Charles Cuvillier

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Scene from London production of Cuvillier's Afgar, 1919

Charles Cuvillier (24 April 1877 – 14 February 1955) was a French composer of operetta. He won his greatest successes with the operettas La reine s'amuse (1912; played as The Naughty Princess in London) and with The Lilac Domino, which became a hit in 1918 in London.


Cuvillier was born in Paris, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Gabriel Fauré and Jules Massenet.[1] He began writing for the Paris musical stage and had a success with Avant-hier matin (1905), a small scale work with piano accompaniment.[2] Later stage works to achieve success in France and abroad included Son p'tit frère (1907), his first collaboration with André Barde, and La reine s'amuse (1912).[2] The latter (also known as La reine joyeuse) featured Cuvillier's biggest hit, "Ah! la troublante volupté".[1] Before the First World War he made a career in Germany as well as France.[2] The second of his two works written for German theatres, Flora Bella, was playing in Munich and had its run immediately brought to a stop when war was declared.[3] Cuvillier fought in the trenches against Germany during the war,[4] and thereafter made his career in France and the U.K.[2]

Cuvillier was popular in England after the First World War. Avant-hier matin played with success in London as Wild Geese,[1] and La reine joyeuse ran for 280 performances as The Naughty Princess.[5] His greatest international success was the operetta The Lilac Domino, originally Der lila Domino (Leipzig, 1912).[1] The critic Andrew Lamb writes that Cuvillier composed "light, insinuating music, distinguished by typically French phrasing."[1]

Cuvillier also composed film music, including Mon amant l'assassin (1931), Occupe-toi d'Amélie (1932) and Story of a Poor Young Man [fr] (1935).[2]

Cuvillier died in Paris in 1955, at the age of 77.[1]

Stage works[edit]

  • 1903: La Citoyenne Cotillon, comédie dramatique by Henri Cain and Ernest Daudet, incidental music by Cuvillier
  • 1905: Avant-hier matin (libretto: Tristan Bernard), Paris, Théâtre des Capucines
  • 1907: Le flirt de Colombine (Jaques Redelsperger), Nice
  • 1907: Son p'tit frère (André Barde), Paris, Capucines; revised as Laïs, ou la courtisane amoureuse, 1929
  • 1908: Les rendez-vous strasbourgeois (Romain Coolus), Paris, Comédie-Royale
  • 1909: Afgar, ou Les loisirs andalous (Barde and Michel Carré, fils), Paris, Capucines
  • 1910: La fausse ingénue, ou les Muscadines (Barde), Paris, Capucines
  • 1912: Der lila Domino (Emmerich von Gatti and Bela Jenbach [de]), Leipzig, Stadttheater
  • 1912: Sapho (Barde and Carré), Paris, Capucines
  • 1912: La reine s'amuse (Barde), Marseilles, Variétés; revised as La reine joyeuse, Paris, Olympia, 1918
  • 1912: L'Initiatrice (Robert Dieudonné and Hugues Delorme), Paris, Mayol
  • 1913: Flora Bella (Felix Dörmann [de]), Munich, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz; French version (Barde): Florabella, Célestins, Lyon, 1921
  • 1915: Judith courtisane, (Régis Gignoux), Paris, Théâtre Michel
  • 1918: Mademoiselle Nom d'une pipe (Georges Duval, Paris, Palais Royal
  • 1920: The Sunshine of the World (Gladys Unger after K.K. Ardashir), London, Empire
  • 1920: Johnny Jones and his Sister Sue, (Harry M. Vernon), London, Alhambra
  • 1922: Annabella (Maurice Magre), Paris, Théâtre Fémina
  • 1922: Par amour (Magre), Paris, Paris, Femina
  • 1922: Nonnette (Barde), Paris, Capucines
  • 1924: Bob et moi (Barde, L. Meyrargue), Paris, Michel
  • 1926: Qui êtes-vous? (H. Genty, Berr and Jouvault), Monte Carlo
  • 1929: Laïs ou La Courtisane amoureuse (Barde) (see Son p'tit frère, 1907, above)
  • 1929: Boulard et ses filles (Louis Verneuil, Saint-Granier, Jean le Seyeux), Paris, Théâtre Marigny
  • 1935: Le Train de 8h47 (Georges Courteline, Lépold Marches, Barde), Paris, Palais Royale


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lamb Andrew, "Cuvillier, Charles." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, accessed 8 March 2011 (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e Cuvillier, Charles,"[permanent dead link] Encyclopédie multimedia de la comédie musicale (French text), accessed 8 March 2011
  3. ^ "'Flora Bella' Lively Casino's New Opera", The New York Times, 12 September 1916, accessed 8 March 2011
  4. ^ "The Lilac Domino", The Observer February 24, 1918, p. 5
  5. ^ Findon, B.W., "The Naughty Princess", The Play Pictorial, October 1920, p. 86

External links[edit]