La part du diable

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La part du diable ("The Devil's share" also known by the English title Carlo Broschi) is an opéra comique by Daniel Auber to a libretto by Eugène Scribe, loosely based on an incident from the life of the singer Farinelli. It premiered at the Opéra-Comique on 16 January 1843. The original production starred Sophie Anne Thillon and Celeste Darcier alternating in the role of Casilda.

Roles[edit]

RoleVoice typePremiere Cast,[1]
16 January 1843
(Conductor: – )
CasildasopranoSophie Anne Thillon
Rafaël d'EstunigatenorGustave-Hippolyte Roger
Ferdinando VI of SpainbassGérard
Gil VargastenorEdmond-Jules Delaunay-Ricquier
Carlo BroschisopranoGiovanna "Juana" Rossi-Caccia
Maria Theresia of PortugalcontraltoAntoinette-Jeanne Révilly
Count MedranobassLouis Palianti
Fray AntoniobassVictor

Synopsis[edit]

The minstrel Carlo Broschi has hidden his sister Casilda in a convent to protect her from the machinations of clergy who wish to make a present of her for the king Ferdinand VI. She is in love with an unknown cavalier- likewise too highborn to have any lawful intentions toward her, in Carlo's opinion. Carlos happens upon the King, who is possessed by melancholy, and succeeds in cheering him with a song (It was in fact Ferdinand's predecessor Philip V for whom Farinelli was engaged as music therapist). As a reward, he is invited to the court, where he encounters his sister's lover, Raphael d'Estuniga. Raphael is so despondent over his thwarted passion that he is read to sell his soul, so Carlo introduces himself as Satan, ready to lend aid for half of his takings.

Casilda appeals to Carlo for protection; she has been kidnapped by the priests and brought to the king, who, only recently having recovered his sanity, takes her for a ghost. Carlo leaves to speak with the queen (this role was created by Louise-Rosalie Lefebvre) and leaves the lovers alone. Raphael, who has obtained an office due to Carlo's influence and also has had uncommon luck at gambling, is so confident of supernatural aid that he is nonplused at the king's entrance, even when the latter orders his death. Carlo attempts to smooth things over by telling the king Raphael is her husband, but the Grand Inquisitor exposes the fabrication, enraging the king against Carlo as well. Things can only be put right by Carlo's revealing all and reminding the king that the queen still suspects nothing. Carlo, who so far has never hesitated in claiming his 50%, tells his future brother-in-law that this time his share will be Casilda's happiness.

References[edit]

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