Roi malgré lui, Le (‘The King in Spite of Himself’)
- Elizabeth Forbes
(‘The King in Spite of Himself’)
Opéra comique in three acts by (Alexis-)Emmanuel Chabrier to a libretto by Comte Emile de Najac and Paul Burani; Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 18 May 1887.
In his castle near Kraków, Henri de Valois (baritone), King of Poland, and his French courtiers are bored. The king wishes he was back in France; he asks Duke Fritelli (baritone), an Italian attached to the court, for his opinion on the Polish character. Fritelli replies ‘Le polonais est triste et grave’. The king praises Italian women, citing an adventure he had in Venice, while Count de Nangis (tenor) admits his love for the serf Minka (soprano), who is owned by Count Laski (bass), the Polish patriot. After the king has gone, Nangis and Minka sing of their love. Minka tells the count of a ball to be given by Laski that night, and arranges to meet Nangis in the park. She reiterates her love in ‘L’amour, ce divin maître’....