Evangeline

Evangeline Narrative poem (1847) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow inspired by the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755. Pamphile Lemay made a French translation in 1865. The poem tells of the love and wanderings of two young Acadians, Évangéline Bellefontaine and Gabriel Lajeunesse, who, the day after their betrothal, were deported from Grand Pré, NS, on different Louisiana-bound ships. The pair are reunited years later in a Philadelphia almshouse where she, now a Sister of Mercy, finds him destitute and dying. Several composers - Canadian, US, British, French, and Italian - have written works based on the story. Evangeline, the opera by Graham George, has a libretto based both on Longfellow and on Acadian historical sources, by Paul Roddick and Donald Warren, and was premiered 1 Dec 1948 by the Queen's University Glee Club and SO, conducted by the composer, in the ballroom of Kingston's La Salle Hotel. Arnold Edinborough was the stage director, the composer's wife, Tjot George, was Evangeline, and Eric Barton was Gabriel. Other operas on the same theme have been written by the French composer Xavier Leroux (1863-1919), whose four-act Évangéline, 'légende acadienne,' was premiered in Brussels in 1895 by the Théâtre de la Monnaie, and by the US composer Otto Luening, whose three-act Evangeline was performed first at Brander Matthews Hall, Columbia U, New York, in May 1948, antedating George's by seven months. The BN du Q holds fragments (67 pages) of Évangéline, an unfinished opera in three acts by Émilien Allard, libretto by Gaétan Valois. George Carter composed a cantata Evangeline in 1873. Thomas Hahn's dramatic cantata Evangeline (1967) for soprano, five male voices, choir, and orchestra, used a text adapted by Joan Fontaine from the Longfellow poem. Robert Talbot also wrote an oratorio on the subject. Évangéline et Gabriel, an opera by Marc Gagné, partially inspired by Longfellow's poem, was completed in 1990.

Evangeline's Quest by Ginette Pellerin, National Film Board of Canada