L'Influence française et ses limites: 'Camille ou le Souterrain' (Marsollier/Dalayrac) et 'The Captive of Spilberg' (1798)

Translated title of the contribution: French Influence and its Limits: 'Camille ou le Souterrain' (Marsollier/Dalayrac) and 'The Captive of Spilberg' (1798)

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In November 1798 the opera 'The Captive of Spilberg' was given at Drury Lane, London, with Prince Hoare as librettist and Jan Ladisław Dussek as composer. It was moderately successful, and a piano-vocal score was issued with a magnificent frontispiece showing the two-level stage set, with its ill-lit dungeon containing the desperate heroine with her comatose young child. The band of rescuers is seen above, having broken through part of the structure. This article compares the London opera with its Paris source, which had an outstandingly accomplished score by Nicolas Dalayrac (1791). Prince Hoare's part in the London theatre scene is outlined, including his several adaptations from French sources. Dussek's work is contextualised using research by Roger Fiske, Michael Robinson, Linda V. Troost, Theodore Fenner and Jane Girdham. The original source of the story, issued by Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis, was based on actual misogynistic cruelty wreaked upon the Italian duchess of Cerifalco, as Mary Trouille showed in 'Buried Alive: Genlis's tale of marital violence' (Studies in Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, 2005, issue 12).
Translated title of the contributionFrench Influence and its Limits: 'Camille ou le Souterrain' (Marsollier/Dalayrac) and 'The Captive of Spilberg' (1798)
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)64-95
Number of pages32
JournalOrages. Littérature et culture 1760-1830
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Paris, opera, London, Dussek, Dalayrac, Prince Hoare, rescue, Mme de Genlis, 'Adèle et Théodore'

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