LES P’TITES MICHU
BY ANDRÉ MESSAGER
To mark the CD-book release of the ‘French opera’ series, Bru Zane Classical Radio broadcasts on Sunday 3 February at 9 p.m. Les P’tites Michu (1897), operetta in 3 acts by André Messager (1853-1929).
Libretto by Albert Vanloo and Georges Duval
First premiered on 16 November 1897 at the Bouffes-Parisiens
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DES PAYS DE LA LOIRE
CHŒUR D’ANGERS NANTES OPÉRA
Pierre Dumoussaud, conductor
Xavier Ribes, choir master
Frédéric Jouannais, vocal coach
with company Les Brigands: Violette Polchi, Anne-Aurore Cochet, Philippe Estèphe, Marie Lenormand, Damien Bigourdan, Boris Grappe, Artavazd Sargsyan, Caroline Meng, Romain Dayez
Two little girls, one of high birth, the other of more modest origins, mixed up in their bath and brought up as twins; an impending wedding; the first pangs of love and a few intrigues . . . On this amusing narrative framework by Albert Vanloo and Georges Duval, André Messager composed a score as graceful as it is invigorating. The straightforward, elegant melodies are immediately appealing, with a harmonisation and scoring that give them immense charm. Les P’tites Michu was an overnight success after its premiere at the Bouffes-Parisiens on 16 November 1897. The cast featured two big stars of the Parisian stage in the title roles, Alice Bonheur (Marie-Blanche) and Odette Dulac (Blanche-Marie). Every number in the score quickly became a ‘hit song’, notably the duet ‘Blanche-Marie et Marie-Blanche’. After a run of more than 150 performances, the work toured the provinces and was subsequently staged outside France (as The Little Michus or Die kleinen Michu), ending its career more than twenty years later on Broadway.