CINQ-MARS Barre de navigation

( Creation in the Opera, on April 5, 1877)

Situation : En France, au XVIIe siècle, les dernières années du règne de Louis XIII.




Le marquis de Cinq-Mars

premier ténor d'opéra


le conseiller de Thou

premier baryton


Le père Joseph

première basse


Le vicomte de Fontrailles

premier baryton d'opéra-comique


Le roi

basse chantante


le chancelier



de Montmort



de Montrésor



de Brienne



de Monglat



de Château-Giron






la princesse Marie de Gonzague

première chanteuse falcon


Marion Delorme

première chanteuse légère


Ninon de l'Enclos



Act I. The castle of the marquis de Cinq-Mars.
A choir of noble persons celebrates the imminent importance Cinq-Mars is going to take (choirs and scene: " A la Cour vous allez paraître"); some suggest that he owes an ultimate debt of allegiance to the Cardinal of Richelieu, the others to the King. For his part, Cinq-Mars shows himself indifferent to the questions of political order: Alone with his closest friend, de Thou, he confesses that he loves princess Marie de Gonzague (Duet: " Henri! Vous nous parliez "). They recognize both intuitively that this affair will end badly. The guests reappear: among them is Father Joseph, the spokesman for the Cardinal of Richelieu, and the Princess Marie. The first one announces that Cinq-Mars is called to the royal court, and that a marriage is arranged between Princess Marie and the King of Poland. Cinq-Mars and Marie agree to meet later in the evening. After the departure of the guests, Marie wishes her heart to be at peace in the sweetness of the night-(solo and cantilena: " Nuit resplendissante "). Cinq-Mars walks in and declares his love to her; before he leaves, she declares herself in turn (Duet: " Ah! Vous m'avez pardonné ma folie").


Acte II. The King's apartments.
After a choir singing the beauty of courtesan Marion Delorme, Fontrailles, Montrésor, Montmort, de Brienne, Monglat, and the other courtisans, discuss the increasing influence of Cinq-Mars over the King. The noble are dissatisfied with the excessive power that the Cardinal of Richelieu has assumed, and wonder if Cinq-Mars will join finally their cause. Marion reports that the Cardinal threatens to exile him; Fontrailles is surprised, and is sure that Paris would become very boring without its elegant salons (Song: " On ne verra plus dans Paris "). Marion announces that she will organize a ball the next day, which will give them the opportunity to cast the basis of an intrigue to eliminate the Cardinal. Cinq-Mars appears and is welcomed by the courtisans (Choirs: " Ah! Monsieur le Grand Ecuyer "). Marie has just arrived at the Court and the two lovers are reunited (Cavatina: " Quand vous m'avez dit un jour "). However just after this blessed moment, father Joseph comes to announce that, in spite of the King's unformal agreement of Cinq-Mars's marriage with Marie, the Cardinal refuses to formalize their union, preferring rather to follow the original plan of marrying Marie to the King of Poland. At Marion Delorme's apartments. The evening begins with the reading of Madeleine de Scudéry's last novel, "Clélie", followed by a long pastoral entertainment with ballet, including notably a sonnet said by a herdsman (Sonnet: " De vos traits mon âme est navrée "). The more serious things remain to come (The conspiracy: " Viendra-t-il? "). Fontrailles assures that Cinq-Mars will join the plot, as he predicted, Cinq-Mars arrives soon. He declares that the King is no longer in total control of the country, and that the eviction of the Cardinal is a just cause; civil war is imminent, and he assures his coconspirators that he arranged a treaty with Spain, which implies that their armies will intervene on their side. De Thou suddenly interrupts him, and warns him against opening French ground to a foreign power, but the marquis remains resolute.


Acte III. The next day. Outside of a chapel.
A meeting of the conspirators is imminent; Marie appears, contrary to all expectations, and agrees with Cinq-Mars to exchange at once wedding wishes (Trio: " Madame, c'est le lieu du rendez-vous"). After their departure, father Joseph and Eustache appear from a hiding place: this last one is a spy and makes a complete report of the intrigue to father Joseph. Father Joseph savors the power which he possesses on the fate of Cinq-Mars (air: " Tu t'en vas "). He confronts Marie with the announcement of the imminent hanging of the marquis, for betraying the country in dealing independently with a foreign power; the Polish ambassador will return soon from a hunt with the King and father Joseph advises Marie to answer him favorably, in exchange of what, Cinq-Mars will be spared. When the royal suite arrives, Marie capitulates against her heart (Choirs: " Hallali! Chasse superbe ").


Acte IV. A prison.
As he waits for the execution, Cinq-Mars regrets that Marie abandoned him; nevertheless, his last hour approaching, he evokes her image by way of consolation (Cavatina: " O chère et vivante image "). Marie enters, explains the guile of father Joseph and admits that she always loves Cinq-Mars (Duet: " Ah! Qu'ai-je dit "). De Thou draws the main lines of the plan which has been prepared for the escape of Cinq-Mars the next day. When the chancellor and father Joseph come to announce that the marquis will die before the dawn, it becomes clear that this plan will not happen (Finale: " Messieurs, appelez à vous, votre courage"). Before Cinq-Mars is brought to the gibbet, he sings with de Thou a final prayer.


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To write:

Sapho - La Nonne sanglante - Le médecin malgré lui - Faust - Philémon et Baucis - La colombe
La reine de Saba - Mireille - Roméo et Juliette - Cinq-Mars - Polyeucte - Le tribut de Zamora