Théatre Choisi... Précédé d'une Introduction par Ch. Nodier, et Illustré par des Notices Littéraires Dues a ses Amis, Membres de L'institut, de l'Académie Française, et Autres Hommes de Lettres. Avec le Portrait de L'Auteur, Gravé sur Acier par Bosselmann, d'Après Madame Cheradame. René Charles Guilbert de PIXÉRÉCOURT.

Théatre Choisi... Précédé d'une Introduction par Ch. Nodier, et Illustré par des Notices Littéraires Dues a ses Amis, Membres de L'institut, de l'Académie Française, et Autres Hommes de Lettres. Avec le Portrait de L'Auteur, Gravé sur Acier par Bosselmann, d'Après Madame Cheradame

Paris; Nancy: Tresse; Chez L'Auteur, 1841-1843. 4 volumes. Octavo. Quarter dark green leather with marbled boards, raised bands on spine with titling gilt. With named cast lists.

Each piece is preceded by preliminary material including notes on the particular work, texts of associated documents, contemporary reviews, etc. Includes contributiions by Paul Lacroix, Pujoulx, Elise Voïart, Vaulabelle, Amable Tastu, and commentary on the Opéra comique by Sedaine.

Contains Pixérécourt's melodramas and several opéras-comique, as follows (composers noted in brackets, where known):

Vol. 1: 1f. (half-title), 1f. (frontispiece portrait of the author engraved by Busselmann after Madame Cheradame), 1f. (title), xc, 509, [i] pp. Contains Coelina (Quaisain); Le Pèlerin Blanc; L'Homme a Trois Visages; La Femme a Deux Maris; Les Mines de Pologne; Tékéli. All set to music by Gérardin-Lacour except Coelina.

Vol. 2: 1f. (half-title, 1f. (title)l, xxviii, 674 pp. Contains Maures d'Espagne (Gérardin-Lacour); La Forteresse du Danube (Bianchi); Robinson Crusoé (Piccini); L'Ange Tutélaire (Piccini); La Citerne (Piccini); La Rose Blanche (Gaveaux); Marguerite d'Anjou (Gérardin-Lacour).

Vol. 3: 1f. (half-title), 1f. (title), 626, [i] pp. + folding plate between pp. 210-211. Contains Les Ruines de Babylone (Gérardin-Lacour); Le Chien de Montargis (Piccinni); Charles-Le-Téméraire (Piccinni); Christophe Colomb (Darondeau); Monastère Abandonné (Piccinni); Le Belvéder (Quaisain and Adrien); Une Visite de Mme de la Vallière (unattributed). Pp. 23-26 detached.

Vol. 4: 1f. (half-title), 1f. (title), cxci, 516, [i] pp. + folding plate between pp. liv and lv. Contains Esquisses et Fragments de Voyages; La Fille de l'Exilé (Piccini); Valentine (Piccini); L'Évasion de Marie Stuart (Darondeau); La Tête de Mort (Piccini); Latude (Piccini); Dernières Réflexions de l'Auteur sur le Mélodrame; Quelques Réflexions Inédites de Sedaine sur l'Opéra Comique. Pp. 233-240 bound in between pp. 248 and 249; occasional mis-pagination.

Slightly worn, rubbed and bumped. Minor foxing and creasing; small tears; scattered annotations in pink and blue ink.

First collected edition. Scarce.

Dubbed ‘the Corneille of the Boulevards’, Pixérécourt was practically the inventor, and certainly the codifier, of the popular French stage form mélodrame. Noted for its stock characters, complex plots, sensationalism, startling coups de théâtre, scenic virtuosity and a strongly moral outlook, the mélodrame flourished in the early decades of the 19th century. Pixérécourt built a catalogue of nearly 60 such plays, beginning in 1798 with Victor, ou L’enfant de la forêt (originally intended as an opéra comique), developing an international reputation. He also wrote comedies, tragedies, vaudevilles, féeries, pantomimes and the librettos of some 21 opéras comiques... He certainly was not ignorant of the dramatic potential of music, for he worked a great deal of it into his melodramas. His most frequent collaborators in that genre were Louis Alexandre Piccinni and Adrien Quaisain. In both dramas and librettos he saw himself as a successor of Sedaine... Though Pixérécourt’s melodramas are best known for the influence they exercised on Romantic drama, they were no less influential on the genre that came to be known as French grand opera." Karin Pendle in Grove Music Online. Item #24923

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