Wexford Festival Opera - 21, 27, 30 October, 3 November 2011. A hurt and humiliated woman takes her revenge on men, breaking their hearts while protecting her own. The only way to a happy marriage, she says, is to forego love. The hugely surprising thing about La Cour de Célimène is that it has not been performed since it was first produced at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1855. Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), who is best known for his opera Mignon (first performed in 1866 and performed at Wexford in 1986), spent several years in Rome during the 1830s where he immersed himself in the music of the leading Italian opera composers, Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Their influence is evident in La Cour de Célimène, which is an opera comique, written in French and containing both spoken and sung passages. The neglect of La Cour de Célimène for nearly a century and a half is difficult to understand, for it is generously endowed in every important area: attractive music, interesting orchestration, good ensemble writing, spectacular vocal solos, drama and duels, a clever and witty plot . . . this is an opera of wide appeal, which glitters with French sophistication and elegance. The character of Célimène, the flirtatious widowed Countess, dominates the opera. She is determined to make men fall in love with her, for her late husband’s infidelities caused her such distress that she wants to take her revenge on all men. Her heartless and cynically-flirtatious goings-on with her twelve suitors and her latest toy-boy – each of whom is convinced that she loves only him – are contrasted with her disapproving sister, the Baroness. The drama increases as events take several unexpected turns. www.wexfordopera.com+ More details
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