La mascotte

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La mascotte ("The Mascot") is an opéra comique by Edmond Audran. The French libretto was by Alfred Duru and Henri Charles Chivot. The story concerns a farm girl who is believed to bring good luck to whoever possesses her, so long as she remains a virgin. The title (in English) initiated the use of the word 'mascot' in the English language to mean an animal, human, or thing which brought luck.

Performance history[edit]

It was first performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens in Paris on 29 December 1880.[1] It was very popular and 1,000 performances were given in just five years.[2] It was revived at the Bouffes Parisiens in 1883 and 1889 and produced at other Paris theatres up until the 1930s and again in 1944; a film was made in 1935 with Germaine Roger, Lucien Baroux, Lestelly and Dranem.[3]

It was translated into English and staged at Abbey's Park Theatre in New York City on 5 May 1881, and in Brighton, England on 19 September the same year. [4]

The Universal (Decca) Studios recording made in 1956 in Antony, France, conducted by Robert Benedetti, is available on CD.[2]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 28 December 1880
(Conductor: Marius Baggers)
Bettina, the mascot mezzo-soprano Grisier-Montbazon
Fiametta, daughter of Laurent XVII soprano Dinelli
Prince Fritellini, Fiametta's fiancé tenor Charles Lamy
Pippo, a shepherd baritone Louis Morlet
Laurent XVII, prince baritone Paul Hittemans
Rocco, a farmer tenor Raucourt
Parafante, sergeant baritone Pescheux
Mathéo, inn-keeper bass Desmonts
Peasants, lords and ladies of court, soldiers, etc.

Synopsis[edit]

Rocco, a 17th-century farmer, is cursed by bad luck. To bring him good fortune, his brother invites Bettina, a country girl, to be Rocco's mascot, believing that she can bring good luck to whoever possesses her, so long as she remains a virgin. Pippo, Rocco's shepherd, falls in love with Bettina. Prince Laurent then invites Bettina to live at his castle. When the prince tries to force the maiden to marry him, Pippo helps Bettina to escape from the castle. Laurent is now cursed with bad luck, as he is overthrown and war breaks out. Pippo marries Bettina believing that their children will inherit her ability to bring good luck.

The title was French slang derived from the Provençal term masco, meaning witch. The best-known number of its tuneful score is the Act 1 duet for Bettina and Pippo, in which she tells him, with appropriate farmyard noises, that she loves him more than her beloved turkeys.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Lamb A. Edmond Audran. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
  2. ^ a b Walker, Raymond. La Mascotte. Music Web International, accessed 5 July 2010
  3. ^ Gänzl K, Lamb A. Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre. The Bodley Head, London, 1988.
  4. ^ *The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, by John Warrack and Ewan West (1992), 782 pages, ISBN 0-19-869164-5

External links[edit]