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Maître Péronilla

Jacques Offenbach

An opéra bouffe successor to La Vie Parisienne with imbroglios and mistaken identities galore. Pure Offenbach to be savoured anew.

Markus Poschner © Steffen Jaenicke
Book

Cast

Véronique Gens Léona
Tassis Christoyannis Ripardos
Anaïs Constans Manoëla
Chantal Santon-Jeffery Alvarès
Antoinette Dennefeld Frimouskino
Eric Huchet Maître Péronilla
François Piolino Guardona
Patrick Kabongo Vélasquez major 
Loïc Félix Vélasquez junior 
Yoann Dubruque Le Marquis / Don Henrique 
Matthieu Lécroart Don Fabrice / 1er Juge
Raphaël Brémard Le Notaire / Pedrillo 
Jérôme Boutillier Le Corrégidor / Bridoison / Juanito 
Antoine Philippot Le Valet / Le Majordome / L’Huissier 
Philippe-Nicolas Martin Felipe / Antonio / 2e Juge 
Diana Axentii Paquita / Marietta / Rosita

Markus Poschner direction
Orchestre National de France
Chœur de Radio France  direction Mark Korovitch

Approximate running time
1st part: 40mn - Intermission: 20mn - 2nd part: 55mn

Sung in French with French subtitles

Maître Péronilla ou La Femme à deux maris is in the tradition of the operatic works composed by Offenbach for the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens which he founded in 1855. Like Orphée aux Enfers and La Vie parisienne, Maître Péronilla is subtitled “opéra bouffe”, the name given by Offenbach himself to his comic operas which go beyond the scope of simple operetta. Maître Péronilla parodies 18th century comic opera. It is an imbroglio of comic situations, mistaken identities, and disguises all taking place in the sort of Spanish setting dear to Parisian audiences of the day. The libretto, by a certain Monsieur X. (whom critics correctly inferred was the composer) is reminiscent of The Marriage of Figaro. It presents Manoëla who is wrestling with the problem of two husbands, one whom she loves (Alvarès) and the other whom she hates (Guardona). She has married one in church and the other in front of a notary. Manoëla is therefore accused of bigamy and imprisoned in a convent awaiting a trial during which Maître Péronilla, a loving father and master chocolate-maker, becomes a judge, saves his daughter’s honour, and annuls the civil marriage with a cunning ploy. The music is light and upbeat and has very few Spanish elements, with the exception of La Malagueña in the second act which was reprised as an encore on the opening night. The sophisticated arias bear the composer’s trademark stamp, and there is a particularly memorable heady melody entitled Couplets du chocolat sung by Péronilla. Make a date to renew your acquaintance with this neglected work, hosted by the team from the Palazzetto Bru Zane which joins forces on this occasion with the musicians of the Orchestre National de France.

Coproduction Théâtre des Champs-Elysées / Radio France / Palazzetto Bru Zane
Dans le cadre du 7e Festival Palazzetto Bru Zane à Paris
France Musique broadcasts this concert on 23rd of June 8pm.

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