Du Puy, Edouard


Du Puy, Edouard

Ungdom og Galskab, overture

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Edouard Du Puy – Overture to the Song-Play

(b. Corcelles-Cormondrèche, about 1770 – d. Stockholm, 3. April 1822)

Ungdom og Galskab


Jean Baptiste Edouard Louis Camille Du Puy was a talented performer and composer who, though born in Switzerland, became a legend across Europe in the late eighteenth century. He was banished or exiled at various times from Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark, however he was a popular musician and so managed to achieve a certain influence on Danish and Swedish music. At the age of 12 he traveled to Paris to study violin with Charles Chabran and piano with Jan Ladislav Dussek, and it was this French tradition that would remain at the root of his musical style. His talents, particularly on the violin and singing, led him to perform and compose in several notable places such as the court of Prince Henry of Prussia, the Royal Court Orchestra in Stockholm, as well as the Royal Opera in Copenhagen. In 1793, he moved to Stockholm, where his musical career flourished. He was considered a master of the violin, exemplifying a balance of virtuosic playing with technical precision. In 1799, he was expelled from Sweden for his political beliefs. Thus, he turned to Copenhagen to continue his musical career. By performing in the opera orchestra, he established himself as an excellent violinist and singer, enough so that he premiered the title role of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni there. The role would soon prove prescient. After an affair with Princess Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Schwerin, Du Puy was banished from Denmark by Prince Kristian Fredrik (later King Kristian VIII) and returned to Sweden, where he would remain until his death.
Du Puy’s daughter, eight years old at the time, claimed to remember saving only what she could carry when they left Copenhagen: her father’s violin and the score of his comic opera Ungdom og Galskab (Youth and Folly), which he had composed during his time there. Ungdom og Galskab had been premiered in May of 1806 at the city’s Royal Opera House. The libretto was taken from Jean-Nicolas Bouilly’s opéra-comique Une Folie (1802), previously set to music by French composer Étienne-Nicolas Méhul. Méhul’s composition could not be sent to Copenhagen because of political turmoil, and after refusing to perform a Danish translation of the opera, Du Puy decided that the only way to sing this opera was to compose his own version. He maintained the plot about a man who tries to outsmart the lover of the woman he loves, but changed the setting from France to Copenhagen to please his audience. …


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