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Jules Verne: A Musical Journey of Adventure!


Jules Verne: By Étienne Carjat/ Adam Cuerden - This file comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b84497879/f1, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83065220


Before he became one of the most successful French authors, Jules Verne was a competent amateur pianist and had written songs and librettos for comic operas. The author once worked as a secretary with the Théâtre-Lyrique, one of four opera companies performing in Paris from 1847-1872. Although Verne’s musical works did not amount to anything, the Théâtre-Lyrique became well-known for performances of Gounod's Faust, as well as revivals of foreign works translated into French, particularly operas by Gluck, Mozart, Weber, and Verdi.


Music features in a number of Verne’s works. Probably the most well-known of these is Captain Nemo’s “great piano-organ”. In Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas, Nemo finds solace in playing melancholic music at night in his living room on board the Nautilus. Less well known is Propeller Island, published in 1894, a story based on a string quartet which is kidnapped forced to give performances on a remote floating island.


Do these tenuous musical connections give us an excuse to stage a musical event (with a dash of theatricality!) based on Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days? Of course they do! More about this special May performance soon…

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