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Sauvons la caisse (La Guette / Lecocq)




Operetta in one act premiered on 22 December 1871 at the Tertulia-Parisienne.


Sauvons la caisse was Charles Lecocq’s last Paris production before he left for Brussels and the success of Les Cent Vierges followed by La Fille de Madame Angot. Its premiere took place for the inauguration of a small music hall – the Tertulia-Parisienne, a café-concert situated on Rue de Rochechouart –, where it was staged alongside Paul Legrand’s feats of mime. Written by Jules de La Guette, who collaborated sporadically with Lecocq and was a regular visitor to the Boulevard du Crime (nickname of the Boulevard du Temple), the story starts with a bang. Secretly in love with the Fille de l’air (a circus rider in a travelling circus), Cruchinet (a young manservant) has stolen the bass drum she uses during her acrobatic horseback number. The young woman then comes to him, asking to see his master, the Hungarian aristocrat Tropouridchick. The latter is not at home but, believing this is the perfect opportunity to seduce the circus rider, Cruchinet dresses up in the Hungarian’s clothes. A horsewhipping later, however, he realises that revenge had been the true reason for the visit by the Fille de l’air. Comprising an overture and six numbers, the music of Lecocq’s operetta was given very little coverage in the press of the time: only a few adjectives such as “merry”, “successful” or “bouncy” can be gleaned from the newspapers, proof – no doubt – that the work was warmly received, but also of the scant attention paid at the time to the future king of light opera. The composer’s talent, however, is already very much in evidence, serving a range of typical Second Empire comedic elements: wordplay, foreign accents, mistaken identity, gullibility and onomatopoeic devices. 

    Persons - 2
  • LA GUETTE, Jules de (1827-1877)
  • LECOCQ, Charles (1832-1918)