Les Troyens - The Trojans: Opera in 5 Acts
Berlioz composed Les Troyens towards the end of his life, drawing on Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, which he had admired since his childhood. In his Memoirs he recounts how his father, a country doctor, read Virgil to him and how the story of Dido’s tragic fate reduced him to tears which he tried hard to conceal.
The score was finished in April 1858, but he was unable to persuade the Paris Opera to mount it (his earlier opera Benvenuto Cellini had been a failure there in 1838), and eventually he agreed to allow the last three acts to be performed under the title Les Troyens à Carthage. This took place at the Théâtre-lyrique, an enterprising but ill-equipped theatre, in November 1863, and although it was much admired, there were no more performances before Berlioz’s death in 1869.
In the history of French music, Les Troyens stand out as a grand opera that avoided the shallow glamour of Meyerbeer and Halévy, but therefore paid the price of long neglect. In our own time the opera has finally come to be seen as one of the greatest operas of the 19th century.
The vocal score to “Les Troyens” presents the text Berlioz conceived as a great five act opera. During the composition of this work between 1856 and 1858 and up until June 1863, Berlioz perceived “Les Troyens ” as one opera. Because of performance difficulties, the composition had to be divided into two operas, “La Prise de Troie” and “Les Toyens à Carthage”.
The vocal score is based on the three-volume New Berlioz Edition and also on the one-volume vocal score edition that under Berlioz’s supervision, was privately printed in 1861-62 and then distributed. The appendix contains two complete scenes: The Sinon scene from the first act and the original finale from the fifth act.Urtext of the New Berlioz EditionFull score (BA5442) and vocal score (BA5442-90) available for salePerformance material (BA5442-72) available for hire