Lucas et Cécile

Lucas et Cécile. Comic opera, of which only the vocal parts have survived; both words and music are by Joseph Quesnel. The libretto has been lost, but the major lines of the plot have been reconstructed from the words of the 17 numbers (12 ariettas, 2 duos, 2 trios, and an ensemble finale).

Lucas et Cécile

Lucas et Cécile. Comic opera, of which only the vocal parts have survived; both words and music are by Joseph Quesnel. The libretto has been lost, but the major lines of the plot have been reconstructed from the words of the 17 numbers (12 ariettas, 2 duos, 2 trios, and an ensemble finale). Lucas and Cécile are in love. Cécile's mother, Thérèse, approves of the union; her husband, Mathurin, not only is firmly opposed to it, but indeed prefers the pretentious DuSotin, whose knowledge impresses him. DuSotin wishes to bribe Lucas to increase his chances of seducing Cécile, to whom he is attracted. Lucas' anger and refusal, however, (arietta 'Ah! gardes, gardes votre bien') reverse the situation, and the work ends with the marriage of the lovers in a final rondeau in which DuSotin does not participate (his fate remains unaccounted for, without the benefit of the libretto).

The five roles are in the soprano or tenor registers and one of DuSotin's ariettas (no. 10) has a melody used by Quesnel in the 'vaudeville' (no. 13) of Colas et Colinette. No composition date appears on the manuscript, which is held in the archives of the Séminaire de Québec (Verreau collection) and which was brought to light by Helmut Kallmann in 1952. The Courrier de Québec (3 Dec 1808) had announced the premiere of the work by the Théatre de société for the winter season of 1809. The work was not presented, however; Quesnel's death in July 1809 may obviously have played a part in this. By 1990 no clear evidence of a performance during Quesnel's time or later had been discovered, until the performance, as part of Music at Sharon in 1989, of the concert version featuring eight excerpts reconstructed by John Beckwith. By 1991 Beckwith had completed the reconstruction of the other numbers and orchestrated the complete work for a typical 18th-century instrumental ensemble; a piano-vocal score was in preparation by Éditions Doberman-Yppan. Excerpts from Lucas et Cécile were published in CMH, vol 10.


Further Reading

  • Jean MARMIER, "Joseph Quesnel : Lucas et Cécile, texte inédit", Études canadiennes, 16 (1984).

    Beckwith, John. 'Le Lucas et Cécile de Joseph Quesnel: quelques problèmes de restauration,' Cahiers de l'ARMuQ, 13, May 1991