La Reine de Chypre
The art of French-style grand opera, which was hugely successful when first created, is revived by Hervé Niquet and Véronique Gens
H. Niquet © E. Manas
Sung in French with French subtitles
We sometimes wonder why works that marked their times subsequently disappear from the stage for decades. The opera that Parisian audiences heard for the first time on 22 December 1841 is more beautiful than they could have dreamt of. La Reine de Chypre takes place in an atmosphere of ancient tragedy, even though the action begins in 15th-century Venice and finishes on the throne of Cyprus. The libretto is admirably supported by a score that is serious, energetic, pathetic and tender all at once. Halévy's refined music constantly underscores the variety of the melodies. Véronique Gens, our Queen for the evening, has been serving French lyric art for a long time with a sense of phrasing like no other. Halévy has found his new queen.