La fille de Madame Angot
The opera was first presented at the Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes, Brussels, on 4 December 1872, with costumes created by Alfred Grevin. In Paris, in 1873, it enjoyed a run of 411 performances at the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques and then toured extensively throughout the country.
English-language productions were quickly mounted in London (at the Gaiety Theatre in 1873 in an adaptation by H. B. Farnie for a very successful limited run starring Emily Soldene and Richard Temple and then in other theatres) and New York.
In 1875 a production by the Royal Opera Bouffe Company run by W. S. Lyster, Australia's first opera impresario and touring the Australian continent was chosen as the opening performance of the new, state of the art Academy of Music (now Her Majesty's Ballarat) in Ballaarat, the centre of the rich Victorian goldfields.
Roles and role creators
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 4 December 1872
|Mademoiselle Lange, an actress, favorite of Barras||mezzo-soprano||Marie Desclauzas|
|Clairette Angot, betrothed to Pomponnet||soprano||Pauline Luigini|
|Larivaudiere, friend of Barras, conspiring against the Republic||baritone||Charlieu/Chambéry|
|Pomponnet, barber of the market and hair-dresser of Mlle Lange||tenor||Alfred Jolly|
|Ange-Pitou, a poet in love with Clairette||tenor||Mario Widmer|
|Louchard, police officer at the orders of Larivaudiere||bass||Jacques Ernotte|
|Amarante, market woman||mezzo-soprano||Jane Delorme|
|Javotte, market woman||mezzo-soprano||Giulietta Borghese (Juliette Euphrosine Bourgeois)|
|Hersillie, a servant of Mlle. Lange||soprano||Camille|
|Trenitz, dandy of the period, officer of the Hussars||tenor||Touzé|
|Babet, Clairette's servant, cadet||soprano||Pauline|
|Guillaume, market man||tenor||Ometz|
|Buteaux, market man||bass||Durieux|
The scene of the opera is laid in France just after the revolution of 1793. The directorate has been established and Barras is at its head. The characters are semi-historical. The heroine is a charming flower-girl called Clairette, daughter of the famous Madame Angot, who has been educated better than most of her associates and has been adopted as "Child of the Market."
A marriage with Pomponnet, a hair-dresser, has been arranged for her against her will, for she is in love with Ange Pitou, a satirist and writer of political songs, who is continually getting into trouble on account of his revolutionary effusions. His latest composition has been in disclosure of the relations between Mlle. Lange, the actress and the favorite of Barras, and one Larivaudière. The latter has bought him off. Clairette gets possession of the song and, to avoid her marriage with Pornponnet, sings it publicly and is, as she expects, arrested and her wedding unavoidably postponed.
Mlle. Lange summons the girl to learn the reason of her attack and is surprised to recognize in her an old schoolmate. Pomponnet loudly protests her innocence and says that Ange Pitou is the author of the verses. Mlle. Lange already knows of this Ange Pitou and is not unmindful of his charms. He has been invited to her presence and arrives while Clairette is present and the interview is marked with more than cordiality. The jealous Larivaudière appears meantime and, to clear herself, Mlle. Lange declares that Ange Pitou and Clairette are lovers and have come to the house to join in a meeting of conspirators to be held at midnight.
The conspirators arrive in due time, but in the midst of proceedings, the house is surrounded by Hussars; the crafty Lange hides the badges of the conspirators, " collars black and tawny wigs," and the affair takes on the appearance of nothing more dangerous than a ball. The Hussars join gaily in the dance but before the impromptu function is ended, Clairette and Mlle. Lange make the discovery that they both are fond of the poet. Clairette schemes to ascertain whether the other is playing her false and succeeds also in proving to herself that Ange Pitou is untrue. The actress and the poet receive public disapproval and Clairette consents to marry the faithful Pomponnet.
The music is of so graceful and melodious character as to make La fille de Madame Angot one of the most successful light operas France has ever known. It was also popular throughout Europe and the United States. Among the prominent numbers are:
- Clairette's romance, "Je vous dois tout" ("I owe you all");
- Amaranthe's song, "Marchande de marée" ("A beautiful fisherwoman") ;
- Ange Pitou's plaint, "Certainement, j'aimais Clairette" ("'Tis true I love Clairette") ;
- The political "chanson" which causes the arrest of Clairette, "Jadis, les rois, race proscrite" ("Once kings, a race proscribed") ;
- Pomponnet's "Elle est tellement innocente" ("She is so innocent") ;
- The duet of Clairette and Mademoiselle Lange, "Jours fortunés" ("Happy Days");
- The conspirators' chorus, "Quand on conspire" ("When one conspires");
- Clairette's songs, "Vous aviez fait de la dépense" ("You put yourselves to great expense ") and "Ah! C'est donc toi, Madam' Barras" ("Ah! 'tis you then, Madame Barras").
- Amadeus Almanac, accessed 17 June 2008
- Gänzl, Kurt, (1992), 'Fille de Madame Angot, La' in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
- Warrack, John and West, Ewan (1992), The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 782 pages, ISBN 0-19-869164-5