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Étoile, L' (Leterrier & Vanloo / Chabrier)




Opéra bouffe en trois actes créé au théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens.


The “wellspring of French operetta” according to Francis Poulenc; a “legendary work, beloved of and sacred to every true musician” in the words of Reynaldo Hahn. Premiered on 28 November 1877 at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Chabrier’s L’Étoile is a firm favourite when it comes to French music. From Duparc to Stravinsky, including Debussy and Ravel, this work was loved by all and clearly prefigures the works of Messager or Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias. An opéra bouffe in 3 acts, based on a libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo, L’Étoile was a huge success at its first 48 performances, but was rarely revived subsequently. Its farcical plot employs misunderstandings and comical situations with just the right amount of feeling. Its basic storyline: King Ouf I is trying to find a victim for the traditional annual sacrifice. He thinks the peddler, Lazuli, might be a likely candidate… but then his astrologist reveals that the young man’s fate is linked to his own! Chabrier’s surprising score boasted a level of sophistication that was unusual for opéra bouffe. Without straying from the spirit of the genre or the Offenbachian tradition, the composer displayed an unfailing inventiveness, richness and refinement. His music did not merely underpin the comedy: the distinctive writing genuinely embodied it. Some of the numbers are particularly noteworthy: the quartet of business employees (“Nous voyageons incognito”), the couplets about death by impalement (Ouf) and about the rose (Princess Laoula), the irresistible Chartreuse duet (Ouf and Siroco) and, of course, Lazuli’s famous romance (“Oh, ma petite Étoile”).

    Persons - 3
  • CHABRIER, Emmanuel (1841-1894)
  • LETERRIER, Eugène (1843-1884)
  • VANLOO, Albert (1846-1920)
  • Theme - 1
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century