Tromb-al-ca-zar, ou Les criminels dramatiques

Last updated
Jacques Offenbach by Nadar, c. 1860s Jacques Offenbach by Nadar.jpg
Jacques Offenbach by Nadar, c. 1860s

Tromb-al-ca-zar, ou Les criminels dramatiques is a bouffonnerie musicale in one act of 1856 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Charles-Désiré Dupeuty and Ernest Bourget. [1] With its dialogue containing plays on words and stage business from contemporary Parisian dramas and operas, it is described by Kracauer as satirizing the romantic bandits of grand opera. [2]

Contents

Tromb-al-ca-zar was premiered in the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Salle Choiseul in Paris, preceded by two cantatas by Offenbach, Le Berceau and La Paix du monde. [3] Successful numbers such as the bolero for Hortense Schneider and the song about Bayonne ham, made the work popular along with the in-jokes, despite the thin plot; it was revived at the Bouffes-Parisiens for several years afterwards.

As well as "extravagant parodies both of specific more serious musical works", the work pokes fun at the brigand element in romantic opera generally. [4]

After opening at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Schneider made such an impression on Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, cousin of the emperor, that the company was summoned to give a command performance of the piece at his home. [5] Tromb-al-ca-zar was performed in Brussels in September 1858 and in Vienna in March 1862, [3] and mounted in London in English in 1870. [6]

Roles

Roles, voice types, premiere cast
Role Voice type Premiere cast, 3 April 1856, [3]
Conductor: Jacques Offenbach
Ignace bass Rubel
Beaujolais tenor Pradeau
Vert-Panné baritone Léonce
Gigolette soprano Hortense Schneider
Four dancers, actors

Synopsis

The interior of an inn near Saint-Jean-de-Luz

The inn-keeper Ignace bemoans his lot at his isolated inn, with no customers. Having abandoned his cousin Simplette he lives in fear of bandit raids. There is a knock at the door; Beaujolais, an itinerant actor wearing a costume giving him the resemblance of a brigand and pistols on his belt, enters – to escape the rain and the police – theatrically declaiming his fate and all the heroic leads he can play (Don César de Bazan, Satan, Robert le Diable, Marco Spada). When Beaujolais describes to the fearful Ignace his exploits in the neighbouring town the inn-keeper thinks he is a bandit, and as soon as he mentions his "troupe", Ignace is sure he is faced with the notorious Tromb-al-ca-zar, leader of the Trabucayres, but reckons on placating them with a plate of sardines.

Vert-Panné (the supporting actor), Gigolette (principal warbler) and other members of the company now also seek refuge in the inn. They had all been jeered from the stage during a performance the previous night in a neighbouring town, and are now on their way to Bayonne. In a trio they quote from various stage and popular musical works of the day, including Félicien David's chanson "Les Hirondelles" and Auber's opéra comique La sirène. They are about to depart when Ignace calls for help to set the table for dinner. As they accept the invitation to eat, Ignace – aside – recognises in Gigolette his cousin, while she – also aside – recognises Ignace. After singing the praises of ham, they accept kirsch from Ignace, singing a song adapted from Le chalet by Adam.

The players rehearse their next production, with Beaujolais as Trombonne-cazar and Vert-Panné as Astolfio, and Ignace gets more and more agitated over-hearing the bloody-thirsty dialogue, and tries to flee. He is brought back in on the quartet about the legendary Tromb-al-ca-zar and eventually, after pleading for mercy, Ignace is enrolled in the troupe, despite his lack of dancing skill. After numerous puns on the word "Pau" (another stop on the players' tour), the work ends with a reprise of the song in praise of Bayonne ham:
"Eh bon, bon, bon! que le vin est bon! avec le jambon de pif, paf, pif, pouf, de Bayonne!".

Musical numbers

Related Research Articles

Jacques Offenbach German-French composer, cellist and impresario

Jacques Offenbach was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the Romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s to the 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.

Henri Meilhac

Henri Meilhac was a French dramatist and opera librettist, best known for his collaborations with Ludovic Halévy on Georges Bizet's Carmen and on the works of Jacques Offenbach, as well as Jules Massenet's Manon.

<i>Ba-ta-clan</i>

Ba-ta-clan is a "chinoiserie musicale" in one act with music by Jacques Offenbach to an original French libretto by Ludovic Halévy. It was first performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, on 29 December 1855. The operetta uses set numbers and spoken dialogue and runs for under an hour.

<i>Madame Favart</i>

Madame Favart is an opéra comique, or operetta, in three acts by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Alfred Duru and Henri Chivot.

Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens

The Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens is a Parisian theatre 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.

Léonce (actor)

Édouard-Théodore Nicole, known as Léonce, was a 19th-century French actor and singer.

<i>Madame larchiduc</i>

Madame l’archiduc is an opéra bouffe, or operetta in three acts, by Jacques Offenbach, with a French libretto by Albert Millaud first performed at the Bouffes-Parisiens in Paris in 1874.

<i>Croquefer, ou Le dernier des paladins</i>

Croquefer, ou Le dernier des paladins is a one-act opéra bouffe by Jacques Offenbach to a French libretto by Adolphe Jaime and Étienne Tréfeu, first performed in 1857.

<i>Le 66</i>

Le 66 is an opérette in one act of 1856 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Auguste Pittaud de Forges and Laurencin. Gänzl describes the work as "in the rustic vein of Le violoneux and Le mariage aux lanternes".

<i>Pomme dapi</i>

Pomme d'api is a one-act opérette of 1873 by Jacques Offenbach with a French libretto by Ludovic Halévy and William Busnach.

Théâtre des Folies-Marigny

The Théâtre des Folies-Marigny, a former Parisian theatre with a capacity of only 300 spectators, was built in 1848 by the City of Paris for a magician named Lacaze and was originally known as the Salle Lacaze. It was located at the east end of the Carré Marigny of the Champs-Élysées, close to the Avenue Marigny, but faced west toward the Cirque National on the other side of the square.

Draner

Draner, actually Jules Joseph Georges Renard, was a Belgian painter, Illustrator and cartoonist. Living from 1861 in Paris, Draner worked as an illustrator for numerous famous newspapers and sketched late costumes for different famous theatrical houses and opera-houses. He is also considered to be an early Belgian comics artist.

<i>Un mari à la porte</i>

Un mari à la porte is an opérette in one act of 1859 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Alfred Delacour and Léon Morand.

<i>Une demoiselle en loterie</i>

Une demoiselle en loterie is a one-act 'opérette bouffe' of 1857 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Adolphe Jaime and Hector Crémieux.

<i>Pépito</i> (opera)

Pépito is a one act opéra comique of 1853 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto is by Léon Battu and Jules Moinaux, inspired by an 1825 vaudeville by Scribe.

Léon Battu

Léon Battu was a French dramatist, born 1829 in Paris, where he died on 22 November 1857.

Eugène Gaston Mestépès was a 19th-century French librettist, playwright and theatre director.

<i>La princesse de Trébizonde</i>

La princesse de Trébizonde is an opéra bouffe with music by Jacques Offenbach and text by Étienne Tréfeu and Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter. The work was first given in two acts at the Theater Baden-Baden on 31 July 1869 and subsequently presented in a revised three act version at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens on 7 December of the same year.

<i>Les bergers</i>

Les bergers is a three-act opéra comique of 1865 with music by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was by Hector Crémieux and Philippe Gille. It belongs to the group of more serious works, such as Barkouf, Robinson Crusoé, Vert-Vert and above all Fantasio which became neglected as his contemporaries pigeon-holed Offenbach as simply an amusing composer of opéra bouffe.

Henri Tayau

Henri Tayau was an operetta singer and actor, and violinist, who during a short but successful career performed many light tenor roles in opéra-bouffes of Offenbach, and created several roles, the most notable being that of Orphée in Offenbach's greatest success, Orphée aux Enfers.

References

  1. Lamb A. "Jacques Offenbach (List of stage works)". In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera . Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
  2. Kracauer, S. Offenbach and the Paris of his time (translated by David, G. and Mosbacher, E.) Constable, London, 1937.
  3. 1 2 3 Yon, Jean-Claude  [ fr ]. Jacques Offenbach. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, 2000.
  4. Gänzl K. The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Blackwell, Oxford, 1994.
  5. Harding J. Jacques Offenbach. John Calder, London, 1980.
  6. Traubner, R. Operetta – A Theatrical History. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1983.