The vocal score to “Les Troyens ” presents the text Berlioz conceived as a great five act opera. During the composition of this work between 1856 and 1858 and up until June 1863, Berlioz perceived “Les Troyens ” as one opera. Because of performance difficulties, the composition had to be divided into two operas, “La Prise de Troie ” and “Les Toyens à Carthage ”.
Berlioz began to write the libretto in Paris in April 1856 and completed it on June 26th of that same year. The dramatic material of acts III-V is taken from books 1 and 4 of Virgil's “ Aeneid ”.
The two trojan acts are loosely based on books 1 and 2 by Virgil.
Berlioz wrote in May 1861: “I am sure that I have created a great work, greater and superior to anything I have ever written before”.
The vocal score is based on the three-volume New Berlioz Edition and also on the one-volume vocal score edition that under Berlioz’s supervision, was privately printed in 1861-62 and then distributed. The appendix contains two complete scenes: The Sinon scene from the first act and the original finale from the fifth act.