Tragédie-opéra in three acts. Paris Version 1776.
In 1774 Gluck had committed himself to supplying six stage works to the Academie Royale de Musique in Paris. This job he fulfilled partially by reworking works which had already been premiered in Vienna.
In the case of the Paris Alceste (1776), which Gluck had also originally composed for Vienna (1767), the composer created a completely new version which was to become the prototype of the so-called reform opera. The libretto was translated from the former Italian into French and was altered at the same time, but also the music was fundamentally changed: Gluck newly composed the recitatives and rearranged, enlarged or cut scenes.
The initial rejection of the work by the audience caused him to further alter the third act, for example by adding the character of Hercules as Alceste's saviour. In this form the opera finally became a big success.
- Full score (BA2291) available for sale; performance material (BA2291-72) available for hire.