Les caprices de Marianne

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Les caprices de Marianne is a two-act opéra comique by Henri Sauguet with a French libretto by Jean-Pierre Grédy after Alfred de Musset. It was first performed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1954,[1] with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire conducted by Louis de Froment with the Chorale Elisabeth Brasseur.

The opera was broadcast on French radio ten days after the premiere,[2] performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1956, with Graziella Sciutti, Jacques Jansen and Michel Sénéchal, and was recorded in 1959 (conducted by Manuel Rosenthal).[3] More recently, the opera has been staged by Compiègne (2006) and Dijon (2007).


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 20 July 1954
(Conductor: Louis de Froment)
Marianne soprano Graziella Sciutti
Hermia (mother of Coelio) mezzo-soprano Irène Companeez
Coelio tenor Jean Capocci
Octave baritone Jean-Christophe Benoît
Claudio baritone Jacques Linsolas
Tibia tenor Louis Jacques Rondeleux
Innkeeper tenor Gérard Friedmann
Chanteur de sérénades baritone Robert Tropin
La duègne Henri Bedex


The setting is Naples. The opera opens with musicians serenading Marianne beneath her balcony. Coelio is a young man desperately trying to win the love of Marianne, who is already married to Claudio, a Napolitan magistrate. Not daring to declare himself to her, Coelio appeals to his friend Octave, a libertine, and cousin of Claudio. She refuses to love Coelio but, as a result of her husband’s rebukes, on a whim, announces her decision to take a lover, and offers Octave an assignation. However, Octave, after a certain amount of hesitation, decides to let Coelio take up the assignation with Marianne instead. Meanwhile, Claudio suspects his wife of being unfaithful to him. He determines to hire swordsmen to kill the lover when he gets near the house. Coelio falls into the trap, is ambushed and killed, believing that his friend Octave has betrayed him, by sending him in his place to the assignation. In the last scene, Octave declares to Marianne that he never had serious feelings for her. The end is tragic for all: Coelio is dead, Octave renounces the pleasures of life, Marianne's heart is broken.


  1. ^ Hoérée A & Langham Smith R. Henri Sauguet. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
  2. ^ INA database; http://boutique.ina.fr/audio/art-et-culture/musique/PHD89039760/henri-sauguet-les-caprices-de-marianne.fr.html
  3. ^ Bril F-Y. Programme note to Les Caprices de Marianne, CD SOCD 98-99, 1993.