BERTIN: La Esmeralda

Music composed by Louise Bertin. Libretto by Victor Hugo from his novel
Notre-Dame de Paris (Hunchback of Notre Dame). Vocal score
edited by Franz Liszt (Cat. Nos. LW A038a and S 476)

First Performance: OpÈra, Paris, 14 November 1836

Principal Roles:
La Esmeralda Soprano
Phoebus Tenor
Frollo Bass
Quasimodo Bass
Clopin Tenor
Fleur-de-Lys Mezzo-Soprano
Le Vicomte de Gif Tenor
Madame de Gondelaurier Mezzo-Soprano
Monsieur de Morlaix Baritone
Monsieur de Chevreuse Bass
Diane Mezzo-Soprano
Berangere Mezzo-Soprano
Pierrat Torterue Baritone

Synopsis of novel:

The story dates back to January 6, 1482 in Paris, France, the day of the
‘Festival of Fools’ in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer
of Notre Dame, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools.

Esmeralda, a beautiful Gypsy with a kind and generous heart, captures the
hearts of many men, including that of a Captain Phoebus, but especially those
of Quasimodo and his adopted father, Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre
Dame. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders
Quasimodo to kidnap her, but the hunchback is suddenly captured by Phoebus and
his guards who save Esmeralda. Quasimodo is sentenced to be whipped and ordered
to be tied down by the heat. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, offers him water. It
saves her, for she captures his heart.

Esmeralda is later charged with the attempted murder of Phoebus, whom Frollo
attempted to kill in jealousy, and is sentenced to death by hanging. As she is
being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down by the bell rope of Notre Dame
and carries her off to the cathedral under the law of sanctuary. Clopin rallies
the Truands (criminals of Paris) to charge the cathedral and rescue Esmeralda.
The King, seeing the chaos, vetoes the law of sanctuary and commands his troops
to take Esmeralda out and kill her. When Quasimodo sees the Truands, he assumes
they are there to hurt Esmeralda, so he drives them off. Frollo betrays
Esmeralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is hanged.
Quasimodo pushes him from the heights of Notre Dame to his death. Quasimodo
then goes to a mass grave, lies next to her corpse, crawls off to
Esmeralda’s tomb with his arms around her body and eventually dies of
starvation. Two years later, excavationists find the skeletons of Esmeralda
with a broken neck and Quasimodo locked in an embrace.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Libretto not available.

image_description=La EsmÈralda by Karl von Steuben (1839)
first_audio_name=Louise Bertin: La Esmeralda (m3u playlist)
second_audio_name=Louise Bertin: La Esmeralda (pls playlist)
product_title=Louise Bertin: La Esmeralda
product_by=La Esmeralda: Maya Boog; Phoebus: Manuel Nunes Camelino; Frollo: Francesco Ellero d’Artegna; Quasimodo: Frederic Antoun; Clopin: Yves Saelens; Fleur-de-Lys: Engenie Danglade; Le Vicomte de Gif: Eric Huchet; Madame de Gondelaurier: Marie-France Gascard; Monsieur de Morlaix: Evgenyi Alexiev; Monsieur de Chevreuse: Marc Mazuir; Diane: Sherri Sassoon-Deshler; Berangere: Alexandra Dauphin-Heiser; Pierrat Torterue: Gundars Dzilums. Choeur de la Radio Lettone. Orchestre national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon. Lawrence Foster, conducting. Montpellier, Opera Berlioz – Le Corum, 23 July 2008.