L'attaque du moulin

L'attaque du moulin (The Attack on the Mill) is a drame lyrique (opera) in four acts by the French composer Alfred Bruneau. The libretto, by Louis Gallet with the collaboration of Émile Zola, is based on a short story by Zola (included in the collection Les soirées de Médan). Zola's story is about the Franco-Prussian War, but the setting of the opera was changed to the period of the French Revolution.[1][2]

Performance history

L'attaque du moulin was first performed on 23 November 1893 by the Opéra-Comique at the former Théâtre Lyrique (the present Théâtre de la Ville) on the Place du Châtelet in Paris. The mise en scène was by Léon Carvalho, the scenery by Marcel Jambon, and the costumes by Théophile Thomas.[1] The original production was performed a total of 39 times.[3]

The Gaîté Lyrique revived the opera on 16 December 1907,[4] and the Opéra-Comique, on 25 March 1922 (14 performances).[3] By 1917 the opera had been presented outside France in eleven different cities, including Brussels (27 January 1894), London (4 July 1894, at the Covent Garden theatre), Breslau (5 November 1805, in German), Geneva (11 December 1896), Milan (8 January 1898, at the Teatro Lirico, in Italian), The Hague (November 1903), Barcelona (7 January 1909), New York (8 February 1910), New Orleans (19 January 1911), Vienna (13 March 1914, at the Volksoper, in German), Birmingham (15 October 1915, in English), and again London (18 May 1917, at the Garrick Theatre, in English).[4]


Cast Voice type Premiere cast[5]
23 November 1893
(Conductor: Jules Danbé)
Françoise soprano Georgette Leblanc
Geneviève soprano Jeanne Laisné
Marceline mezzo-soprano Marie Delna
Dominique tenor Edmond Vergnet
Merlier baritone Max Bouvet
Sentinel tenor Edmond Clément
French captain tenor E. Thomas
Young man baritone Henri Artus
Enemy captain baritone Mondaud
Sergeant baritone Ragneau
Drummer bass Hippolyte Belhomme



  1. Wild & Charlton 2005, pp. 96, 147.
  2. Aprahamian 2001.
  3. Wolff 1953, pp. 25–26.
  4. Loewenberg 1978, column 1170.
  5. amadeusonline; Wolff 1953, p. 25.


  • Amadeus Online (in Italian)
  • Aprahamian, Félix (2001). "Alfred Bruneau" in Holden 2001, pp. 136–137.
  • Holden, Amanda, editor (2001). The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4.
  • Loewenberg, Alfred (1978). Annals of Opera 15971940 (third edition, revised). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-87471-851-5.
  • Wild, Nicole; Charlton, David (2005). Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique Paris: répertoire 1762-1972. Sprimont, Belgium: Editions Mardaga. ISBN 978-2-87009-898-1.
  • Wolff, Stéphane (1953). Un demi-siècle d'Opéra-Comique (1900–1950). Paris: André Bonne. Listings at WorldCat.
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