Guido et Ginevra

Guido et Ginevra, ou La Peste de Florence (French: Guido and Ginevra, or the Plague at Florence) is a grand opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy to a libretto by Eugène Scribe. It was premiered on 5 March 1838 by the Paris Opera at the Salle Le Peletier.

Performance historyEdit

Guido et Ginevra was only a moderate success for Halévy, not nearly as applauded as his previous grand opera La Juive (1835) or as La reine de Chypre which followed it (1841). However, after its premiere it was soon played in all the major European centres. When the opera was revived in Paris in 1840 it was cut to four acts. It was translated into Italian and performed in three acts by the Théâtre-Italien at the Salle Ventadour beginning on 17 February 1870.[1] It was performed in German in Mannheim beginning on 3 April 1879, and Hamburg, on 20 March 1882.[2] No recent productions are known.

The opera contains touches of the composer's innovative orchestration, with a melophone in Act II, and with Ginevra's tomb scene set to dark woodwind and brass instruments using diminished seventh harmonies.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,[3] 5 March 1838
(Conductor: )
Cosme de Médicis bass Nicolas Levasseur
Manfredi, Duke of Ferrara bass Nicolas-Prosper Dérivis
Guido, a young sculptor tenor Gilbert Duprez
Forte-Braccio, condottiere tenor Jean-Étienne-Auguste Massol
Lorenzo, steward to Médicis bass Molinier
Téobaldo, sacristan of Florence Cathedral bass Ferdinand Prévost
Ginevra, daughter of Médicis soprano Julie Aimée Dorus-Gras
Ricciarda, a singer mezzo-soprano Rosine Stoltz
Léonore, chambermaid of Ginevra soprano Mme Morin
Antonietta, young peasant soprano Maria Flécheux


Scribe drew the elements of his plot from the history of Florence by Louis-Charles Delécluze

Act 1Edit

The Medici court

Ginevra is to be married to the Duke of Ferrara.

Act 2Edit

During the ceremony, a poisoned veil she has been given causes her to faint away in a deathlike trance; the sculptor Guido mourns her. It is assumed that she has the plague.

Act 3Edit

The Medici vault

Buried in the Medici vault she awakes.

Act 4Edit

Guido offers her shelter.

Act 5Edit

The village of Camaldoli

Ginevra is reunited with her father, who agrees to her marriage with Guido. A procession of thanksgiving ends the opera.



  1. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column795; Chouquet 1873, p. 400; see also OCLC 459206797.
  2. ^ Loewenberg 1978, column795.
  3. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005).18&Testo=Guido_et_Ginevra&Parola=Stringa "Guido et Ginevra, 5 (badmonth) h 18". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).