Edouard Lalo (1823-1892) is one of those French composers whom many assume to be Spanish on account of his most popular work, the Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra. His other works include a Fantaisie norvégienne and Concerto russe, yet it seems that he has never been taken for a Norwegian or Russian. Despite these and other works for orchestra (including a Cello Concerto), Lalo felt that his true métier was as an opera composer and spent years working on Le roi d’Ys, an opera based upon the Breton legend of the drowned city of Ys (Debussy’s piano piece “The Submerged Cathedral” draws from the same myth). Lalo had a battle getting the work performed. Although finished in 1875 (and revised in 1886), Le roi d’Ys did not reach the stage until 1888 when it was mounted, very successfully, by the Opera-Comique. Popular for the next few decades, it has since fallen into obscurity but it revived as a curiosity from time to time.
© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra