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Eugène Scribe

Augustin Eugène Scribe (French: [oɡystɛ̃ øʒɛn skʁib]; 24 December 1791 – 20 February 1861) was a French dramatist and librettist. He is known for writing "well-made plays" ("pièces bien faites"), a mainstay of popular theatre for over 100 years, and as the librettist of many of the most successful grand operas and opéras-comiques.

Born to a middle-class Parisian family, Scribe was intended for a legal career, but was drawn to the theatre, and began writing plays while still in his teens. His early years as a playwright were unsuccessful, but from 1815 onwards he prospered. Writing, usually with one or more collaborators, he produced several hundred stage works. He wrote to entertain the public rather than educate it. Many of his plays were written in a formulaic manner which aimed at neatness of plot and focus on dramatic incident rather than naturalism, depth of characterisation or intellectual substance. For this he was much criticised by intellectuals, but the "well-made play" remained established in the theatre in France and elsewhere long after his death.

In 1813 Scribe wrote his first opera libretto. From 1822 until his death he was closely associated with the composer Daniel Auber for whom he wrote or co-wrote 39 librettos, among them that for the first French grand opera, La Muette de Portici (1828). His second most frequent musical partner was Giacomo Meyerbeer, who took grand opera further and made it a dominant feature of French musical life. Among the other composers with whom Scribe worked were Adolphe Adam, Adrien Boieldieu, Gaetano Donizetti, Fromental Halévy, Jacques Offenbach and Giuseppe Verdi.

Scribe's librettos are still performed in opera houses around the world, and although few of his non-musical plays have been revived frequently in the 20th or 21st centuries, his influence on subsequent generations of playwrights in France and elsewhere was profound and lasting.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 24, 1791 (Paris), Died February 20, 1861 (Paris)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1911 - 1933

Roles Represented in DAHR: librettist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-10246 12-in. 5/1/1911 Gems from Fra Diavolo Victor Light Opera Company Vocal chorus and soloists, with orchestra librettist  
Victor C-24464 12-in. 9/15/1920 Deh ch'io ritorni Enrico Caruso Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLX168 12-in. 1/14/1928 Cavatine : Si a la rigueur Élie Cohen ; Raybaud Bass vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLX1194 12-in. 12/4/1929 Cavatine du page Henri Büsser ; Jane Laval Female vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLX1439 12-in. 12/8/1930 Romance de Raoul: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine Étienne Ginot ; Georges Thill Tenor vocal solo, with viola d'amore librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLX1443 12-in. 12/12/1930 Air d'Eléazar: Rachel, quand du Seigneur la grâce tutélaire Eugène Bigot ; Georges Thill Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) CLX1727 12-in. 7/8/1933 Jardins d'Alcazar Eugène Bigot ; André Girard Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WL1937 10-in. 12/9/1929 Récit et choral de Luther Eugène Bigot ; Armand Narçon Bass vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WL2025 10-in. 2/5/1930 Voici donc les débris du monastère antique Eugène Bigot ; Armand Narçon Bass vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WL2100 10-in. 3/6/1930 L'amour el le tabac Élie Cohen ; Armand Narçon Bass vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLBX62 12-in. November 1930 Plus blanche que la blanche hermine Andre d'Arkor ; Maurice Bastin ; Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLBX70 12-in. June or July 1931 Ah! quel plaisir d'être soldat Andre d'Arkor ; Maurice Bastin ; Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  
Columbia (U.K.) WLBX72 12-in. June or July 1931 Viens, gentille dame Andre d'Arkor ; Maurice Bastin ; Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra librettist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Scribe, Eugène," accessed May 27, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102276.

Scribe, Eugène. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102276.

"Scribe, Eugène." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102276

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