Saint-Georges: L'Amant Anonyme / Haymarket Opera Company

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Haymarket Opera, Chicago’s premier early opera company that presents historically informed performances played on 18th-century classical era instruments, performs on this world-premiere recording of L’Amant Anonyme (The Anonymous Lover) by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799). Premiered in 1780, L’Amant Anonyme was the most successful of Bologne’s six operas and is the only one to survive to the present day. Based on a play by the composer’s patroness Félicité de Genlis, who was a respected writer of the era, the work is an opéra comique in two acts composed in the then-popular style that mixed sung parts with spoken dialogue. The stellar cast is headlined by 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World soprano Nicole Cabell in the lead role of Léontine, opposite Chicago-native tenor Geoffrey Agpalo as her secret admirer Valcour. The cast also includes David Govertsen (Ophémon), Erica Schuller (Jeannette), Michael St. Peter (Colin), and Nathalie Colas (Dorothée). Company founder and artistic director Craig Trompeter leads the performance, conducting a 19-member contingent of the period-instrument Haymarket Opera Orchestra.

Following Haymarket Opera Company’s live performances of L’Amant Anonyme, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Haymarket gave as delightful a production of this neglected bonbon as one could imagine,” and praised Cabell’s “expertly, convincingly shaded … radiant soprano” and Agpalo’s “hall-filling, bel canto sensibility … his tenor plush, fluid, and lip-smackingly sweet.” The Chicago Classical Review wrote, “Anonymous Lover carried a contemporary freshness and energy born of the caring ministrations of a strong ensemble of period instrumentalists, singers and dancers.”

Joseph Bologne, also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was among the 18th century’s most extraordinary musical figures. He rose to fame among the European aristocracy as a virtuoso violinist, composer, and conductor; and was noted as one of the greatest swordsmen of his day and led numerous military campaigns as a high-ranking officer. Bologne was born in Guadeloupe to George Bologne, his Caucasian French father, and Nanon, his enslaved African mother. When his father was unjustly accused of murder, he fled to France to avoid the younger Bologne being sold into slavery. Booklet essay titled “Silenced No More: Composer Joseph Bologne and the French Operatic Tradition” by Marc Clague, Professor of Musicology and Associate Dean at The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, provides historical context and insight into Bologne’s life and the opera. Full libretto in original French and English translation included.



Product Description:


  • Release Date: February 10, 2023


  • Catalog Number: CDR 217


  • UPC: 735131921725


  • Label: Cedille


  • Number of Discs: 3


  • Period: Classical


  • Composer: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges


  • Conductor: Craig Trompeter


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Haymarket Opera Company


  • Performer: David Govertsen, Nicole Cabell, Michael St. Peter, Erica Schuller, Geoffrey Agpalo, Nathalie Colas



Works:


  1. L'Amant Anonyme

    Composer: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

    Ensemble: Haymarket Opera Orchestra

    Performer: Nicole Cabell (Soprano), Geoffrey Agpalo (Tenor), David Govertsen (Bass-Baritone), Erica Schuller (Soprano), Michael St. Peter (Tenor), Nathalie Colas (Soprano)

    Conductor: Craig Trompeter