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La reine de Saba ("The Queen of Sheba") is a grand opera in four or five acts by Charles Gounod to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré inspired by Gérard de Nerval's Le voyage en Orient.

It premiered at the Paris Opera on February 28, 1862.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, February 28, 1862
(Conductor: Pierre-Louis Dietsch)
Balkis, the queen soprano Pauline Guéymard-Lauters
Benoni mezzo-soprano Hamäckers
Sarahil mezzo-soprano Tarby
Adoniram, sculptor and architect of the first templemarker tenor Louis Guéymard
Soliman, the biblical Solomon bass Jules-Bernard Belval
Amrou tenor Raphaël-Auguste Grisy
Phanor baritone Mécène Marié de l'Isle
Méthousaël bass Théodore-Jean-Joseph Coulon
Sadoc bass Frèret

English version by Henry Farnie

An English reworking of the libretto by Henry Farnie "interwoven [with] certain legends and traditions of freemasonry" was titled Irene. It transposed the action to Istanbulmarker in the time of Suleyman the Magnificent and the building of the Great Mosquemarker and used almost all of Gounod's music.



  1. Partition Chant et Piano par Georges Bizet, Choudens fils, Paris nd.; Grove says five acts and other printings of the Chouens score apparently divide the two scenes of the third act.
  2. Information from

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