Offenbach Opera

Posted : admin On 1/26/2022
Jacques Offenbach by Nadar, c. 1860s

Operetta is a form of theatre and a genre of light opera.It includes spoken dialogue, songs, and dances. It is lighter than opera in terms of its music, orchestral size, length of the work, and at face value, subject matter. Apart from its shorter length, the operetta usually features a light and amusing character while making very controversial political commentaries in response to the.

Barbe-bleue (French pronunciation: ​[baʁb blø], Bluebeard) is an opéra bouffe, or operetta, in three acts (four scenes) by Jacques Offenbach to a Frenchlibretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy[1] based on Charles Perrault's 1697 story.

  • He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s to the 1870s, and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss Jr. And Arthur Sullivan.
  • Jacques Offenbach (born Cologne 20 June 1819; died Paris 5 October 1880) Offenbach is a French composer of German origins (he became a naturalised French citizen in 1860) who wrote some of the most attractive and melodious music for the stage during the middle years of the nineteenth century.

Performance history[edit]

The work was composed while Offenbach was travelling during 1865, in Vienna, Brussels and Cologne, conducting his works in those cities.[2] Other distractions during the period were the marriage on 9 August in Étretat of his eldest daughter Berthe to Charles Comte (for which he composed a mass) and problems with gout (which he encouraged the press to report).[3]

It was first performed at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris on 5 February 1866, playing for five months. Following the great success of the creators' Belle Hélène, the roles were close relations of the composer's antique operetta: Dupuis (Paris) another seducer, in Barbe-Bleue, Kopp (Ménélas) another old vain, cuckolded monarch in Bobèche, Grenier (Calchas) once more the mediocre confidant of a king - Count Oscar and Schneider (Hélène) again a woman seeking all of her desires - Boulotte.[4] Contemporary critics judged the libretto to be one of the best constructed the composer set.[4]

Productions outside France followed swiftly: London, Vienna and Brussels in 1866, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Milan and Copenhagen in 1867.[5] The operetta was given in New York City at the Grand Opera House on 24 December 1870 and seen in Sydney, Australia in 1872. It had its Czech premiere in 1874, under Adolf Čech.[6]

The work was revived in 1888 at the Variétés in Paris with Jeanne Granier as Boulotte. A 1904 Paris revival included Baron as Bobèche, Ève Lavallière as Hermia and Tariol as Boulotte.[4] In 1941, Mikael Fokine's final choreography consisted of a ballet reworking by Antal Doráti, staged in Mexico.[4] In the period up to 1963 the work was much neglected until the Komische Oper production that year; the Berlin production was directed by Walter Felsenstein and continued for many years in the repertoire of the house as well as being filmed and toured.[1] In 1971 the Théâtre de Paris presented the piece in a disfigured edition, musically and textually, with Jean Le Poulain playing both Bobèche and Popolani. Productions were mounted in Geneva in 1984 and in Strasbourg in 1996.[4]

In the 11th Offenbach staging of his career, Laurent Pelly created a new production in Lyon in June 2019. The title role was sung by Yann Beuron, with Héloïse Mas as Boulotte, Christophe Mortagne as Bobêche and Christophe Gay as Popolani; Michele Spotti was in the pit.[7]


Cover of L'Eclipse 26 January 1868, with cartoon by Gill of Dupuis and Schneider
RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, February 5, 1866,[8]
(Conductor: Offenbach)
Barbe-BleuetenorJosé Dupuis
AlvareztenorEdouard Hamburger
Boulotte, a peasant womansopranoHortense Schneider
King BobèchetenorJean-Laurent Kopp
Queen Clémentinemezzo-sopranoAline Duval
Princess Hermia, daughter of the king
(In Act 1, Fleurette, a peasant girl
sopranoGeorgette Vernet
Oscar, the King's ministerbassPierre-Eugène Grenier
Popolani, an alchemist in the service of Barbe-BleuebaritoneHenri Couder
Prince SaphirtenorPaul Hittemans
Héloïse, a wife of Barbe-Bleuesopranode Géraudon
Eléonore, a wife of Barbe-Bleuemezzo-sopranoMartin
Isaure, a wife of Barbe-Bleuemezzo-sopranoGabrielle
Rosalinde, a wife of Barbe-BleuesopranoAmélie
Blanche, a wife of Barbe-BleuesopranoBerthe Legrand
First peasant womansopranoBéatrix
Second peasant womansopranoLéonie
First pagesopranoJenny
Second pagesopranoTaillefer
A clerkspokenHorton
A childspokenMathilde
Peasants, Barbe-Bleue's guards, courtiers, pages and Bobèche's guards


Act 1[edit]

Offenbach Opera In Life Is Beautiful

SCENE: A small rural village with the castle of Squire Bluebeard prominent

King Bobèche, not wanting a girl as his heir, abandoned his daughter Hermia when she was three years old. Now aged eighteen and living as a shepherdess under the assumed name Fleurette, she is in love with the young and attractive shepherd boy Saphir but is not happy that he has not yet proposed marriage to her. The King's chamberlain Oscar discovers that the shepherdess 'Fleurette' is really the Princess Hermia and requires her to return to the King's court, which however means she must leave the boy she loves. Squire Bluebeard has recently lost his fifth wife and sends his alchemist Popolani to the village to find a virginal young peasant girl to become his sixth wife. Popolani decides to choose a wife for the squire by holding a raffle, but the winner turns out to be the anything but virginal Boulotte. Bluebeard is delighted with his new wife.

Act 2[edit]

Offenbach Opera Tales Of Hoffmann

SCENE ONE: The royal palace

King Bobèche wants to increase his glory and is practicing court etiquette. He is delighted to welcome his long lost daughter back to his side and to find her a royal bridegroom. Fleurette resists any thought of marriage until she discovers, to her joy, that her intended mate is Saphir, not a shepherd boy as she had thought, but a prince who had disguised himself as such to be near her, since he was madly besotted by her. Squire Bluebeard comes to pay King Bobèche a visit and to show off his new wife Boulotte, but is instantly smitten by Princess Hermia.

SCENE TWO: Popolani's dungeon

Bluebeard orders Popolani to dispose of his new wife Boulotte as, he thinks, Popolani has disposed of all his previous wives by poisoning them, so that Bluebeard can marry Hermia. But Popolani has only been pretending to kill Bluebeard's wives, in fact he has only been giving them sleeping pills, not poison, and they have all been living in comfortable apartments. Bluebeard witnesses, in the midst of a storm, what he thinks is the murder of his latest wife Boulotte, but after she wakes up from the sleeping potion, the feisty young lady leads the other 'dead' wives in a march on the castle.

Offenbach opera barcarolle

Offenbach Opera Barcarolle

Act 3[edit]


SCENE: The chapel in the royal palace

Hermia and Saphir are entering the chapel for their marriage when Bluebeard interrupts the procession and demands by force of arms, having the palace surrounded by his military forces, that Hermia be surrendered to him as his seventh wife, Boulotte, as he thinks, having died. But he is embarrassed by the selfsame Boulotte turning up leading in a furious procession of his other 'dead' wives. They are accompanied by five lords who were also supposedly put to death for having flirted with Queen Clémentine. The solution is found- the 'dead' lords will marry the 'dead' wives, Bluebeard will stay with Boulotte and the marriage of Hermia and Saphir can proceed.[9][10]


See also[edit]


Offenbach opera daphnis et


  1. ^ abLamb A. Barbe-bleue. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
  2. ^Offenbach : correspondances avec Meilhac et Halévy. In: Programme book for Barbe-Bleue, Opéra du Rhin, 1996, p85-87.
  3. ^Dufresne, Claude. Barbe-Bleue: les tourbillons de sa création. In: Programme book for Barbe-Bleue, Opéra du Rhin, 1996, p91-94.
  4. ^ abcdeYon, Jean-Claude. Variations autour de Barbe-Bleue. In: Programme book for Barbe-Bleue, Opéra du Rhin, 1996, p64-75.
  5. ^Loewenberg A. Annals of Opera. London, John Calder, 1978.
  6. ^Cesky hudebny slovnik; Retrieved 21 April 2013
  7. ^Erna Metdepenninghen. Report from Lyon. Opera, October 2019, Vol.70 No.10, p1279-80.
  8. ^1866 Libretto, in WikiSource
  9. ^'Barbe-bleue'. Opérette – Théâtre Musical. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  10. ^Lamb, Andrew (2001). 'Barbe-bleue'. In Root, Deane L. (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford University Press.


Offenbach Opera Contes De

External links[edit]

Offenbach Opera Crossword

  • Libretto as originally submitted for censorship.
Retrieved from ''