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Maître Péronilla (Jacques Offenbach)




Opéra bouffe in three acts premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens.


Maître Péronilla ou La Femme à deux maris is one of the series of operatic works Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880) composed for his Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, which he inaugurated in 1855. Like Orphée aux Enfers and La Vie parisienneMaître Péronilla is subtitled opéra bouffe, a designation given by Offenbach himself to his comic operas that exceeded the simple operetta in scale. Premiered on 13 March 1878, Maître Péronilla is a parody of eighteenth-century comic opera. This imbroglio of comic situations, misunderstandings and disguises takes place in a Spanish-like setting of which nineteenth-century Parisian audiences were very fond. The libretto in three acts, by a certain “Monsieur X” (the critics rightly attributed it to the composer himself), is reminiscent of Le Mariage de Figaro. It features Manoëla grappling with two husbands: one she loves (Alvarès), and one she hates (Guardona); one she married before the priest, and one before the notary. Manoëla is therefore accused of bigamy and confined to a convent pending her trial, during which Maître Péronilla, a loving father and master chocolate maker, becomes her lawyer, saves his daughter’s honour and, thanks to a final subterfuge, has the civil marriage annulled. The music is light-hearted and lively, and contains few Spanish features, except the Malagueña in the second act, encored on the evening of the premiere. The refined arias bear the composer’s hallmarks, and the heady melody of the Couplets du chocolat is particularly memorable. Despite its libretto full of twists and turns and its charming melodies, the opera did not meet with the expected success and was taken off after only fifty performances, to be  replaced by a revival of Léon Vasseur’s La Timbale d’argent .

    Images - 2
  • Page de titre d'une polka sur Maître Péronilla d'après Offenbach (Roques / Métra)
  • Page de titre de La Malaguena tirée de Maître Péronilla (Offenbach)
  • Libretto - 1
  • Maître Péronilla (Jacques Offenbach)
  • Person - 1
  • OFFENBACH, Jacques (1819-1880)
  • Themes - 3
  • Lieux de musique – Bouffes-Parisiens
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century
  • Opéra – L’opéra-comique
  • Studies - 4
  • Condé, Gérard – Maître Péonilla: opéra-bouffe or opéra-comique?
  • Dratwicki, Alexandre – Maître Péronilla: an introduction
  • Jardin, Étienne – The voice of commerce
  • Yon, Jean-Claude – Offenbach and Spain
  • Press articles -  12
  • Journal des débats, 18 mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Le Figaro, 10 mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Le Figaro, 15 mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Le Figaro, 1er mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Le Figaro, 21 mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Le Figaro, 31 janvier 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
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