Jocelyn (opera)

Jocelyn (Op. 100) is a four-act opera by Benjamin Godard, set to a French libretto by Paul Armand Silvestre and the tenor Victor Capoul. Based on the poem by Alphonse de Lamartine, the action takes place in Grenoble and the surrounding mountains during Corpus Christi at the close of the 18th century. The score bears a dedication "A mon ami Daniel Barton".[1]

Opera by Benjamin Godard
The composer
Based onpoem by Alphonse de Lamartine
25 February 1888 (1888-02-25)
La Monnaie, Brussels

This opera is remembered for Godard's most enduring composition,[2] the tender berceuse (lullaby) for tenor, "Oh! ne t'éveille pas encore" commonly known in English as Angels Guard Thee.

Jocelyn premièred on 25 February 1888 at Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels with Pierre-Émile Engel creating the title role. A production with a new cast, including Capoul in the title role, opened in Paris at the Théâtre-Lyrique-National on October 13 of the same year.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, February 25, 1888[3]
(conductor: Joseph Dupont)
Laurence soprano Rose Caron
Julie soprano Storrelle
Young mountain girl mezzo-soprano Angèle Legault
Jocelyn's mother mezzo-soprano L Van Besten
Jocelyn tenor Pierre-Émile Engel
Julie's fiancé baritone Rouyer[4]
The bishop bass-baritone Arthur Henri Seguin
Laurence's father baritone Jacques Isnardon
Old man bass Jules Vinche
Old shepherd Jules Vinche[5]
Gaoler bass Frankin[6]


The popular Berceuse has been recorded by many tenors, including Tino Rossi, Capoul, John McCormack, Beniamino Gigli, Edmond Clément, Richard Crooks, Nicolai Gedda, Jussi Björling and Plácido Domingo, as well as by the cellist Pablo Casals.[7]

Notes and references

  1. Possibly Sir Daniel Fitzgerald Packenham Barton, the counsul general after whom the park in Geneva is named.
  2. Upton and Borowski (1947) p. 182
  3. The cast lists from the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie digital archives, Casaglia (2005), and Godard (1888, First edition of the score) are not in complete agreement with other.
  4. Godard, Benjamin (1888) Vocal score: Jocelyn Op.100. Casaglia (2005) names the singer as Franklyn.
  5. Godard, Benjamin (1888) Vocal score: Jocelyn Op.100. Casaglia (2005) names the singer as Rouyer
  6. Godard, Benjamin (1888) Vocal score: Jocelyn Op.100
  7. The Berceuse is ubiquitous in cello encore albums.


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