Tuesday 19 November 2013

Chabrier's l'Etoile

L'Étoile at the Bouffes Parisiens in 1877; Daubray as Ouf 1er and Scipion as Siroco. Press cartoon by Félix Régamey.
Press cartoon of the premiere of L'Etoile
New Sussex Opera are back this week with performances of yet another gem from the repertoire. Chabrier's L'Etoile isn't perhaps quite as forgotten as some operas, I can remember a lovely production from Opera North in the 90's (directed by Phyllida Lloyd with Patricia Helen Stephen as Lazuli). But it certainly has not had the exposure recently that the piece deserves and New Sussex Opera's new production is heartily welcome. Directed by Sussannah Waters, designed by Nicola Blackwell and conducted by Nicholas Jenkins, performances take place in Lewes Town Hall (20/11), Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne (24/11), Chequer Mead, East Grinstead (27/11) and Cadogan Hall, London (29/11). Katie Bray plays the loveable rogue, Lazuli, (a travesty role), with Stephanie Corley as Princess Laoula, Neil Jenkins as King Ouf, Geoffrey Moses as Sciroco and Paul Curievici as Herisson de Porc-Epic.

The opera was premiered in 1877, at Offenbach's Theatre des Bouffes Parisiens. It is the second of the composer's six surviving operas, and perhaps the only one with a completely viable combination of music and libretto. The libretto of L'Etoile was by the established partnership of Eugene Leterrier and Albert Vanloo who wrote librettos for Lecocq and wrote Mam'zell Moucheron for Offenbach, and they would go on to write Une education manquee for Chabrier.

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