Les Huguenots

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Les Huguenots ("The Huguenots") is a French opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)[1], with a libretto by Eugène Scribe (1791-1861)[2]en Émile Deschamps (1791-1871)[3].

The original text

Set in in the Touraine region and later in Paris, 1572, at the time when a religious war was being waged between Catholics and Protestants. It tells the tragic story of a young Huguenot, Raoul de Nangis, and Valentine St. Bris, a Catholic and Marguerite de Valois’ lady in waiting, whom he has rescued and fallen in love with. Valentine, who had converted to Protestantism in order to marry Raoul, is killed by her own father while Raoul is killed in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

First performed by the Théâtre de l'Opéra de Paris at the Salle Le Peletier on 29 February 1836.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as De Hugenoten by an anonymous author. Published some time between 1836 and 1886. Later also published in Dutch by Holdert, Amsterdam, in 1925.

Translated into English as The Huguenots, a version in both English and Italian being published in Boston by Oliver Ditson, c1888.

Performance history in South Africa

1886: Performed in Dutch as De Hugenoten in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 12 and/or 13 March by a combined group made up of members of the Rederijkerskamers Aurora II and De Eendracht, with Extractum Longum Vitum (A.A. van der Stempel).

1887: A fantasia on The Huguenots was arranged and played in June by the visiting Hungarian virtuoso violinist Eduard Remenyi as an interlude between the second and third acts of the Searelle Opera Company's presentation of the opera Maritana (Fitzball and Wallace) in the Opera House, Cape Town, under the management of the Wheeler Brothers.


Facsimile version of the score, with English and Italian translations of the libretto (1888), Hathi Trust Digital Library[4]






F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 451, 474

Ingmar Koch. 1997. Het ochtendgloren boven Kaapstad. Nederlandse rederijkers in Kaapstad, Tydskrif vir Nederlands & Afrikaans. (4de Jaargang, Nommer 2. Desember)[5]

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