Meyerbeer: Le prophète
After the brilliant success of their grand opera Les Huguenots (1836), Meyerbeer and his librettist Scribe decided to collaborate again on a piece based on a historical religious conflict. Meyerbeer's great personal wealth and his duties as official court composer to King Frederick William IV of Prussia meant that there was no hurry to complete the opera, and it was more than a decade in the composition and planning. Le prophète was first performed by the Paris Opera at the Salle Le Peletier on 16 April 1849. In the audience at the work's premiere were Chopin, Verdi, Théophile Gautier, Delacroix, Ivan Turgenev and Berlioz, among others. The production featured costumes by Paul Lormier and sets by Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry (acts 1 and 4), Charles Séchan (acts 2 and 5), and Édouard Desplechin (act 3). It involved the first use ever on stage of Léon Foucault and Jules Duboscq's electric arc light (régulateur à arc électrique), imitating the effect of sunlight.