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66 !, Le (Pittaud de Forges & Laurencin / Offenbach)




Operetta in one act. Performed for the first time in Paris, at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens on 31 July 1856


Frantz and Grittly, Tyrolian travelling singers and cousins, are wandering the roads of Wurtemberg, picturing what they might buy if they won with their lottery ticket. This dream suddenly becomes a reality with the appearance of Berthold the pedlar, who knows the result of the lottery draw. A prize of 100,000 florins goes to the lucky winner with ticket number 66: and this is precisely the number that Frantz believes he has. Rather than using the windfall to help Grittly and her recently widowed sister – who has fallen on hard times, which is the main reason for the cousins’ trip – Frantz borrows the sum and heads into town on a pointless and absurdly extravagant spending spree. His exhilaration at his newfound wealth soon turns to despair when he realises that he had been looking at the number the wrong way up: he had ticket number 99... The moral of this one-act operetta – money cannot buy poor people happiness – was very well-received by the middle-class audiences of the Champs-Élysées. The press, on the other hand, viewed the work above all as a show of strength from an Offenbach keen to be recognised for his talents as a composer. He was openly declaring himself in the tradition of French opéra comique in a work whose numbers were a huge hit from the word go: “what immediately determined the success of the operetta was a Tyrolian duet, the second part of the previous trio and some couplets wittily declaimed on the word ‘cocasse’. – This is Offenbach’s field, this is his speciality and, furthermore, this is where he is superior to his colleagues.” (Le Figaro, 3 August 1856.)

    Persons - 3
  • LAURENCIN (1806-1890)
  • OFFENBACH, Jacques (1819-1880)
  • PITTAUD de FORGES, Auguste (1803-1881)
  • Themes - 2
  • Genre – Chanson et opérette sous le Second Empire
  • Lieux de musique – Bouffes-Parisiens