Madame Pompadour (operetta)
Madame Pompadour is an operetta in three acts, composed by Leo Fall with a libretto by Rudolf Schanzer and Ernst Friedrich Wilhelm Welisch. Conducted by the composer, It opened at the Berliner Theater in Berlin on September 9, 1922 and then at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on March 2, 1923.
Translated into English, Madame Pompadour premiered at Daly's Theatre, London on December 20, 1923. It was also translated into Italian and performed at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan on 15 January 1924. It was later given in French in an adaptation by Albert Willemetz, Max Eddy and Jean Marietti, in Paris at the Théâtre Marigny on 16 May 1930. With the extraordinary success of the operetta in Berlin, Vienna, London and elsewhere, Fall regained the international fame that he had enjoyed prior to World War I. However, the composer died of cancer, two years later, at the age of only 52.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 9 September 1922
(Conductor: Leo Fall)
|Madame de Pompadour||soprano||Fritzi Massary|
|Louis XV||baritone||Ernst Rollé|
|René, Comte D'estrades||tenor||Erik Wirl|
|Josef Calicot||tenor||Ralph Arthur Roberts|
|Maurepas, Minister of Police||baritone|
|Poulard, his assistant||tenor|
|Collin, Pompadour's chamberlain||tenor|
|Boucher, court painter||bass|
|Tourelle, porcelain manufacturer||bass|
|Madeleine, Comtesse D'estrades||contralto|
|Lieut. Corneille, in command of the guard|
|Prunier, landlord of the "Nine Muses"|
Married Count René is in Paris for Carnival, at an inn with his friend, the poet Josef. When René picks up an attractive girl, she is revealed to be Madame Pompadour, and he is placed under arrest. She gains him a reprieve, but she demands that he serve as her personal bodyguard and that Josef write a birthday play. She tells René to keep his distance – until midnight. Meanwhile, René’s wife arrives, in search of her missing husband, and Louis XV wants to catch his mistress together with her lover. But clever Madame Pompadour is able to avoid detection, as she presents René’s wife as her sister.
The first English adaptation, by Frederick Lonsdale and Harry Graham (lyrics), which opened at Daly's Theatre in London in 1923, ran for a very successful 469 performances. It starred Bertram Wallis as Louis XV, Derek Oldham as René, Huntley Wright as Joseph Calicott and Evelyn Laye in the title role.
A second English adaptation, in two acts, with an adaptation by Clare Kummer and lyrics by Schanzer and Welisch, was produced on Broadway in 1924-25, starring Wilda Bennett. Following the success of the London production, film and other versions were made.
Musical numbers (English adaptation)
- Introduction & ensemble (Calicot and Chorus)
- Quintet - (René and Girls) - "Carnival Time" - (Laridi, laridon! At carnivals the world must have a gay time)
- Duet - (Pompadour & Mariette) - "Love me Now" - (I feel so excited, I won't deny)
- Duet - (Pompadour and René) - "By the Light of the Moon" - (Grant favour, In that arbour your heart will grow braver)
- Duet - (Calicot and Mariette) - "If I were King" - (Though I'd feel a trifle strange)
- Finale Act I
- Introduction & ensemble
- Duet- (Pompadour and René) - "Love's Sentry" - (Sentry 'shun, you're on parade now)
- Sextet - (Pompadour, Mariette, Madeleine & Three Maids) - "Tell me what your eyes were made for"
- Serenade - (René and Chorus of Soldiers) - "Madame Pompadour"
- Duet - (Pompadour & Calicot) - "Joseph!" - (Mine's a mad infatuation)
- Reminiscence ... "Madame Pompadour"
- Finale Act II
- Duet - (Calicot & Mariette) - "Two Little Birds" - (Though you're a girl I've gone simply mad about)
- Finale Act III
Madame de Pompadour (historical figure)