AB-838 | The New American Opera Bouffe Evangeline

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Music Sheet
The New American Opera Bouffe Evangeline
Edward E. Rice
1885, 19th century
15 x 20 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
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Keys to History

In the 19th century, the theatre world offered not just classical plays, but light entertainment. Satirical comic operas, or opéras bouffes, were very popular. They deliberately went against -- even mocked -- the spirit of classicism and romanticism, which were still appreciated by the educated élite of the period.

The poem "Evangeline," which exemplified the height of American romanticism, did not escape this treatment: in 1874, the American opéra bouffe called Evangeline, by Rice and Goodwin, was staged.

In the opera, Longfellow's tale is exaggerated to comic ends. Evangeline, in her search for Gabriel, goes up in a hot-air balloon and even rides on a whale. Her travels take her to Arizona, the Egyptian pyramids and African diamond mines. Gabriel is played by a woman, and some of the costumes are ridiculously weird and wonderful.

  • What

    This is sheet music for the opéra bouffe Evangeline.

  • Where

    The opera was staged at the Fourteenth Street Theatre in New York.

  • When

    The work premièred in 1874, and had a first revival in 1877. This sheet music dates from the musical's second revival, in 1885; the opera was put on 251 times in all.

  • Who

    The music was composed by Edward E. Rice (1848-1924). The lyrics were by J. Cheever Goodwin (1850-1912).