Le mariage aux lanternes

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Le mariage aux lanternes (The Wedding by Lantern-Light) is an opérette in one act by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Michel Carré and Léon Battu. [1]

Jacques Offenbach German-French composer

Jacques Offenbach was a German-French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffmann remains part of the standard opera repertory.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Michel Carré French librettist

Michel Carré was a prolific French librettist.


It was first performed at the Salle Choiseul, Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, on 10 October 1857. The operetta was a reworking of Le trésor à Mathurin, with words by Battu (1829–57), which had a well-received single performance at the Salle Herz, Paris on 7 May 1853 but was subsequently lost. [2]

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

After the Paris premiere Le mariage aux lanternes was produced in Berlin and Vienna in 1858, Prague, Graz and Budapest in 1859, London, New York, Brussels, Stockholm in 1860, Moscow in 1871 and Milan in 1875. Later it was revived at the Opéra-Comique in 1919, Stockholm in 1927 and Berlin in 1930. [3]

Opéra-Comique opera company in Paris

The Opéra-Comique is a Paris opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart, is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public. Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.

The work is in Offenbach's more pastoral and sentimental style rather than the 'bouffonerie' of some of his contemporary stage works. [4]


RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 10 October 1857,
(Conductor: Jacques Offenbach )
Catherine soprano Marie Dalmont
Fanchettesoprano Lise Tautin
Guillot tenor Paul Geoffroy
Le garde-champêtrespoken roleAntognini


Place: A village square, with Guillot’s house and a barn with a large tree in front

A young farmer Guillot has affection for his orphan cousin Denise, who was entrusted to him by their uncle Mathurin. He hides his feelings by treating her roughly, driving the young girl to despair. Both write to their uncle: him for money, her for advice. Two gossiping widows, Catherine and Fanchette, poke fun at the doltishness of Guillot, but when he receives a letter from his uncle telling him about treasure that may be found under the great tree when the evening church bells peal the two women determine to win Guillot's hand.

At the time of the angélus, Denise enters, reading a letter from her uncle which tells her that she will find a good husband underneath the great tree, where she falls asleep. As Guillot arrives with his spade and lantern, he hears her speak his name in her sleep, and understands that she is Mathurin's promised treasure. By the light of the lanterns of villagers, who have also come to inspect the treasure, they agree to wed, much to the chagrin of the two widows.


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  1. Lamb A. Jacques Offenbach. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
  2. Yon, Jean-Claude. Jacques Offenbach. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, 2000, p115.
  3. Loewenberg A. Annals of Opera. London, John Calder, 1978.
  4. Yon, Jean-Claude. Jacques Offenbach. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, 2000, p196.
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