Louise is an opera in four acts by Gustave Charpentier to an original French libretto by the composer, with some contributions by Saint-Pol-Roux, a symbolist poet and inspiration of the surrealists.
The opera depicts Parisian working-class life. However the city itself is in many ways the true star of this very atmospheric work - invoked at various points during the opera. A French example of verismo opera, it tells the story of the love between Louise, a seamstress living with her parents in Paris, and Julien, a young artist. It is the story of a young girl's desire for freedom (associated in her mind with her lover and the city of Paris).
Charpentier later wrote a sequel to Louise, the opera Julien, which describes the artistic aspirations of Louise's suitor. Ileana Cotrubas and Placido Domingo star in the early spring of their careers in this 1976 recording. Jane Berbie and Gabriel Bacquier sing with Gallic authority as Louise's parents, and conductor Georges Prêtre knows his way around the score beautifully.