Catel: Sémiramis / Niquet
Niquet/ Le Concert Spirituel
Charles-Simon Catel (1773-1830)
First performed at the Paris Opéra in 1802, Sémiramis by Charles-Simon Catel is an example of the revival at that time of the tragédie lyrique inherited from Gluck. A work with a touch of exoticism (Babylon), expressing the pathos of isolation, but also with pomp in its ambitious finales, the work bade farewell to the 'Louis-XVI style' and announced, in a neo-Classical style, the grand opéra of the Romantic period. But it came at a time of polemics between supporters and detractors of the new Paris Conservatoire, where Catel, at that time professor of harmony there, had made so many enemies that the audience pit at the Opera was bristling with vengeful hostility when the curtain rose on the first act...