Nov 4, 2016
First performed in 1784 in Paris, Grétry’s comic opera L’épreuve villageoise plays out merrily against the insouciant backcloth of a European society about to undergo an irreversible, violent upheaval, just five years later. Grétry was a master of the comic opera genre, and this particular stagework presents a lighthearted feast of flirting in a cosy village setting. The reach of the work, however, was far from parochial. It was among a dozen Grétry operas that received some 80 performances by two resident opera troupes in French-speaking New Orleans in North America between 1796 and 1811. Raymond Bisha gives context in his latest podcast.