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Le roi Arthus (King Arthur) is an opera in three acts by the Frenchmarker composer Ernest Chausson to his own libretto. It was composed between 1886 and 1895 and first performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brusselsmarker, Belgiummarker on 30 November 1903. The musical style is heavily influenced by the works of Richard Wagner, particularly Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal, as well as César Franck. The scenery at the premiere was designed by the Belgian Symbolist artist Fernand Khnopff.

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere Cast
Conductor: Sylvain Dupuis
Le roi Arthus (King Arthur) baritone Henri Albers
Guenièvre (Guinevere) mezzo-soprano Jeanne Paquot d'Assy
Lancelot tenor Charles Dalmorès
Lyonnel tenor E.Forgeur
Merlin baritone Édouard Cotreuil
Mordred bass François
Allan bass Jean Vallier


Synopsis

Act One

Fresh from his defeat of the Saxons, King Arthur praises the fighting prowess of the knights of the Round Table, particularly Lancelot. That night Lancelot meets Arthur's wife Guinevere for an adulterous tryst but the two are spied on by Mordred. Lancelot fights and wounds him.

Act Two

Lancelot flees to his castle with Guinevere. He learns that Mordred has survived and revealed the truth to the king. Arthur consults the wizard Merlin who foretells the downfall of the Round Table.

Act Three

Arthur pursues Lancelot and gives battle, but Lancelot throws away his weapons and refuses to fight his king. Guinevere, fearing Lancelot's imminent death, strangles herself with her own hair. Arthur forgives the mortally wounded Lancelot. A chariot descends from the sky to bear the king up to Heaven.

Recordings



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