Tom Jones (Philidor)

Tom Jones is a comédie mêlée d'ariettes, a kind of opéra comique, by the French composer François-André Danican Philidor which first appeared at the Comédie-Italienne, Paris, on 27 February 1765. Its French libretto, by Antoine-Alexandre-Henri Poisenet and Bertin Davesne, is loosely based on the novel by Henry Fielding.

The opera was initially a failure but Philidor had the libretto revised by Michel-Jean Sedaine and this new version, first performed on 30 January 1766, proved one of the most popular opéras comiques of the late 18th century. It was produced in a number of other countries, and translated into German, Swedish and Russian.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 27 February 1765
(Conductor: )
Monsieur Western bass Joseph Caillot
Madame Western, his sister mezzo-soprano Bérard
Sophie, his daughter soprano Desglands
Honora, her companion soprano Marie-Thérèse Laruette-Villette
Allworthy, their neighbour baritone Antoine Trial
Tom Jones, his ward tenor Clairval (Jean-Baptiste Guignard)
Blifil, Allworthy's nephew tenor Jean-Louis Laruette
Quaker Dowling spoken


François-André Danican Philidor: Tom Jones, Lausanne Opera and Le Sinfonietta de Lausanne

  • Conductor: Jean-Claude Malgoire
  • Principal singers: Sébastien Droy, Sophie Marin-Degor, Marc Barrard, Sibyl Zanganelli, Carine Séchehaye, Rodolphe Briand, Léonard Pezzino & Guillaume Michel
  • Recording date: staged in 2005; recorded on 17, 18 and 20 janvier, 2006
  • Label: Dynamic 33509 (DVD), CDS509 (CD)


  • Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Tom Jones". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  • Rushton, Julian (1992), "Tom Jones (i)" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  • The Viking Opera Guide, ed. Amanda Holden (1993)