I knew that he was perverting France. I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand.She was right - Marat was the man behind the Paris Mob, the street muscle that allowed the Jacobins to fuel the Terror. In short, he was sort of the French Revolution's Che Guevara. Corday paid for her act at a date with Madame Guillotine. It is ironic that Marat would die on the day before Bastille Day, but pretty much everything about this whole episode has become cluttered with romantic iconography - not least being Jacques-Louis David's painting of the event.
Peter Benoit was a forgotten Flemish composer from the 19th Century. His style was melodramatic (likely because that was the sort of music that was in demand and paid the bills), but also (and rather incongruously) composed a fair amount of sacred music including a Te Deum.
Today he's entirely forgotten. That's a shame, because this isn't at all bad. It's admittedly not top shelf, but it is a solid, craftsman like opening to the opera. He works in themes from La Marseillaise, so you'll be able to hum along.