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Maître Péronilla (Jacques Offenbach)




Opéra-bouffe in three acts. Libretto and music by Jacques Offenbach. First performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens on 13 March 1878


Act one

The gardens of Péronilla’s house

Manoëla, the daughter of Péronilla – Madrid’s leading chocolate maker – is about to marry Don Guardona, twice her age, whom she abhors. Her cousins, the soldier Ripardos and the young notary’s clerk Frimouskino, hope to extricate her from this situation. Péronilla’s sister, the thirty-nine year-old spinster Léona, has arranged the wedding in order to have her revenge on the highly attractive music teacher Alvarès, who is in love with Manoëla. The latter, sad and resigned, returns to Péronilla’s house only when the bride and groom have already signed the civil marriage contract. But Ripardos and Frimouskino, taking advantage of the darkness in the chapel, contrive to have Alvarès sign the contract for the church marriage instead of Guardona, thus giving Manoëla two husbands. The young lovers run off with Ripardos, followed by Léona, Péronilla, Don Henrique and Guardona.

Act two

The palace of Marquis Don Henrique

Manoëla, Alvarès and their friends have been driven to Don Henrique’s residence by mistake. They are soon joined by the discomfited husband – Guardona – who demands an explanation and satisfaction. Péronilla gives himself until the next morning to resolve this most unusual situation. After a festive banquet, adorned by the malagueña sung by the handjacques some Alvarès, everyone goes back to their room, but not before Léona has taken care to lock the bride up securely. By means of a clever ruse and with the complicity of Péronilla, Manoëla runs off with her preferred husband, but then the Corregidor and his alguazils appear and arrest everyone. Until a court decides on the girl’s future, she will be cloistered in a convent.

Act three

The Court of Justice in Madrid

Manoëla’s two husbands state their claims in turn before the judges. Péronilla defends Alvarès’s cause, recalling that he qualified as a lawyer before becoming a chocolate maker. When Brid’Oison asks to read the civil marriage contract, everyone realises that it is Léona’s name that appears there instead of Manoëla’s: another trick on Frimouskino’s part. So Alvarès can marry his beloved, and Léona is by no means displeased with the destiny that now opens up before her.

    Person - 1
  • OFFENBACH, Jacques (1819-1880)
  • Work - 1
  • Maître Péronilla (Jacques Offenbach)
  • Theme - 1
  • Lieux de musique – Bouffes-Parisiens