In the first two decades of the nineteenth century, Salieri rewrote Les Danaïdes and Tarare at the request of Gaspare Spontini and Louis-Luc Loiseau de Persuis, the manager of the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique. The two musical works, both written for Paris many years before, were considerably modified for the occasion, and Salieri himself took an active part in the process. Salieri’s tragédie-lyrique Les Danaïdes, with a libretto by Tschudi-Du Roullet after Calzabigi, had first been performed at the Académie-Royale de Musique on 26 April 1784.
A new version of the opera, conducted by Spontini, was performed in Paris on Wednesday, 22 October 1817. A manuscript score in four volumes, beautifully written in several hands, has been preserved. This rendition of Salieri’s score was extremely successful, and it made such an impression, among others, on the young Berlioz, that it led him to dedicate himself music. It is for this new version that Spontini composed his Bacchanals, a powerful danced chorus mentioned by all the chronicles of the period. The present paper sheds new light on the score of the revised version of Les Danaïdes. It offers a description of the musical pieces, integrating (in square brackets) the indications taken from the corresponding libretto. It thus provides a first series of observations on the changes made between the new and the original versions.
Migrations culturelles de l'histoire de la représentation aux XVIIIème et XIXème siècles en Europe
Elena Biggi Parodi
Fondazione Salieri, Verona
"Les Danaïdes" di Salieri diretta da Gaspare Spontini (Parigi, 1817)