Offenbach "La belle Hélène" Overture

La belle Hélène (French pronunciation: ​[la bɛl elɛn], The Beautiful Helen), is an opéra bouffe in three acts by Jacques Offenbach to an original French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. The operetta parodies the story of Helen's elopement with Paris, which set off the Trojan War. It was first performed at Paris's Théâtre des Variétés on December 17, 1864, starring Hortense Schneider and José Dupuis. While some experts (cf Grove) are of the opinion that the creation of La belle Hélène was a "largely untroubled" affair, others (cf Jacob) paint a different picture: Although Offenbach had managed at great cost to persuade Schneider, known by then as "La Snédèr", to accept the role of Helen, the premiere remained in doubt to the very last minute. During rehearsals, La Snédèr constantly complained that the extravagant Léa Silly (in a male role as Oreste) was trying to upstage her: La Silly extemporized (a privilege reserved for the prima donna); she imitated her; she danced a cancan in her back while she was singing an important aria, etc. etc. La Snédèr not only walked off the set repeatedly, but kept threatening to leave the world, or at least Paris, altogether! It took all of Offenbach's skills at creating harmony to see the production through. WIKIPEDIA
La belle Hélène was an instant success with both the public and the critics and enjoyed an initial run of 700 performances. Premieres in Vienna (1865), Berlin (1865), London (1866), and Chicago (1867) followed shortly. It also had a run in New York City at the Grand Opera House beginning on April 13, 1871. It had its Czech premiere in Prague in 1875, under Adolf Čech.

VIDEO: Overture to La belle Hélène The beautiful Helena Die schöne Helena by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) Vienna State Opera Orchestra 

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