts from the ballet were included in gala events; the ballerina Anna Pavlova included many of these extracts from the 1902 production on her world tours in a revised staging by balletmaster Ivan Clustine.
In attendance for one of her London appearances was a young Frederick Ashton, whose memories of Pavlova's performance would inspire him to create his own renowned version for the ballerina Margot Fonteyn in 1952. Ashton re-choreographed Sylvia in 1952; as the story goes, what sparked Ashton's interest in Sylvia was a dream he had in 1946. In