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Jacques Offenbach La Périchole

Opéra bouffe (1868/1874)
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy after the comedy La Carosse du Saint-Sacrement (1829) by Prosper Mérimée.

Sung in French with German and English surtitles

concert performance


  • 19 May 2018, 19:00

Print programme (PDF)


Marc Minkowski, Conductor
Romain Gilbert, Dramaturgy


Aude Extrémo, La Périchole
Benjamin Bernheim, Piquillo
Alexandre Duhamel, Don Andrès de Ribeira, Viceroy of Peru
Eric Huchet, Count Miguel de Panatellas
Marc Mauillon, Don Pedro de Hinoyosa
Rémy Mathieu, First Notary/Marquis de Tarapote
François Pardailhé, Second Notary
Olivia Doray, Guadalena/Manuelita
Lea Desandre, Berginella/Frasquinella
Mélodie Ruvio, Mastrilla/Ninetta
Adriana Bignagni Lesca, Brambilla

Le Chœur de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux
Salvatore Caputo, Chorus Master
Les Musiciens du Louvre


Paris 1868. Decades after the Rossini craze, a German-born Frenchman whipped the audiences of the Second French Empire into the same enthusiastic frenzy which once greeted the Italian master’s comic operas. Jacques Offenbach was at the height of his fame and the Parisian public couldn’t get enough of Orphée aux enfers or La Belle Hélène. La Périchole, perhaps the most charming of Offenbach’s masterful operettas, was another product of his successful partnership with the librettists Meilhac and Halévy. The work brims over with sparkling wit, satirical bite and riotous merriment, but also strikes a more sentimental note — understandably so, as the subject has its tragic aspects. When the Viceroy of Peru once again takes to the streets of Lima incognito (or so he thinks) in order to check the pulse of public opinion, he becomes smitten with the penniless street singer Périchole and starts to make plans for her, beginning with an invitation to his court. The offer of an escape from hardship sways Périchole into accepting, and with a heavy heart she pens a letter of farewell to her beloved companion Piquillo. ‘What transports of love can one hope to enjoy when one is dying of hunger?’, she asks in her letter aria, with which Offenbach’s favourite singer Hortense Schneider had already moved listeners to tears.