Les Abencérages by Luigi Cherubini

Summary

'''''Les Abencérages, ou L'étendard de Grenade''''' (English: ''The Abencerrages, or The Standard of Granada'') is an opera in three acts by Luigi Cherubini with a French libretto by Etienne de Jouy, based on the novel ''Gonzalve de Cordoue'' by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. It was first performed on 6 April 1813 by the Académie Impériale de Musique (Paris Opera) at the Salle Montansier, with Napoleon and his wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, in the audience. The opera was initially a success but its popularity waned after the fall of Napoleon.

Because of its use of large choruses, spectacle and extensive dance music as well as its story line of a love affair played out against the background of major historical events, ''Les Abencérages'' is considered an important precursor of French grand opera. Almanzor's tenor aria, ''Suspendez de ses murs'', was admired by composers such as Berlioz and has been recorded by singers including Georges Thill and Roberto Alagna. The ballet music in the first act contains variations on the popular melody La Follia (known in French as ''Les folies d'Espagne'').

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