Ciboulette

Reynaldo Hahn Ciboulette operetta to a libretto by Robert de Flers and Francis de Croisset. Directed 2013 by Michel Fau at the Opéra Comique. Stars Julie Fuchs (Ciboulette), Jean-François Lapointe (Duparquet), Julien Behr (Antonin), Eva Ganizate (Zénoble), Ronan Debois (Roger), Cécile Achille (Françoise), Jean-Claude Sarragosse (Monsieur Grenu), Guillemette Laurens (Madame Grenu), Patrick Kabongo Mubenga (Auguste/Victor),  François Rougier (Le Patron/Le Maire), Safir Behloul (Grisard), Bernadette Lafont (Madame Pingret) Michel Fau (La Comtesse de Castiglione), and Jérôme Deschamps (Le Directeur d'Opéra). Laurence Equilbey conducts the Orchestre Opéra de Toulon and the Accentus chorus. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2014, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: Help!

According to Wikipedia, this is one of the last masterpieces of French operetta with a frothy story how a cute farm girl attracts many suitors before finally reeling in a big-fish aristocrat. It appears to have been the most popular operetta ever at the Opéra Comique. Sounds like fun; and with François Roussillon backing this, how can you get hurt? Well, for one thing, this is an expensive disc; so you might not want to buy it just out of curiosity.

According to David Baker writing in the March Opera News at page 54-55, the mise-en-scène is rather austere and the show is an "odd blend of sophistication, fatalism, and nostalgia."  He reports there's little or no dancing; musical numbers alternate with non-singing stage actors making "comments wryly on the slapstick clichés." Baker says, "Initiates in French language and culture will appreciate the droll understatement; other spectators may find it thin gruel." Well, I don't know much about French culture. But I usually dread watching an English or American operetta because of all the silliness. Perhaps a French operetta may be something I can more easily tolerate. 

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