Benvenuto Cellini

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Hector Berlioz


Léon de Wailly, and Jules Barbier


10 September 1838, Paris (Académie Royale de Musiq




Benvenuto Cellini Synopsis


Benvenuto Cellini Libretto



About the opera Benvenuto Cellini

Benvenuto Cellini is an opera in two acts with music by Hector Berlioz and libretto by Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. It was the first of Berlioz's operas. The story is loosely based on the memoirs of the Florentine sculptor Benvenuto Cellini. The opera is technically very challenging and rarely performed, and is not part of the standard operatic repertoire. However, the overture to the opera features in symphony orchestra programs, as well as the concert overture Le carnaval romain that Berlioz composed from material in the opera. Ora Frishberg Saloman has discussed in detail the opera's characterisation of the historical figure of Cellini.
In 1834, Berlioz, de Wailly and Barbier devised a libretto in the opéra comique style, with spoken dialogue. However, the Paris Opéra-Comique company rejected it. The story was then reworked into more "conventional" opera format, without spoken dialogue. With actual composition starting in 1836, the opera was first performed at the Paris Opera on September 10, 1838, conducted by François Antoine Habeneck, and with Gilbert Duprez in the title-role. At its premiere, the audience, disturbed by the radical new opera, rioted, and the musicians branded the work as impossible to play.
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Roles in Benvenuto Cellini

Teresa Soprano
Ascanio Mezzo-Soprano
Benvenuto Cellini Tenor
Fieramosca Baritone
Pope Clement VII Bass
Balducci Baritone
Francesco Tenor
Bernardino Bass

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