Penelope (Piccinni)
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Penelope Piccinni

Pénélope is a French-language opera by the composer Niccolò Piccinni, first performed at Fontainebleau on 2 November 1785 in the presence of King Louis XVI and his queen Marie-Antoinette. It takes the form of a tragédie lyrique in three acts. The libretto, by Jean-François Marmontel, is based on the story of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Penelope in Homer's Odyssey. The opera transferred to the Académie Royale de Musique, Paris (the Paris Opera) on 6 December 1785, but it was not a success.


Cast Voice type Premiere
Pénélope soprano Antoinette Saint-Huberty
Théone soprano Marie-Thérèse Davoux Maillard
Télémaque (Telemachus) tenor Étienne Lainez
Ulisse (Ulysses) basse taille (bass-baritone) Henri Larrivée
Laèrte (Laertes) baritone Louis-Claude-Armand Chardin ("Chardiny")
Eumée (Eumaeus) haute-contre Jean-Joseph Rousseau [it][1]
Nésus bass-baritone Moreau
Minerve (the goddess Minerva) soprano Mlle Châteauvieux
Une coryphée soprano Mlle Buret
Chorus: Eight suitors of Penelope, people


  1. ^ Sources traditionally report only the initial letter (J.) of this singer's name; full details, however, can be found in "Organico dei fratelli a talento della Loggia parigina di Saint-Jean d'Écosse du Contrat Social (1773-89)" (list of the members of this Masonic lodge), reported as an Appendix in Zeffiro Ciuffoletti and Sergio Moravia (eds), La Massoneria. La storia, gli uomini, le idee, Milan, Mondadori, 2004, ISBN 978-8804536468 (in Italian).


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