“La Belle Hélène” is one of the best known of over a hundred stage works written by Offenbach and a key work for the genre of operetta overall. La Belle Hélène was successfully premiered on 17 December 1864 in the “ Théâtre des Variétés ” in Paris .
The success of the first German performance on 17 March 1865 at the “ Theater an der Wien” gave the impulse for the development of Viennese operetta. The significance of “ La Belle Hélène” to this genre can further be substantiated by the fact that this was the first operetta in which a diva took a central role.
For the critical new edition of “ La Belle Hélène” by Robert Didion (†), a careful textual analysis of the music has been undertaken for the first time. Whereas all the early editions were based on either the first French edition published shortly after the premiere in 1865 in Paris by Gérard ( Heugel ) or on the German edition published by Bote Bock after the first Vienna performance in 1865, this new edition goes back to Offenbach‘s autograph score which is almost complete. Offenbach ’s concession to the Bouffes-Parisiens allowed only reduced orchestral forces compelling him to almost halve the wind scoring. For the first time this new edition offers the possibility to use the orchestral forces as Offenbach originally composed for this work.
- Finale in three versions
- Original French text underlaid with German singing translation
- With a detailed introduction (Fr/Eng/Ger)