[Auber, Daniel-François-Esprit. (1782 - 1871)]
"La muette de Portici" Tobacco Box, Ca. 1830s
A rare circular tobacco box, [Germany?], ca. 1830, the cover depicting a scene identified at the illustration base as "Die Stume von Portici 3e Act 3e Scène," which 8.4 diameter, 2.2 cm high. La muette de Portici is an opera in five acts by Daniel Auber, with a libretto by Germain Delavigne, revised by Eugène Scribe. The work has an important place in musical history, as it is generally regarded as the earliest French grand opera. La muette was revived in Paris immediately after the French July Revolution of 1830. Later, at a performance of this opera at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels on 25 August 1830, a riot broke out during the patriotic and revolutionary duet "Amour sacré de la patrie" that became the signal for the Belgian Revolution, which led to Belgian independence. Richard Wagner remarked, in his 1871 Reminiscences of Auber, that the opera "whose very representation had brought [revolutions] about, was recognized as an obvious precursor of the July Revolution, and seldom has an artistic product stood in closer connection with a world-event." The scene depicted on the present item is the Finale of Act 3, in which Alphonse’s body-guard Selva tries to rearrest Fenella and Masaniello succeeds in getting the townspeople to revolt in order to stop him and free his sister.