Myerbeer: Les Huguenots
Les Huguenots was some five years in creation. Meyerbeer prepared carefully for this opera after the sensational success of Robert le diable, recognizing the need to continue to present lavish staging, a highly dramatic storyline, impressive orchestration, and virtuoso parts for the soloists – the essential elements of the new genre of Grand Opera. Meyerbeer and his librettist for Robert le Diable, Eugène Scribe, had agreed to collaborate on an epic work concerning the French Wars of Religion, with a drama partly based on Prosper Mérimée's 1829 novel Chronique du règne de Charles IX. Coming from a wealthy family, Meyerbeer could afford to take his time, dictate his own terms, and be a perfectionist. The very detailed contract which Meyerbeer arranged with Louis-Désiré Véron, director of the Opéra, for Les Huguenots (and which was drawn up for him by the lawyer Adolphe Crémieux) is a testament to this.