La fille de Madame Angot
(The Daughter of Madame Angot
) is an opéra comique
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged out of the popular opéra comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent , which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections...
in three acts by Charles Lecocq. The French
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...
text was by Clairville, Paul Siraudin and Victor Koning.
The opera was first presented at the Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes, Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...
, on 4 December 1872, with costumes created by Alfred Grevin
Alfred Grévin was a 19th century caricaturist, best known during his lifetime for his caricature silhouettes of contemporary Parisian women...
. In Paris, in 1873, it enjoyed a run of 411 performances at the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques
The Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques was a theatre in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened first in 1832 in the site of the old Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique on the Boulevard du Temple, under Frédérick Lemaître it became a noted venue for the genre of mélodrame.In 1862, the theatre moved to the...
and then toured extensively throughout the country.
English-language productions were quickly mounted in London (at the Gaiety Theatre
The Gaiety Theatre, London was a West End theatre in London, located on Aldwych at the eastern end of the Strand. The theatre was established as the Strand Musick Hall , in 1864 on the former site of the Lyceum Theatre. It was rebuilt several times, but closed from the beginning of World War II...
in 1873 in an adaptation by H. B. Farnie for a very successful limited run starring Emily Soldene
Emily Soldene was an English singer, actress, director, theatre manager, novelist and journalist of the late Victorian era and the Edwardian period...
and Richard Temple and then in other theatres) and New York.
Roles and role creators
||Premiere Cast, 4 December 1872
Anne Françoise Elisabeth Lange was a French actress of the Comédie-Française and a 'Merveilleuse' of the French Directory. Her stage name was Mademoiselle Lange.-Life:...
, an actress, favorite of Barras
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...
|Clairette Angot, betrothed to Pomponnet
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...
|Larivaudiere, friend of Barras, conspiring against the Republic
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...
|Pomponnet, barber of the market and hair-dresser of Mlle Lange
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...
|Ange-Pitou, a poet in love with Clairette
|Louchard, police officer at the orders of Larivaudiere
|Amarante, market woman
|Javotte, market woman
||Giulietta Borghese (Juliette Euphrosine Bourgeois)
|Hersillie, a servant of Mlle. Lange
|Trenitz, dandy of the period, officer of the Hussars
|Babet, Clairette's servant, cadet
|Guillaume, market man
|Buteaux, market man
The scene of the opera is laid in France just after the revolution of 1793. The directorate has been established and Barras is at its head. The characters are semi-historical. The heroine is a charming flower-girl called Clairette, daughter of the famous Madame Angot, who has been educated better than most of her associates and has been adopted as "Child of the Market."
A marriage with Pornponnet, a hair-dresser, has been arranged for her against her will, for she is in love with Ange Pitou, a satirist and writer of political songs, who is continually getting into trouble on account of his revolutionary effusions. His latest composition has been in disclosure of the relations between Mlle. Lange, the actress and the favorite of Barras, and one Larivaudière. The latter has bought him off. Clairette gets possession of the song and, to avoid her marriage with Pornponnet, sings it publicly and is, as she expects, arrested and her wedding unavoidably postponed.
Mlle. Lange summons the girl to her to learn the reason of her attack and is surprised to recognize in her an old schoolmate. Pomponnet loudly protests her innocence and says that Ange Pitou is the author of the verses. Mlle. Lange already knows of this Ange Pitou and is not unmindful of his charms. He has been invited to her presence and comes while Clairette is present and the interview is marked with more than cordiality. The jealous Larivaudière appears meantime and, to clear herself, Mlle. Lange declares that Ange Pitou and Clairette are lovers and have come to the house to join in a meeting of conspirators to be held at midnight.
The conspirators arrive in due time, but in the midst of proceedings, the house is surrounded by Hussars ; the crafty Lange hides the badges of the conspirators, " collars black and tawny wigs," and the affair takes on the appearance of nothing more dangerous than a ball. The Hussars join gaily in the dance but before the impromptu function is ended, Clairette and Mlle. Lange make the discovery that they both are fond of the poet. Clairette schemes to ascertain whether the other is playing her false and succeeds also in proving to herself that Ange Pitou is untrue. The actress and the poet receive public disapproval and Clairette consents to marry the faithful Pomponnet.
The music is of so graceful and melodious character as to make La fille de Madame Angot
one of the most successful light operas France has ever known. It was also popular throughout Europe and the United States. Among the prominent numbers are:
- Clairette's romance, "Je vous dois tout" ("I owe you all");
- Amaranthe's song, "Marchande de marée" ("A beautiful fisherwoman") ;
- Ange Pitou's plaint, "Certainement, j'aimais Clairette" ("'Tis true I love Clairette") ;
- The political "chanson" which causes the arrest of Clairette, "Jadis, les rois, race proscrite" ("Once kings, a race proscribed") ;
- Pomponnet's "Elle est tellement innocente" ("She is so innocent") ;
- The duet of Clairette and Mademoiselle Lange, "Jours fortunés" ("Happy Days");
- The conspirators' chorus, "Quand on conspire" ("When one conspires");
- Clairette's songs, "Vous aviez fait de la dépense" ("You put yourselves to great expense ") and "Ah! C'est donc toi, Madam' Barras" ("Ah! 'tis you then, Madame Barras").
- Warrack, John and West, Ewan (1992), The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 782 pages, ISBN 0-19-869164-5