Mârouf, savetier du Caire

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Mârouf, savetier du Caire (Marouf, Cobbler of Cairo) is an opéra comique by the French composer Henri Rabaud. The libretto, by Lucien Nepoty, is based on a tale from the Arabian Nights. Mârouf was first performed at the Opéra-Comique, Paris, on 15 May 1914. The premiere was a great success and Mârouf became Rabaud's most popular opera. The score makes great use of oriental colour. The United States premiere of the opera was given at the Metropolitan Opera on December 19, 1917, with Giuseppe De Luca in the title role, Frances Alda as Princess Saamcheddine, and Pierre Monteux conducting. The Viennese premiere was at the Vienna State Opera on 24 January 1929, with Josef Kalenberg and Margit Angerer ("who received the most applause"[1]), and Franz Schalk conducting.[2]

The opera was revived at the Opéra-Comique in 2013 in a production by Jérôme Deschamps, with Jean-Sébastien Bou in the title role, conducted by Alain Altinoglu.[3]


Marthe Davelli as Princess Saamcheddine
Role Voice type Premiere cast, 15 May 1914
Conductor: François Ruhlmann
Mârouf baritone Jean Périer
Fattoumah, his wife soprano Jeanne Tiphaine
The Sultan of Khaïtân bass Félix Vieuille
Princess Saamcheddine, his daughter soprano Marthe Davelli
His vizier bass Jean Delvoye
Ali bass Daniel Vigneau
Fellah/Genie tenor Georges-Louis Mesmaecker
First merchant tenor Maurice Cazeneuve
Second merchant tenor Éric Audoin
First policeman tenor Pierre Delager
Second policeman baritone Corbière
Chief sailor/First muezzin tenor Eugène de Creus
Second muezzin bass Thibault
Donkey-driver tenor Donval
First mamluk baritone Jean Reymond
Second mamluk bass Brun
Pâtissier/Ahmed bass Louis Azéma
Kadı bass Paul Payen
ballerinas silent Sonia Pavloff, Germaine Dugué, Gina Luparia, Sallandri
ballerino silent Robert Quinault


The hen-pecked cobbler Mârouf decides to join a group of sailors and travels to Khaïtân where he pretends to be a rich merchant awaiting the arrival of his caravan. The sultan is impressed and offers him the hand of his daughter Saamcheddine. Mârouf's deception is discovered and he flees, followed by the princess, who has fallen in love with him. They find a mysterious ring which gives Mârouf power over a magician. The magician grants Mârouf's wish for the caravan he boasted about to become reality. The sultan is appeased, pardons Mârouf and allows him to marry Saamcheddine.


  1. ^ 1929 review by Soma Morgenstern, republished in Kritiken, Morgenstern, 2001
  2. ^ Online archive of the Vienna State Opera, accessed 29 July 2021
  3. ^ Francis Carlin, review of Mârouf, savetier du Caire, Opéra Comique, Paris. Financial Times, 27 May 2013.