ZÉMIRE ET AZOR (1771)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Music by André Grétry
Libretto by Jean François Marmontel
Sung in French with English Supertitles
Once upon a time, the merchant Sander and his servant Ali are shipwrecked in a storm and find themselves outside an enchanted palace. When Sander plucks a rose from the palace garden to give to his daughter Zémire, the beast-like Azor appears, demanding that Sander pay with his life for stealing the rose, unless he can persuade one of his daughters to take his place. When she hears what has happened, Zémire agrees to sacrifice her life for her father and Ali brings her to the palace, where she almost faints at the sight of Azor. But Azor proves to be a kind host, and Zémire begins to see beyond his terrifying exterior. One of the earliest operatic adaptations of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, Zémire et Azor combines beautiful melodies with enchanting dance music in a fairy-tale for audiences of all ages. Opera Saratoga’s new production will be directed by James Ortiz, whose innovative use of elaborate puppetry has been compared to the legendary Jim Henson.
Did you know...?
Catherine the Second’s favorite Italian Greyhound was named Zémire, after the heroine in Zémire et Azor. In addition, it was one of Sir Thomas Beecham’s favorite operas (the great Maestro made the earliest recording of the work and often performed the dance music from the opera in concert); and a copy of the score was found in Mozart’s house of mourning.
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