Le petit duc (The little duke) is an opéra comique in three acts by Charles Lecocq. The French libretto was by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged from the popular opéras comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent, which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections. Associated with the Paris theatre of the same name, opéra comique is not always comic or light in nature; Carmen, perhaps the most famous opéra comique, is a tragedy.
Alexandre Charles Lecocq was a French composer, known for his opérettes and opéras comiques. He became the most prominent successor to Jacques Offenbach in this sphere, and enjoyed considerable success in the 1870s and early 1880s, before the changing musical fashions of the late 19th century made his style of composition less popular. His few serious works include the opera Plutus (1886), which was not a success, and the ballet Le cygne (1899). His only piece to survive in the regular modern operatic repertory is his 1872 opéra comique La fille de Madame Angot. Others of his more than forty stage works receive occasional revivals.
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.
The opera was first presented at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, Paris, on 25 January 1878 and revived there in the 1879, 1881 and 1883 seasons with Granier. The first run confirmed the stardom of Granier and was a major financial success for the theatre, which took 6,000 francs a night.
The name Théâtre de la Renaissance has been used successively for three distinct Parisian theatre companies. The first two companies, which were short-lived enterprises in the 19th century, used the Salle Ventadour, now an office building on the Rue Méhul in the 2nd arrondissement.
It was staged again in Paris at the Théâtre Eden in 1888 (with Granier and Dupuis), the Bouffes-Parisiens in 1897 and the Théâtre des Variétés in 1904. It continued to be seen regularly in France up to the Second World War.
The Théâtre des Variétés is a theatre and "salle de spectacles" at 7-8, boulevard Montmartre, 2nd arrondissement, in Paris. It was declared a monument historique in 1975.
It was first performed in London on 27 April 1878, and then in 1881 Granier, Mily-Meyer, Alexandre, Jolly and Desclauzas appeared in a production. Its popularity was such that 1878 also saw premieres in Vienna, Berlin, Prague, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Madrid, Turin and Budapest. New York (and Mexico) first saw the piece in March 1879, with other productions in America showing up to 1896.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 25 January 1878|
(Conductor: Raoul Madier de Montjau)
|Duke of Parthenay||soprano||Jeanne Granier|
|Duchess Blanche of Parthenay||soprano||Mily-Meyer|
|Diane de Château-Lansac||mezzo-soprano||Marie Desclauzas|
|De la Roche-Tonnerre||soprano||Léa d’Asco|
|Courtiers, soldiers, pupils|
The first act of the opera is set in the Oeil-de-Boeuf at Versailles. The very young Duke of Parthenay has been married by his family to Blanche de Cambry, the young daughter of a rich family. Two tutors, Frimousse and Montlandry, are arguing. Although the adolescent couple would like to spend some time together, the families decide that as they are both very young, the wife should go to a private school for aristocratic ladies for two years, while the furious young husband is sent off to be the colonel of a regiment. He wants to get back to his wife, and leads the regiment to the convent school.
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris.
The second act opens at the ladies college in Lunéville run by Diane de Château-Lansac, and where Frimousse is teaching the girls. The principal learns that the regiment of Parthenay has surrounded her school. The little duke has meanwhile taken the disguise of a peasant girl while his men lay siege, and manages to gain entry to the school and meet his wife. However, the principal discovers them and tells him that war has broken out at the frontier. He and his men are forced to leave, along with Frimousse, who is dragged from his hiding place to go with them.
Lunéville is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in France.
The setting for the third act, a camp by a battlefield, sees the duke's regiment arrive in time to help win victory for the French troops. Returning to his tent, the little duke discovers there his Blanche, who has run away from the school. As a recompense he is allowed to be fully reunited with his wife and they set off for Versailles to bring news of the French victory to the king.
A recording of thirteen excerpts was made at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 1953 with Nadine Renaux, Liliane Berton, Willy Clément, René Hérent and Freda Betti, conducted by Jules Gressier.
Szibill is an operetta by Miksa Bródy and Ferenc Martos, with music by Victor Jacobi. First performed on February 27 1914, at the Királyszinház in Budapest starring Sári Fedák in the title role, it rapidly made its way around Europe. An English-language version by Harry Graham, entitled Sybil and containing additional numbers by Jacobi to lyrics by Harry B. Smith, was first performed on January 10 1916 at the Liberty Theatre in New York, with Julia Sanderson. Graham's version was later introduced by the George Edwardes Company at the Prince's Theatre, Manchester on 26 December 1920, and at Daly's Theatre in London on 19 February 1921, with José Collins as Sybil.
Les p'tites Michu is an opérette in three acts, with music by André Messager and words by Albert Vanloo and Georges Duval. The piece is set in Paris in the years following the French Revolution and depicts the complications ensuing after the identities of two girls become confused in their infancy.
Les cloches de Corneville is an opéra-comique in three acts, composed by Robert Planquette to a libretto by Louis Clairville and Charles Gabet.
La vie parisienne is an opéra bouffe, or operetta, composed by Jacques Offenbach, with a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.
La fille du tambour-major is an opéra comique in three acts, with music by Jacques Offenbach and words by Alfred Duru and Henri Chivot. It was one of the composer's last works, premiered less than a year before his death. It opened at the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, Paris, on 13 December 1879, and, after a successful initial run, was frequently revived in Paris and internationally, but in recent times has not been among the Offenbach operas most frequently staged.
The Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens is a Parisian theatre which was founded in 1855 by the composer Jacques Offenbach for the performance of opéra bouffe and operetta. The current theatre is located in the 2nd arrondissement at 4 rue Monsigny with an entrance at the back at 65 Passage Choiseul. In the 19th century the theatre was often referred to as the Salle Choiseul. With the decline in popularity of operetta after 1870, the theatre expanded its repertory to include comedies.
La fille de Madame Angot is an opéra comique in three acts by Charles Lecocq with words by Clairville, Paul Siraudin and Victor Koning. It was premiered in Brussels in December 1872 and soon became a success in Paris, London, New York and across continental Europe. Along with Robert Planquette's Les cloches de Corneville, La fille de Madame Angot was the most successful work of the French-language musical theatre in the last three decades of the 19th century, and outperformed other noted international hits such as H.M.S. Pinafore and Die Fledermaus.
Jeanne Granier was a French soprano, born and died in Paris, whose career was centred on the French capital.
Nicolas-Marie Simon, known as Simon-Max, was a French tenor, mainly active in Paris in the field of opera-bouffe.
Giroflé-Girofla is an opéra bouffe in three acts with music by Charles Lecocq. The French libretto was by Albert Vanloo and Eugène Leterrier. The story, set in 13th century Spain, concerns twin brides, one of whom is abducted by pirates. The other twin poses as both brides until the first is rescued. The composer chose an extravagantly far-fetched theme to contrast with his more realistic and romantic success La fille de Madame Angot premiered the previous year.
Ali-Baba is an opéra comique in four acts, first produced in 1887, with music by Charles Lecocq. The French libretto based on the familiar tale from the Arabian Nights was by Albert Vanloo and William Busnach. After some initial success the work faded from the repertoire.
Albert de Saint-Albin was a 19th-century French playwright, journalist, chansonnier and librettist.
Le jour et la nuit is an opéra-bouffe with a libretto by Albert Vanloo and Eugène Leterrier and music by Charles Lecocq. It was first performed in Paris in 1881, ran for 193 performances and was subsequently staged at other theatres in Europe, North America and Australia. It has not remained in the regular international operatic repertoire.
Le petite mariée is a three-act opéra-bouffe, with music by Charles Lecocq and libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo. It was first performed at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, Paris on 21 December 1875. The opera, set in 16th-century Italy, depicts the farcical complications after the hero is caught in flagrante with the local grandee's wife.
Les cent vierges is an opérette in three acts, with music by Charles Lecocq and a libretto by Clairville, Henri Chivot and Alfred Duru. It was first produced at the Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes, Brussels, on 16 March 1872. The plot concerns the British government's efforts to ship brides out to a distant colony for the all-male colonists. Two French women are accidentally on board the ship taking the brides out, and are pursued to the island by their husbands. The four French intruders are threatened by the colonial governor, but after plotting and farcical goings-on, all ends satisfactorily.
La coeur et la main is a three-act opéra comique with music by Charles Lecocq and words by Charles Nuitter and Alexandre Beaume. It was first performed on 19 October 1882 at the Théâtre de Nouveautés, Paris.
La Marjolaine is an opéra bouffe in three acts, with music by Charles Lecocq and words by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo, the third collaboration by the three. It opened at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, Paris on 3 February 1877 and had a fairly successful run of 117 performances. The work was staged in continental Europe, Britain and the Americas over the next few years.
La cigale et la fourmi is a three-act opéra comique, with music by Edmond Audran and words by Henri Chivot and Alfred Duru. Loosely based on Jean de La Fontaine's version of Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper, the opera shows the lives of two young women, one prudent, like the ant, the other improvident and reckless, like the grasshopper. Unlike the Aesop fable this version has a happy ending, with the "ant" looking after the destitute "grasshopper".
La Camargo is a 3-act opéra comique with music by Charles Lecocq and words by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo. It is a highly fictionalised story of two historical 18th-century characters, the dancer La Camargo and the bandit Louis Mandrin.