Mehul : Uthal
Etienne-Nicolas Mehul (1763-1817) Uthal
Opéra-comique en un acte. Livret de Jacques-Benjamin-Maximilien Bins de Saint-Victor d’après James Macpherson.
Créé à l’Opéra-Comique de Paris le 17 mai 1806.
Production Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française.
Coréalisation : Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles • Palazzetto Bru Zane — Centre de musique romantique française.
Ce concert fait l’objet d’un enregistrement discographique.
Karine Deshayes, Malvina
Charles Castronovo, Uthal
Jean-Sébastien Bou, Larmor
Sébastien Droy, Ullin
Philippe-Nicolas Martin, Le Chef des Bardes, Third Barde
Reinoud Van Mechelen, First Barde
Artavazd Sargsyan, Second Barde
Jacques-Greg Belobo, Fourth Barde
Chœur de Chambre de Namur
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset, conductor
"On 17th May 1806, the Opéra Comique gave the first performance of Uthal, a curious opera by Méhul, marked by an exceptional romantic atmosphere, on a libretto inspired by Ossian".
Lionel de La Laurencie did not go wrong when, as recently as 1925, he commented on the most original opera of Napoleon’s era, rejecting the accepted idea that the music of that time only expressed superficial pomp. After the success of Lesueur’s Les Bardes in 1804, on the stage of the Académie imperiale de musique, the Opéra Comique commissioned Méhul to write a short and striking piece, inspired by Macpherson’s Ossian inspired dreams, which were being discovered in France at the time. The composer had the inspired-and risky- idea to translate the mists of a fantasized Scotland in the colourless tones of an orchestra without violins. The gothic aspect of wind instruments and the melancholy poetry of the harp sounding sporadically above them contrast strongly with war choruses and Larmor’s and Uthal’s bellicose tones. Already in the overture, Méhul innovates with the character of Malvina desperately calling her father from the wings. The choir itself is only composed of men’s voices. The Hymne au Soleil (Sun Hymn), a highly romantic bard song, is remembered as one of the composer’s best pages. The Conservatoire students would sing it at his funeral in 1887.
"The opera Uthal, performed in 1806, offered Mr. Méhul a wealth of opportunities for innovation. Uthal is a subject inspired by Ossian, an unknown world, which music had not yet approached.” (Le Camp Volant, 1819
Opéra du Château de Versailles, Versailles (CH)