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date: 22 October 2019

Etoile, L’ (‘The Star’)locked

  • Elizabeth Forbes


(‘The Star’)

Opéra bouffe in three acts by (Alexis-)Emmanuel Chabrier to a libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo; Paris, Bouffes-Parisiens, 28 November 1877.

King Ouf I (tenor) entertains his subjects annually with a public execution. This year the choice of victim is Lazuli (mezzo-soprano), a pedlar who struck the king without knowing who he was. However, when Siroco the Astrologer (bass) tells Ouf that his star and that of Lazuli are so intimately bound up that they will both die on the same day, Ouf cancels the execution. Nothing is too good for Lazuli, who even wins the love of the Princess Laoula (soprano). A pompous foreign Ambassador, Hérisson de Porc-Epic (baritone), is meanwhile having trouble with his attractive but unfaithful wife Aloes (mezzo-soprano), and with Tapioca (baritone), his secretary.

Chabrier’s score, light as thistle-down, is composed in the best tradition of Offenbachian opéra bouffe, with each singer perfectly characterized in his or her music. Princess Laoula has a charming Rose Air, while Lazuli sings gratefully to his star, ‘Oh ma petite étoile’. There is a splendid sentimental quartet and a comic duet for Ouf and Siroco, which was always encored at the Bouffes-Parisiens....

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