i RIDDLED CONSTRUCTS: A STUDY OF MUSICAL HUMOUR IN EMMANUEL CHABRIER’S COMIC OPERAS by Jennifer Ellen Paulson B.Sc., The University of Calgary, 1999 M.A., The University of Calgary, 2002 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Music) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) December 2011 © Jennifer Ellen Paulson, 2011 ii Abstract The music of Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) has received high praise from prominent twentieth-century French composers, including Ravel, Poulenc, Debussy, and Satie. These composers indicate Chabrier as a venerable figure and a significant influence on early notions of French musical modernism; particularly celebrated is his musical humour, which has long been recognized as a defining and rewarding characteristic of his works. Remarkably, Chabrier’s music disappeared from the performing repertory almost immediately and is hardly known today. My dissertation begins to redress this imbalance by offering analyses of humour- producing musical processes in Chabrier’s comic operas. These works are among the composer’s most celebrated and also offer the most variegated and nuanced expression of his aesthetics of musical humour. Chapter 1 introduces central concepts and methodological concerns, in particular those pertaining to the interdisciplinary field of humour studies. A detailed consideration of generic antecedents prefaces my analyses of Chabrier’s works in the popular genres of opérette and opéra bouffe. Works by Offenbach, Hervé, and Lecocq are discussed in Chapter 2 in order to determine comic and humorous gestures that are characteristic of these genres. In Chapter 3, humour-producing incongruities and disjunctions in Chabrier’s popular operas—the three opérettes, Vaucochard et fils 1er (incomplete, c. 1864), Fisch-ton-kan (incomplete, c. 1864), and Une Éducation manquée (1879), and the opéra bouffe L’Étoile (1877)—are considered with respect to generic expectations. These works are shown to combine characteristic humour techniques with varying degrees of emphasis, demonstrating different facets of Chabrier’s practice as a musical humorist. Chapter 4 offers an investigation of humorous musical discourse in Chabrier’s mature opéra comique Le Roi malgré lui (1887) that is more comprehensive. Adapting concepts developed for the linguistic study of verbal humour, the analyses that I present reveal humour mechanisms in virtually every musical parameter and active on multiple structural and intertextual levels. The sophistication and variety of humour techniques identified recommends the study of Chabrier’s style and aesthetic not only as a conceivable model for the modernist ideals of later generations, but for its own sake, as music with a highly developed language that challenges traditional processes through humour. iii Table of Contents Abstract .................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................... iii List of Figures .......................................................................................................................... v List of Musical Examples ....................................................................................................... vi Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. x Dedication .............................................................................................................................. xii 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 Overview of Chapters ......................................................................................................... 4 Literature Review: Chabrier Studies and Nineteenth-Century French Comic Opera ......... 6 Humour Studies ................................................................................................................ 11 Terminology: Humorous Musical Borrowing .................................................................. 21 2 French Popular Opera before Chabrier ............................................................................ 25 Ba-ta-clan: Plot Synopsis and General Characteristics .................................................... 32 Ba-ta-clan: Transgressions and Excesses ......................................................................... 42 Ba-ta-clan: Musical Humour ............................................................................................ 55 Hervé, Offenbach, and opéra bouffe ................................................................................. 75 Hervé and Intertextual Humour: Le Petit Faust as Burlesque .......................................... 81 Post-1870: Charles Lecocq's La Fille de Madame Angot and Popular opéra comique .... 97 3 Chabrier's opérettes and the opéra bouffe L'Étoile ........................................................ 107 The Early opérettes: Vaucochard et fils 1er and Fisch-ton-kan ..................................... 108 L'Étoile ............................................................................................................................ 146 Une Éducation manquée ................................................................................................. 185 4 Excess and Refinement on the National Stage: Le Roi malgré lui ................................ 210 Historical Background .................................................................................................... 212 Plot Synopsis ................................................................................................................... 214 Structure, Syntax, and Style: Opéra comique Conventions and their Manipulations .... 216 iv Strophic Forms ............................................................................................................... 218 Harmony ........................................................................................................................ 232 Rhythm .......................................................................................................................... 238 Reiterated Music ............................................................................................................. 243 Le Roi malgré lui and its Genre(s) .................................................................................. 255 Generic Structural Frames ............................................................................................... 257 Humorous Exotic Tropes as Generic Play ......................................................................... 265 Intertextuality as Generic Play ......................................................................................... 279 Humorous Discourses in the Music of Le Roi malgré lui ............................................... 285 5 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 311 Bibliography ......................................................................................................................... 318 Appendix A: Detailed Plot Synopsis and Distribution of Musical Numbers in v Le Roi malgré lui .............................................................................. 333 v List of Figures Figure 2.1a Ba-ta-clan, #2 romance, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain .......... 38 Figure 2.1b Ba-ta-clan, #3 duo, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain .................. 38 Figure 2.1c Ba-ta-clan, #4 ronde de Florette, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain ............................................................................................. 38 Figure 2.1d Ba-ta-clan, opening of #7 final, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain ........................................................................................... 38 Figure 3.1 Vaucochard, opening of "Chanson de l'homme armé." Bibliothèque nationale de France, Musique (MS 20639) ...................................................... 126 Figure 4.1 Le Roi malgré, nocturne, bass line reduction and salient harmonies, mm. 11-20 compared to mm. 28-37.................................................. 231 Figure 4.2 Outer-voice counterpoint in "Je suis du pays," mm. 14-17 ............................ 238 vi List of Musical Examples Example 2.1 Ba-ta-clan, from #4, ronde de Florette, refrain mm. 46-53 ........................... 40 Example 2.2 Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” refrain mm. 56-67 .............................. 44 Example 2.3 Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” strophe mm. 20-29 ............................. 46 Example 2.4 Ba-ta-clan, from #5, duo italien, mm. 59-71 .................................................. 47 Example 2.5 Ba-ta-clan, from #2, romance, mm. 4-12 ....................................................... 57 Example 2.6 Ba-ta-clan, from #5, duo italien, mm. 31-33 .................................................. 58 Example 2.7 Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” mm. 62-82 ......................................... 59 Example 2.8 Ba-ta-clan, from #7, final, m. 304-308 ........................................................... 61 Example 2.9a Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” mm. 256-290 ..................................... 65 Example 2.9b Les Huguenots, from Act 5, scene iii, “Ein’ feste Burg” chorale .................................................................... 68 Example 2.10 Ba-ta-clan, from #1, quatuor chinois from marche, choeur, et quatuor chinois, mm. 225-245....…………………………71 Example 2.11 Ba-ta-clan, from #1, quatuor chinois from marche, choeur, et quatuor v chinois, mm. 270-281 .......................................................................... 72 Example 2.12 Le Petit Faust, from #1, ronde des écolières, mm. 5-17 ............................... 86 Example 2.13a Le Petit Faust, from #16, trio du Vaterland, mm. 5-17 ................................ 88 Example 2.13b Faust, from Act 2, #6, valse et choeur, mm. 210-218 ................................. 89 Example 2.14a Le Petit Faust, from #20, complainte du roi de Thuné, mm. 11-18 ............. 90 Example 2.14b Faust, from #9, scène et air, chanson du Roi de Thulé, mm. 4-9 ................. 90 Example 2.15 Le Petit Faust, from #4, air de Marguerite, mm. 10-31 ................................ 91 Example 2.16 Le Petit Faust, opening of couplets du guerrier Valentin ............................. 95 Example 2.17 Le Petit Faust, from ouverture-valse, mm. 1-17 ........................................... 96 Example 2.18 La Fille de Madame Angot, couplets, from #1, introduction, mm. 110-133 ............................................................... 102 Example 3.1a Vaucochard, from duo, A section (mm. 1-18) ............................................. 113 Example 3.1b Vaucochard, from duo, B section (mm. 29-34) ........................................... 114 Example 3.1c Vaucochard, from duo, C section (mm. 38-46) ........................................... 115 vii Example 3.2 Vaucochard, from trio (mm. 171-187) ......................................................... 117 Example 3.3 Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé (mm.1-18) ........................... 128 Example 3.4 Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé (mm. 26-38) ........................ 132 Example 3.5 Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé, postlude (mm. 45-60) ........ 136 Example 3.6 Vaucochard, from sérénade (mm. 42-47) .................................................... 139 Example 3.7a Bourrée topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 20-23) ................................. 141 Example 3.7b Layered counterpoint, lyrical melody with comic patter, Fisch-ton-kan, v from trio (mm. 36-39) ....................................................................... 141 Example 3.7c Declamatory recitative, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 123-125) ............... 142 Example 3.7d Contredanse topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 133-137) ...................... 142 Example 3.7e Imitative vocal fanfares with fiddle, Fisch-ton-kan, v from trio (mm. 148-151) ................................................................... 143 Example 3.7f Hysterical laughter, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 192-196) ..................... 143 Example 3.7g Galop topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 233-241) ................................ 144 Example 3.8a L’Étoile, opening melody of Lazuli’s romance (mm. 11-14) ...................... 151 Example 3.8b Opening of Wolfram’s “O du, mein holder Abendstern” v from Tannhäuser ............................................................................... 152 Example 3.9a L’Étoile, from choeur, opening section of Act II final (mm. 1-20) ............. 153 Example 3.9b L’Étoile, from Laoula’s couplets, second section v of Act II final (mm. 11-24) ............................................................... 156 Example 3.9c L’Étoile, from Laoula’s couplets, second section v of Act II final (mm. 40-42) ............................................................... 157 Example 3.9d L’Étoile, from choeur des condoléances, third section v of Act II final (mm. 11-28). .............................................................. 157 Example 3.10 L’Étoile, from duetto de la Chartreuse verte (mm. 1-24) ........................... 163 Example 3.11a L’Étoile, from Musique de scène, #18bis (mm. 1-9). ................................. 167 Example 3.11b Beginning of Act IV cabalette-duet for Léonor and Fernand v from La Favorite ............................................................................... 167 Example 3.12 L’Étoile, from Chanson des employés de commerce (mm. 1-58)................ 170 Example 3.13 L’Étoile, from entrée du roi (mm. 15-36).................................................... 175 Example 3.14a L’Étoile, from rondeau du colporteur (mm. 1-13) ..................................... 178 Example 3.14b L’Étoile, from Lazuli’s romance (mm. 1-14) ............................................. 179 Example 3.15 L’Étoile, from choeur, no. 12 (mm. 1-32) ................................................... 183 Example 3.16 Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 1-32) ................................................. 188 viii Example 3.17 Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 54-77) ............................................... 190 Example 3.18a Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 219-238) .......................................... 192 Example 3.18b Carmen, prélude (mm. 114-120) ................................................................ 193 Example 3.19 Éducation manquée, chanson (mm. 1-14) ................................................... 193 Example 3.20 Éducation manquée, Lettre (mm. 1-9) ......................................................... 195 Example 3.21 Éducation manquée, Lettre (mm. 32-47) ..................................................... 197 Example 3.22 Éducation manquée, duetto (mm. 1-13) ...................................................... 199 Example 3.23 Éducation manquée, duetto (mm. 70-96) .................................................... 201 Example 3.24a Éducation manquée, duetto bouffe (mm. 18-26) ........................................ 203 Example 3.24b Éducation manquée, duetto bouffe (mm. 38-44) ........................................ 204 Example 3.25 Éducation manquée, couplets (mm. 10-18). ................................................ 206 Example 3.26 Éducation manquée, duo (mm. 57-65) ........................................................ 207 Example 4.1 Le Roi malgré lui, scène et couplets, mm. 1-29............................................ 219 Example 4.2a Le Roi malgré lui, nocturne, mm. 1-20 ........................................................ 225 Example 4.2b Le Roi malgré lui, nocturne, mm. 26-39 ..................................................... 228 Example 4.3 Le Roi malgré lui, prélude, mm. 1-19. ......................................................... 234 Example 4.4a Le Roi malgré lui, couplets, “Je suis du pays des gondoles,” mm. 1-6 ....... 236 Example 4.4b Le Roi malgré lui, “Je suis du pays des gondoles,” mm. 13-21 .................. 236 Example 4.5 Le Roi malgré lui, Act II introduction et choeur dansé, mm. 1-30 .............. 239 Example 4.6 Le Roi malgré lui, opening of chanson française, v from morceau d’ensemble et chanson française .............................. 241 Example 4.7 Le Roi malgré lui, duo, transition to “Quoi! C’est lui,” mm. 43-48 ............. 246 Example 4.8a Le Roi malgré lui, Act 2 final, “à l’unanimité” motive, mm. 1-6 ................ 248 Example 4.8b Le Roi malgré lui, Act 2 final, “à l’unanimité” motive in v transition to fugue. mm. 106-111 ...................................................... 249 Example 4.8c Le Roi malgré lui, Act 2 final, first entry of fugue subject, v mm. 112-113 ..................................................................................... 249 Example 4.8d Le Roi malgré lui, Act 2 final, mm. 137-148............................................... 250 Example 4.8e Le Roi malgré lui, Act 2 final, chorus based on “à l’unanimité” motive, v mm. 185-188 ..................................................................................... 253 Example 4.9a Le Roi malgré lui, introduction, mm. 1-37 .................................................. 258 Example 4.9b Le Roi malgré lui, introduction, mm. 44-53 ................................................ 261 Example 4.9c Le Roi malgré lui, introduction, mm. 127-140 ............................................ 263 ix Example 4.10 Le Roi malgré lui, entrée de Minka, mm. 49-65 .......................................... 270 Example 4.11a Le Roi malgré lui, chanson tzigane, mm. 1-27 ........................................... 273 Example 4.11b Le Roi malgré lui, chanson tzigane, mm. 132-183. .................................... 275 Example 4.12a Le Roi malgré lui, entrée de Minka, mm. 63-69 ......................................... 281 Example 4.12b Lakmé, from Act I duo, “D’où viens-tu?,” mm. 28-33 ............................... 282 Example 4.13a Le Roi malgré lui, chanson tzigane, mm. 9-18 ........................................... 283 Example 4.13b Carmen, Habanera, “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle,” v mm. 20-26 ......................................................................................... 283 Example 4.14 Le Roi malgré lui, introduction, mm. 73-79 ................................................ 287 Example 4.15 Le Roi malgré lui, rondeau à deux voix, mm. 1-8 ....................................... 289 Example 4.16a Le Roi malgré lui, duo-barcarolle, mm. 1-29 ............................................. 295 Example 4.16b Le Roi malgré lui, duo-barcarolle, mm. 38-56 .......................................... 298 Example 4.17a Le Roi malgré lui, duo-barcarolle, mm. 57-65 ........................................... 300 Example 4.17b Die Walküre, from Act III, closing scene ................................................... 300 Example 4.18a Le Roi malgré lui, duo-barcarolle, mm. 86-91 ........................................... 301 Example 4.18b Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Act III entr’acte et barcarolle, v mm. 79-86 ......................................................................................... 302 Example 4.19 Le Roi malgré lui, Act 1 duo, mm. 93-96 .................................................... 306 Example 4.20 Le Roi malgré lui, “Va! Ne crains de lui,” entrée de Minka, mm. 34-48 .... 309 x Acknowledgements This study could never have been realized successfully without the guidance and generous support of my dissertation advisor, Vera Micznik. For the uncompromising academic and intellectual standard that she modelled and for her enduring kindness, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude. I left every meeting with her feeling healthily instructed and genuinely inspired. I owe particular thanks also to Steven Huebner, who encouraged my project well before I had the knowledge or focus to even know where to begin, and who patiently shared his time and his expert knowledge of the field with me. I am grateful to David Metzer and to William Benjamin for providing detailed critiques of each chapter; their insightful comments improved the quality of the finished document in terms of its completeness, accuracy, and elegance. I would also like to thank Kenneth DeLong, under whose supervision I first decided to pursue the study of Chabrier’s comic operas, for his astute suggestions, his contagious sense of humour, and his encouragement through many years. The friends and colleagues who have enriched my life intellectually and socially throughout my many years of graduate study have been many—among whom, Jeremy Armstrong, Carol Cullingham, Jennifer Koster, Trent Leipert, Jennifer Medlock, Gord Ross, and Rita Yembilah—thank you for the rewarding conversations and friendship. I would like to aknowledge in particular James Palmer: a too-recently discovered fellow “humour in music”- enthusiast, Jim was kind enough to listen to my aimless ramblings and to digitize, with very short notice, the musical figures that appear in Chapter 4. This dissertation has asked a great deal from my family, my deep appreciation of whom I do not express often enough. To the many babysitters whose generosity I have most certainly abused (you know who you are): the girls and I are grateful for the loving care that you have offered. My husband PJ, my sisters Patricia and Meredith, and my grandmother Evelyn: while the all-consuming nature of this project may not have always seemed rational to you, thank you for never losing faith in my ability and for always being there when I needed support, whether I knew it or not. The unconditional love, both emotional and material, of my father, Bill Brand, and my late mother, Arlene Brand, have nurtured me more than I could have ever asked for or xi even imagined—I dedicate this dissertation to you. My beautiful daughters, Simone and Naomi Rose, whatever logistical challenges my work might create for us, you are never far from my mind and you are always in my heart. Words cannot express the joy you bring to my life. xii To my parents, with love and gratitude 1 1 Introduction Emmanuel Chabrier’s musical humour has long been recognized by enthusiasts as a defining and rewarding characteristic of his music. 1 His most celebrated works in both vocal and instrumental genres demonstrate a decidedly humorous stance activated by a rich variety of mechanisms. 2 This humour receives its most variegated and nuanced expression in the comic operas. Already, the incomplete opérettes of the 1860s, Vaucochard et fils 1er (c. 1864) and Fisch-ton-kan (c. 1864), present remarkable articulations of the composer’s aesthetics of musical humour at an early stage of development. The three complete works—the opéra bouffe L’Étoile (1877), the opérette Une Éducation manquée (1879), and the opéra comique Le Roi malgré lui (1887)—demonstrate different facets of Chabrier’s mature practice as a musical humorist, employing characteristic techniques with varying degrees of emphasis. Chabrier’s music in general and the three complete comic operas in particular have suffered a paradoxical fate. High praise from prominent composers of early French modernism such as Ravel, Poulenc, Debussy, and Satie (a selective list of champions continues to include Stravinsky, Mahler, Richard Strauss, as well as Fauré, d’Indy, Hahn, and Messager), indicates Chabrier as a venerable figure and a significant influence on early notions of French musical modernism. 3 Yet remarkably his major works disappeared from the performing repertory almost 1 Hervé Lacombe’s article “L’Étoile et l’ange du cocasse: ‘le meilleur de la musique française,’” L’Avant-scène opera: L’Étoile 242 (January 2008), 62-65, quotes many of Chabrier’s most prominent supporters to this effect, including d’Indy (whose fitting characterization of Chabrier as the “angel of drollery” is borrowed for Lacombe’s title), André Messager, Debussy, Catulle Mendès, Bruneau, Hahn, Duparc, and Pierre Lalo. 2 The most well-known and frequently cited works include the Pièces pittoresques for piano (1881), the orchestral rhapsody España (1883), the Souvenirs de Munich (1886), the “barnyard songs” (“Villanelle des petits canards,” “Ballade des gros dindons,” “Pastorale des cochons roses,” and “Les cigales;” 1890), the Bourrée fantasque (1891) for piano, as well as the three complete comic operas studied in this dissertation. 3 Among the most impressive claims: after attending the 1929 revival of Chabrier’s Le Roi malgré lui at the Opéra- Comique, Ravel described Chabrier as “celui des musiciens qui m’ont le plus influencé” (the musician who has 2 immediately and are hardly known today, even to musicologists and to professional musicians. 4 The absence of a critical response to Chabrier’s music in musicological discourse is especially surprising given the recent resurgence of interest in the music of Ravel and Satie, to name but two contemporaries also disparaged, even occasionally judged unworthy, for their commitment to “light” or “comic” music.5 The diverse tendencies and implications of early French “modernism” likewise continue to reward musicological inquiries.6 These studies rarely influenced me above all others). Letter from Maurice Ravel to Mme Bretton-Chabrier, 6 November 1929, BnF Mus; letter published in part in Renée Girardon, “Le Don Chabrier à la Bibliothèque Nationale,” Revue de musicologie 24 (1945), 87. Poulenc places Chabrier before Satie as the most important precursor to “l’école française” and also documents Ravel’s claim that "les premières mesures du Roi malgré lui avaient changé l’orientation de l’harmonie française” (the opening measures of Le Roi malgré lui have changed the direction of French harmony). Francis Poulenc, Emmanuel Chabrier (Paris and Geneva: La Palatine, 1961), 96. On Chabrier’s influence on Satie, see Alan M. Gillmor, Erik Satie (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988), 18-25. Gillmor recounts the oft-told story of Satie presenting a calligraphic manuscript of an early piano piece to Chabrier’s doorstep after an 1887 performance of Le Roi malgré lui. Homage to the composer of España is further evidenced in Satie’s “Españaña” from Croquis et agaceries d’un un gros bonhomme en bois from 1913, which appeared within a year of Ravel’s “À la manière de… Emmanuel Chabrier.” All translations of French terms and quotations are my own unless otherwise indicated. 4 Numerous recent performances do suggest a renaissance of interest in Chabrier’s comic operas: the Opéra National de Lyon’s production (2005) of Le Roi malgré lui was presented at the Paris Opéra-Comique in spring of 2009; new productions of L’Étoile appeared in 2006 at the Opéra de Zurich, in 2007 at the Paris Opéra-Comique, in the 2009- 2010 season in Berlin and Geneva (the latter was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in September 2010), and in 2010 New York City Opera presented Mark Lamos’s vivid and successful production of L’Étoile (prem. Glimmerglass, 2001), already revived at the Opéra de Montréal in 2005. Another new production of L’Étoile is slated for October 2011 at Frankfurt, and Éducation manquée is appearing at various smaller theatres across Europe and North America. 5 A selection of recent studies of Ravel includes Carolyn Abbate, “Outside Ravel’s Tomb,” Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS) 52 (1999), 465-530; Steven Baur, “Ravel’s ‘Russian’ Period: Octatonicism in his Early Works, 1893-1908,” JAMS 52 (1999), 531-592; Peter Kaminsky, “Ravel’s Late Music and the Problem of Polytonality,” Music Theory Spectrum 26 (2004), 237-264; Deborah Mawer, The Ballets of Maurice Ravel: Creation and Interpretation (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006); Steven Huebner, “Laughter: In Ravel’s Time,” Cambridge Opera Journal 18 (2006), 225-246; Michael Puri, “Dandy, Interrupted: Sublimation, Repression, and Self-portraiture in Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (1909-1912),” JAMS 60 (2007), 317-372; Stephen Zank, Irony and Sound: The Music of Maurice Ravel (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester, 2009); Deborah Mawer, ed. Ravel Studies, Cambridge Composer Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Numerous doctoral dissertations can be added to this list. The recent proliferation of scholarship approaching the music of Satie includes numerous book- length studies, for instance, Robert Orledge, Satie the Composer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Nancy Lynn Perloff, Art and the Everyday: Popular Entertainment and the Circle of Erik Satie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); Alan M. Gillmor, Erik Satie (New York: Norton, 1992); Steven Moore Whiting, Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); and Mary Davis, Erik Satie (London: Reaktion Books, 2007); and doctoral dissertations, including Mary Davis, “Esprit gaulois: Erik Satie’s ‘Sports et divertissements’ in Context” (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1997); Belva Jean Hare, “The Uses and Aesthetics of Musical Borrowing in Erik Satie’s Humoristic Piano Suites, 1913-1917” (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2005); and John Peter Supko Jr., “Points and Lines: The Musical Language of Erik Satie” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2009). 6 For example, Glenn Watkins, Pyramids at the Louvre: Music, Culture, and Collage from Stravinsky to the Postmodernists (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1994); Mary Davis, Classic Chic: 3 acknowledge Chabrier’s contribution in more than a perfunctory and superficial way despite the obvious contrast that his musical language offers to prevailing notions of modernism. Likewise, humour is rarely considered in these studies as a significant aesthetic category in its own right, also surprising considering the pronounced ludic, ironic, comic, or otherwise humorous elements in the work of Ravel, Poulenc, and Les Six, among others. My dissertation begins to redress this imbalance by offering analyses of the musical processes that produce humour in Chabrier’s comic operas. Critical interrogation of these works reveals the incompleteness of many commonly accepted assessments of Chabrier’s musical language: there is more to this music than conventionally-conceived structures peppered with colorful “modern” harmonies and witty satirical jokes.7 Processes that at first seem commonplace are found to be internally challenged, subtly manipulated, or ironized through a wide variety of techniques and with remarkable sophistication. Chabrier’s bouleversement of conventional procedures often seems systematic, operating on multiple levels of musical syntax and with diverse intertextual allusions. In other instances, the “deceptively simple” ruse is inverted: dense passages demonstrate an aesthetic of eclectic discontinuity and abrupt contradiction, seeming nearly incomprehensible on first encounter. On close examination, informed by a thorough understanding of genre and context, such passages are often revealed to Music, Fashion, and Modernism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); and Noel Orillo Verzosa Jr., “The Absolute Limits: Debussy, Satie, and the Culture of French Modernism, ca. 1860-1920” (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 2008). 7 In the words of Vladimir Jankélévitch, “With Emmanuel Chabrier, it is easy to point out the compositional inventions that make the musical language in Le roi malgré lui or Sommation irrespectueuse […] so savory and unusual: a undiscovered sequence, an aggregation of sounds, an unexpected modulation. But this would simply tally up grammatical turns, orthographical idiosyncrasies, and such things are a matter of indifference without the verve that brings them to the fore at a particular moment and that withholds their delights at others.” Vladimir Jankélévitch, Music and the Ineffable, trans. Carolyn Abbate (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 105. The unresolved 7 th and 9 th chords of the Prélude to Le Roi malgré lui are the quintessential example of “modern” sonorities in Chabrier, and the Souvenirs de Munich: quadrille sur les thèmes favoris de Tristan et Isolde de Richard Wagner is the favored agent in essentializing Chabrier as a satirist. See, for example, Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 4: 60-66. 4 exhibit shrewd commentaries. Such jests are continually reinvented and presented in fresh contexts, implying that a multi-layered analysis of style and structure is necessary in order to access the complex meanings embedded in these works. It is propitious to understand Chabrier’s style and aesthetic, and especially his engagement with humour, not only as a conceivable model for the modernist ideals of later generations, but for its own sake, as music with a highly developed and idiosyncratic language that challenges traditional processes through humour. Overview of Chapters The present chapter provides a review of relevant secondary literature including an overview of the field of humour studies and definitions of key terms that will be used throughout the study. The body of the dissertation begins with a critical survey of developments in the “popular” genres of opérette, opéra bouffe, and opéra comique (as distinct from the officially- sanctioned traditions cultivated at the subsidized Opéra and Opéra-Comique) before Chabrier’s first complete opera of 1877. Offenbach’s Ba-ta-clan (1855) is taken as prototypical of the new genre of opérette and is analyzed in detail. The discussion aims to identify elements from two distinct categories of “comedic” discourse: the “comic” and the “humorous.” That is, I seek to understand how the music and text work together to propel the comedy as a “comic” genre of theatre.The comic aspect includes such generic elements as stock comic characters, fast-paced plot, simple conventional forms, and quiproquos—devices that do not intend to produce humorous laughter in themselves, but that are characteristic of comedic forms of theatre. 8 8 I also apply the descriptor “comic” to techniques that work together to create and sustain a discourse modeled in some fundamental way after dramatic comedy (such as instrumental genres heavily influenced by opera buffa that demonstrate a “high-spirited” bustling action). On this, see Wye J. Allanbrook’s “Theorizing the Comic Surface,” in Music in the Mirror: Reflections on the History of Music Theory and Literature for the 21 st Century, eds. Andreas Giger and Thomas J. Mathiesen (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2002), 195-216. Incidentally, many of the characteristic techniques of comic theatre coincide with what literary theorist Katrina Triezenberg calls “humor 5 Second, I investigate specific mechanisms of humour particularly as they are manifest in the music. Throughout my study I maintain this distinction between the concepts of comic and humorous because, while they are often mutually reinforcing, they are separate components of a comedic text. Hervé’s Le Petit Faust (1869) is then considered as an example of Second Empire opéra bouffe, a genre related to but distinct from the one-act opérette. Hervé’s contribution to the developing genres of opérette and opéra bouffe far exceed the importance implied by his current obscurity; any viable genealogy of the genre(s) must consider his distinctive styles of music and humour. While this opera appears to belong to a burlesque sub-genre and its thoroughgoing humorous deflation of Gounod’s Faust should not be considered characteristic of the genre at large, I have included this piece as a major and successful work by Hervé with many satirical references that continue to resonate today. Chapter 2 will also include Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot (1872), which, though composed for popular theatre is subtitled opéra comique. It is representative of a shift to a more sentimental and “operatic” style evident in the 1870s, in which the outlandish comic gestures of the pre-1870 repertory are markedly softened. While illustrating something of the variegated complexity of the mid- to late-nineteenth century popular opera scene in Paris, the immediate purpose of this chapter is to establish a perspective to investigate Chabrier’s contribution to these forms. As it is primarily the purely musical application of humour that sets his works apart, a fundamental goal is to determine humorous musical gestures that are characteristic of the genres, and how they function as humour. Chapter 3 examines Chabrier’s four comic operas composed for non-official venues— Vaucochard et fils 1er, Fisch-ton-kan, L’Étoile, and Une Éducation manquée. Though Éducation enhancers.” Katrina Triezenberg, “Humor Enhancers in the Study of Humorous Literature,” Humor 17 (2004), 411- 418. 6 manquée demonstrates a subdued bouffe aesthetic, all four works connect with the esprit bouffe that prevailed in the Second Empire works of Offenbach and of Hervé. Chabrier’s idiosyncratic style is observed in distinct stages of development in these works. Both musical language and techniques of humour progress towards an increasingly subtle aesthetic with each successive work. The discussion isolates specific humour-producing musical processes in order to identify characteristic techniques and to demonstrate the complexity with which multiple facets of Chabrier’s style work together as the foundation for his larger humorous commentary. Chabrier’s opéra comique Le Roi malgré lui is the focus of Chapter 4. Once situated vis à vis early Third Republic developments in the genre, Le Roi is shown to be self-consciously connected to “old-fashioned” opéra comique. A systematic manipulation of highly codified musical processes evidences an ironic stance towards genre, which forms the basis of the opera’s complex humorous discourse. A multilayered analysis aims to elucidate the humorous interaction of clichéd gestures, structural incongruities, exotic tropes, and incorporated borrowed materials. Building on concepts applied to the works studied in Chapters 2 and 3, Le Roi as a whole is proposed as a “long humorous text” and analyzed according to concepts put forth in Salvatore Attardo’s groundbreaking study Humorous Texts.9 A brief conclusion, Chapter 5, summarizes the study’s most significant findings and proposes a seed of “comic decadence” at the core of Chabrier’s art. Literature Review: Chabrier Studies and Nineteenth-Century French Comic Opera Remarkably, Chabrier’s music has not been the primary subject of a single article in a major North American academic journal nor has it inspired a single book-length study in English 9 Salvatore Attardo, Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2001). 7 since Rollo Myers’s biography introduced Chabrier and his major works to English readership in the late 1960s. 10 Poulenc published a lengthy tribute in 1961 that offers a more focused discussion of several of Chabrier’s works with an interest in connecting them to early twentieth- century modernist practices. 11 More recently, more penetrating studies have been published by late French musicologist Roger Delage, French opera specialist Steven Huebner, and pianist-scholar Roy Howat, and in 2008 an issue of Avant-scène opéra spotlighted L’Étoile.12 Delage devoted his career to studying Chabrier’s life and music and has provided background research of incalculable importance, including an annotated edition of Chabrier’s complete correspondence.13 His detailed monograph Emmanuel Chabrier provides thorough biographical information about the composer informed by a comprehensive knowledge of documentary and archival sources. 14 The chapters on L’Étoile and Une Éducation manquée and the four short chapters on Le Roi malgré lui address the genesis, the staging, the early reception, and Chabrier’s revisions of the works, though the study does not attempt a critical discussion of the music. Also noteworthy is Delage’s series of articles 10 Rollo Myers, Emmanuel Chabrier and his Circle (London: J.M. Dent, 1969). Numerous short pieces, often in French, have appeared in French journals, for instance, many contributions by Chabrier scholar Roger Delage (see note 15); an entire issue of Ostinato Rigore: Revue internationale d'études musicales was dedicated to Chabrier on the centenary of his death in 1994; and Thierry Bodin, “Musique sérieuse et musique gaie dans la correspondance d’Emmanuel Chabrier,” in L'Esthétique dans les correspondances d'écrivains et de musiciens, XIXe–XXe siècles (Paris: Presses de l’université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2001), 45-156. Short exposés have been published in English journals, for example, James F. Penrose, “Emmanuel Chabrier and French Musical Tradition,” New Criterion 19 (2001), 29-36; and Daniele Pistone and E. T. Glasow, “Emmanuel Chabrier, Opera Composer,” Opera Quarterly 12 (1996), 17-25. Several DMA dissertations also address aspects of Chabrier’s music, most often the piano works: Daniel E. Weiser, “The Visual Stimulus: The Influence of the Visual Arts on the Musical Compositions of Emmanuel Chabrier, Erik Satie, and Francis Poulenc” (DMA diss., Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Institute, 1998); and Mariko Kaneda, “Selected Piano Works of Emmanuel Chabrier: A Stylistic Analysis” (DMA diss., City University of New York, 2001). 11 Francis Poulenc, Emmanuel Chabrier, trans. Cynthia Jolly (London: Dobson, 1981). 12 L’Avant-scène opéra: L’Étoile 242 (January 2008). The guide includes short articles by Chantal Cazaux, Gérard Condé, Joël-Marie Fauquet, and Hervé Lacome, an interview with Macha Makeïeff, who co-designed the 2007 Opéra-Comique production, as well as the complete libretto including the original dialogue. 13 Emmanuel Chabrier, Correspondance, comp. and ed. Roger Delage and Frans Durif with Thierry Bodin (Paris: Klincksieck, 1994). 14 Roger Delage, Emmanuel Chabrier (Paris: Fayard, 1999). 8 that investigate the relationship between Chabrier and other composers including Bizet, Debussy, Ravel, and Wagner, as well as Chabrier’s close personal friend, the painter Edouard Manet.15 Delage also contributed an important pioneering effort in editing manuscripts and recording a number of Chabrier’s lesser known works.16 Of the three chapters on Chabrier’s operas in Huebner’s book French Opera at the Fin de siècle: Wagnerism, Nationalism, and Style, one is devoted to Le Roi. 17 Huebner contextualizes the piece within the genre of opéra comique: he points to the work’s origins as an opérette in order to demonstrate the possible sources of the opera’s notorious dramatic imbalance and also to gain a clearer understanding of opéra comique expectations as they were understood in the 1880s. He identifies the work’s unusual veering between the comic and the serious as a major critical issue worthy of study, and he also acknowledges the instability of genre as a major issue in interpreting this work. In two important recent contributions, Roy Howat explores Chabrier’s 15 For example, Delage, “Ravel and Chabrier,” Musical Quarterly 61 (1975), 546-52, explores the admiration that Ravel maintained for Chabrier throughout his life and briefly notes parallels in harmonic and rhythmic procedures between various works of the two composers; and Delage, “Chabrier et Wagner, ” Revue de musicologie 82 (1996), 167-179, focuses on Chabrier’s enthusiasm for Wagner, pointing to Wagnerian experiences at important turning points in Chabrier’s career and tracing his involvement among the French Wagnerian enthusiasts in the 1880s, Delage also notes stylistic parallels between the composers, noting that in the case of the similarities lie in the realms of orchestration and melodic line. The English translation of this article includes an appendix containing Chabrier’s personal notes on the Ring cycle: “Chabrier and Wagner,” Wagner 17 (1996), 114-141. Other articles of this type include “Manet et Chabrier,” Revue de l’art (1983), 65-70; “Chabrier et Bizet,” L’Avant-scène opéra: Les Pêcheurs de perles 124 (October 1989), 77-80; and “Debussy et Chabrier,” Cahiers Debussy 17-18 (1993), 57-64. Also by Delage, “Emmanuel Chabrier en Espagne,” Revue de musicologie 56 (1970), 177-207; “Telluric Verve,” Musical Times 135 (1994), 557-562; and “Chabrier mélodiste,” Ostinato rigore 3 (1994), 57-71. 16 Delage’s editions of the operas (piano vocal) include Chabrier, Fisch-ton-kan (Paris: Éditions françaises de musique, 1974); Vaucochard et fils 1er (Paris: Éditions françaises de musique, 1974); and Une Éducation manquée (Paris: Éditions musicales du Marais, 1991). He has also edited a collection of piano works and the complete mélodies: Pièces pittoresques (Paris: Éditions musicales du Marais, 1990); Mélodies en 2 volumes, 2 vols (Paris: Éditions Alphonse Leduc, 1995-1997). His recording of the opérettes is the only one extant: Chabrier, Une Éducation manquée—Fisch-Ton-Kan—Vaucochard et fils, conducted by Roger Delage (Paris: Arion. Collegium musicum de Strasbourg, 1993). 17 Steven Huebner, French Opera at the Fin de siècle: Wagnerism, Nationalism, and Style (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 286-300. Of the other two chapters, one is a general introduction to Chabrier’s style and his position within French musical culture at the end of the nineteenth century, and the other focuses on Chabrier’s serious opera, Gwendoline (1886). Its evident Wagnerian themes and undertones bring this work closer to the focus of Huebner’s study: the chapter investigates the many parallels between Gwendoline and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. 9 central role in fin-de-siècle developments in French piano music and in emerging French modernism (he refers to Chabrier and Fauré as “quiet” revolutionaries).18 He traces provocative “modern” procedures in Debussy and Ravel back to antecedents in Chabrier; particularly relevant to the present study is his assessment of rhythmic play in the Pièces pittoresques. 19 My study also draws on secondary literature pertaining to French comic opera of the second half of the nineteenth century. C. H. Moore published an informed and insightful analysis of Verlaine’s eccentric texts for Chabrier’s two early opérettes, which has been singularly beneficial to the present study. 20 In general, however, the popular genres of opérette and opéra bouffe remain underrepresented in music scholarship, with discussion all but limited to theatrical histories and composer biographies. 21 This lack of interest is surprising given the prominence of the two genres in French theatre repertories and the recent proliferation of studies considering popular theatrical traditions of Vienna, London, and New York. 22 The work of French musicologist Jean-Claude Yon has recently emerged as a promising exception—his comprehensive biography of Offenbach is meticulously documented with primary source 18 Roy Howat, “Modernization: From Chabrier and Fauré to Debussy and Ravel,” in French Music since Berlioz, ed. Richard Langham Smith and Caroline Potter (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006); and Roy Howat, The Art of French Piano Music: Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Chabrier (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009). 19 Howat, “Rhythmic Games in Chabrier,” in The Art of French Piano Music, 187-197. 20 C. H. Moore, “Verlaine’s opéra bouffe,” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 83 (1968), 305-311. 21 Renée Cariven-Galharret and Dominique Ghesquière’s Hervé: Un musicien paradoxal, 1825-1892 (Paris: Éditions des cendres, 1992) is the first book-length biography of Hervé and establishes details of the composer’s life on a solid documentary basis. On the development of French opérette and opéra bouffe, see, James Harding, Folies de Paris: The Rise and Fall of French Operetta (London: Elm Tree Books, 1979); and Benoit Duteurtre, L’Opérette en France (Paris: Seuil, 1997). A broader study of the evolution of various national “operetta” traditions, providing excellent coverage of French beginnings is Richard Traubner, Operetta: A Theatrical History (London: Gollancz, 1984). This area presents considerable promise for future research projects, offering a large and virtually unexplored repertory all the more fascinating for the involvement of major composers, including Bizet, Massenet, and Delibes, at the beginning of their careers. 22 For example, Camille Crittenden, Johann Strauss and Vienna: Operetta and the Politics of Popular Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Gayden Wren, A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); David Eden and Meinhard Saremba, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Gilbert and Sullivan (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009); and Joseph Swain, The Broadway Musical: A Critical and Musical Survey, 2d ed. (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2002). 10 material, and he includes some, albeit limited, discussion of Offenbach’s musical language.23 Elsewhere Yon has examined the origins and early history of opérette, and proposed a typology for Offenbach’s inconsistently and confusingly subtitled operatic works.24 Mary Jean Speare’s dissertation, “The Transformation of opéra comique: 1850-1880,” and Steven Huebner’s discussion of “Institutions and Repertory” in French Opera at the Fin de siècle have clarified details of style and programming previously unknown concerning the official tradition of opéra comique. 25 The former traces an impulse towards “elevation” in opéras comiques of the generation before Le Roi malgré lui with special focus on collaborations involving librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré; the latter outlines the “business and politics” of opera in Paris in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, highlighting social, economic, political, and aesthetic contingencies of directorial decisions pertaining to, particularly, programming at the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique. The remainder of the relatively large body of literature addressing this genre is more tangentially relevant to my study: broad historical treatments are a valuable resource for historical context and large-scale generic trends, 26 but more focused studies rarely approach the period or the aesthetic issues immediately pertinent to 23 Jean-Claude Yon, Jacques Offenbach (Paris: Gallimard, 2000). 24 Jean-Claude Yon, “La Création du théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens (1855-1862), ou la difficile naissance de l'opérette,” Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 39 (1992), 575-600; and Yon, “Offenbach l’inclassable: la question des genres,” in La Scène bâtarde entre Lumiéres et Romantisme, ed. Philippe Bourdin and Gérard Loubinoux (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2004), 203-215. 25 Mary Jean Speare, “The Transformation of opéra comique: 1850-1880” (Ph.D. diss., Washington University, 1997); Steven Huebner, French Opera at the Fin de siècle, 1-11. 26 Major studies of the Opéra-Comique in the late nineteenth-century as genre and venue include: Jean Gourret, Histoire de l’opéra-comique (Paris: Publications universitaires, 1978); Albert Soubies and Charles Malherbe, Histoire de l'Opéra-Comique: La Seconde Salle Favart 1840-1887, 2 vols (Paris: Marpon and Flammarion, 1892-93; single-volume reprint, Geneva: Minkoff, 1978); Stuart W. Sharp, “The Twilight of French opéra lyrique, 1880- 1900” (Ph.D. diss., University of Kentucky, 1975); Nicole Wild and David Charlton, Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique, Paris: Répertoire 1762-1972 (Sprimont, Belgium: Mardaga, 2005). Dealing with related issues of genre and style is Hervé Lacombe, The Keys to French Opera in the Nineteenth Century, trans. Edward Schneider (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). 11 Le Roi. 27 As with opérette and opéra bouffe, my understanding of conventional procedures was largely acquired through surveying and analyzing published vocal scores. Many dramatic themes and conventions of comic opera find counterparts and antecedents in comic literary traditions. Maurice Charney’s classic study Comedy High and Low is a theoretical consideration of stage comedy and has provided many helpful ideas, especially his conception of the language and rhetoric of comedy. 28 The volumes Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Survey, edited by Charney, are a rich resource that provide histories of various comic genres and offer reliable definitions of comic terms. 29 In addition, I have found studies of the Old Comedies of Aristophanes, Shakespeare’s “festive” comedies, and French farce that have developed concepts with parallel application in the operatic comedies studied here. 30 On theatre as venue, John McCormick’s Popular Theatres of Nineteenth-Century France has helped to clarify terms and concepts and to compare musical developments to those in spoken theatre. 31 Humour Studies The word “humour” as it is used in this study refers to the quality of a provocative cognitive experience intended to bring about laughter or amusement. In the words of anthropologist William O. Beeman, humour is 27 Those that do focus on early Third Republic works habitually consider the works more or less independently from their traditions, a notable exception is Susan McClary, Georges Bizet, Carmen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 28 Maurice Charney, Comedy High and Low: An Introduction to the Experience of Comedy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978). 29 Maurice Charney, ed., Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, 2 vols (Westport: Praeger, 2005). 30 Cedric H. Whitman, Aristophanes and the Comic Hero (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971); C. L. Barber, Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959); Norman R. Shapiro, “Farce,” in Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, 2:296-313. 31 John McCormick, Popular Theatres of Nineteenth-Century France (London: Routledge, 1993). 12 a performative pragmatic accomplishment involving a wide range of communication skills including, but not exclusively involving, language, gesture, the presentation of visual imagery, and situation management. Humor aims at creating a concrete feeling of enjoyment for an audience, most commonly manifested in a physical display consisting of displays of pleasure, including smiles and laughter. 32 Reflections on the nature of humour have made their way into the writings of major philosophers since Plato. Yet rigorous investigation was uncommon before the twentieth century, as humorous amusement was regularly disparaged as a “lower” form of human behaviour and consequently deemed “unworthy” of philosophical contemplation.33 Over the centuries, three primary modes of inquiry have emerged—these are usually referred to as the Superiority, Incongruity, and Relief Theories of humour. 34 These might more accurately be considered essentializing 32 William O. Beeman, “Humor,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 9 (1999), 103. I have opted to not make a formal distinction between “wit” and “humour.” The term “wit” rarely appears in this study, and when it does it is treated as roughly synonymous with the term “humour.” The difference between the modern notions of wit and humour (as opposed to the widely-theorized eighteenth-century use of the terms) lies in the degree of subtlety, wit being associated with a more intellectual humour. On this, see James C. Kidd, “Wit and Humor in Tonal Syntax,” Current Musicology 21 (1976), 70-82. 33 See John Morreall, “The Rejection of Humor in Western Thought,” Philosophy East and West 39 (1989), 243-265. 34 The idea that humour or laughter is an expression of one’s superiority over another dates back to the writings of Plato (Philebus, 48a-50b) and Aristotle (Poetics, 1449a). In the seventeenth century Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan (Part 1, ch. 6), developed the superiority argument further, proposing the concept of “sudden glory” as “the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter; and is caused either by some sudden act of their own, that pleaseth them; or by the apprehension of some deformed thing in another, by comparison whereof they suddenly applaud themselves;” Hobbes’s Leviathan: Reprinted from the Edition of 1651 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1929), 45. The identification of an incongruity was also proposed by Aristotle (Rhetoric, 3.2). Kant proposes a theory of laughter based on incongruity and like other “incongruity theories” his explanation locates the laughable in the object of laughter. In Critique of Judgement he says that “laughter is an affection arising from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing;” Immanuel Kant, Kant’s Critique of Judgement, trans. J.H. Bernard (London: Macmillan, 1914), 223. Schopenhauer, too, is associated with the incongruity theory of humour: “the cause of laughter in every case is simply the sudden perception of the incongruity between a concept and the real objects which have been thought through it in some relation and laughter itself is just the expression of this incongruity;” Arthur Schopenhauer, World as Will and Idea, trans. R.B. Haldane and J. Kemp (London: Trübner, 1883), 1: 76. The “relief theory,” also known as “release theory,” is primarily associated with Sigmund Freud and Herbert Spencer: Freud, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1960); Spencer, “On the Physiology of Laughter,” in Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative (New York: D. Appleton, 1892), 2: 452-466. Though, like incongruity theories, relief models developed in the eighteenth century to counteract superiority approaches. This view of humour focuses on the physical aspect of laughter, particularly as a release of nervous or “psychic” energy. Both Spencer and Freud based their views of laughter on the nineteenth-century “hydraulic” model of the nervous system, whereby energy was thought to be built up in the nervous system requiring specialized release mechanisms. Freud’s theory is more involved and far more widely known. He divides situations into three categories but identifies the discharge of superfluous “psychic” energy that had been created for a specific 13 categories rather than consciously developed theoretical apparatuses, and serious accounts of humour typically supplement an argument that foregrounds one of superiority, incongruity, or relief models with elements drawn from another. 35 Even among scholars who work with superiority and relief concepts, contemporary humour researchers generally agree that an element of incongruity is a necessary but not sufficient condition of humour. As John Morreall, a leading philosopher of humour and founding member and former president of the International Society of Humor Studies (ISHS), clarifies “what seems both necessary and sufficient for humorous amusement … is an enjoyment of some incongruity.”36 As such, most contemporary theorizing about the nature of humour retains incongruity as a fundamental ontological principle. The launch of the journal Humor: International Journal of Humor Research in 1988, the official publication of the ISHS, represents a coming-of-age of sorts for modern humour research as a field of study. The peer-reviewed quarterly, published by De Gruyter Mouton, aims to publish “high-quality research papers on humor as an important and universal human faculty.”37 Contributors approach the subject of humour from diverse parent fields, most commonly linguistics, literature, psychology, and sociology. This methodological diversity is characteristic task (such as the repressing of emotions) as common to each. John Morreall, ed. The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987) is a compilation of source readings in philosophy of humour. A concise overview can be found in John Morreall, Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 1-26, which also considers humour as “playful relaxation,” as advocated by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, and the “relaxation theory” proposed by Robert Latta. See also Victor Raskin, Semantic Mechanisms of Humor (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1985), 30-41. 35 Modern inquiries, drawing on whichever of these traditional models, tend to fall into three categories based on function—functionalist investigations consider usually the social function of laughter; psychological inquiries examine such things as presumed motivation and/or emotional benefit for humorous acts, such as degradation, tension, release, and play; and intellectualist inquiries, such as the present dissertation, describe or analyze the object of laughter, often focusing on the activating incongruity. For more on this, see Marcel Gutwirth, Laughing Matter: An Essay on the Comic (Ithaca: Cornell University Pres, 1993), 1-28. 36 John Morreall, “Philosophy and Religion,” in The Primer of Humor Research, ed. Victor Raskin (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2008), 233. 37 http://www.degruyter.com/journals/humor/detailEn.cfm (accessed 25 May 2011). 14 of the field as a whole and is reflected in the structure of the Primer of Humor Research edited by Victor Raskin. 38 This volume provides an exceptional introduction to the field: for each discipline it offers clear definitions of central terms and concepts, traces significant advances, and offers comprehensive bibliographic references. Given the considerable methodological challenge of devising a coherent theory of humour, most studies focus on the uses or effects of humour rather than its nature or substance. Currently, the most extensive and effective theories of the nature of humour are based on linguistic models. 39 In 1985, Victor Raskin’s “Semantic Script Theory of Humor” (SSTH) effectively revolutionized modern research into verbal humour. 40 The main hypothesis states that A text can be characterized as a single-joke-carrying text if both… (i) The text is compatible, fully or in part, with two different scripts [and] (ii) The two scripts with which the text is compatible are opposite [according to conditions subsequently clarified]. The two scripts with which some text is compatible are said to overlap fully or in part in this text. 41 Raskin defines script—a term often used interchangeably with frame or schema by other writers—as “a large chunk of semantic information surrounding the word or evoked by it. The script is a cognitive structure internalized by the native speaker and it represents the native speaker’s knowledge of a small part of the world.”42 The SSTH was followed in 1991 by the “General Theory of Verbal Humor” (GTVH) presented by Raskin together with his protégé Salvatore Attardo. 43 The GTVH broadens the central concepts of the SSTH beyond its purely 38 Victor Raskin, ed., Primer of Humor Research. 39 For an overview of the linguistic study of humour, see Salvatore Attardo, Linguistic Theories of Humor (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994). 40 Victor Raskin, Semantic Mechanisms of Humor. 41 Ibid., 99. 42 Ibid., 81. On “script oppositeness,” see 107-114. 43 Salvatore Attardo and Victor Raskin, “Script Theory Revis(it)ed: Joke Similarity and Joke Representation Model,” Humor 4 (1991), 293-347. For a concise overview of both SSTH and GTVH see Salvatore Attardo, Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2001), 1-35. 15 semantic foundation, to include pragmatics, narrativity theory, and textual linguistics. It also introduces five other “knowledge resources” to the central “script opposition” of the SSTH— logical mechanism, target, narrative strategy, language, and situation. These linguistic models use frame theories of human cognition to explain how the incongruity mechanism in humour works. This reliance on the concept of a cognitive frame allows ideas developed for the study of verbal humour to be adaptable to non-verbal humour. To take a familiar musical example, the script evoked by a low-register open fifth pedal point would include notions of pastoral and nature idyll. This script would be compatible with a diatonic violin melody with regular phrase structure, but not with, say, soprano coloratura or Wagnerian chromaticism. When in Ravel’s Menuet from Tombeau de Couperin (orch. 1919) such a drone does not “turn off” as it should at the end of the musette section, the listener becomes aware of the mechanical implications of this musical device. So in this example, the text of bass drone is compatible with the opposing notions of pastoral and machine and this script opposition is a potential source of humour. 44 The term “disjunction” (also called “passage” or “switch”) is conventionally used in humour studies to refer to the event which causes the listener to become aware of the co-presence of the second interpretive frame—in the case of the Ravel example, the continued presence of the drone after the return of the menuet provokes disjunction. 45 Neal Norrick developed a model for the analysis of verbal humour which appeared closely on the heels of Raskin’s very similar SSTH. 46 While the mechanisms he isolates are in 44 The mechanical is central to Henri Bergson’s theory of humour. Bergson famously postulated the “mechanical encrusted on the living” as the central mechanism in humour. Bergson, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, trans. Cloudesley Brereton and Fred Rothwell (New York: Macmillan, 1911), 18. For a different take on this particular incongruity, see Carolyn Abbate, “Outside Ravel’s Tomb.” 45 The concept of disjunction is central to Attardo’s “Isotopy-Disjunction Model” (or IDM), and is theorized in Salvatore Attardo, Linguistic Theories of Humor, 60-107. 46 Neal R. Norrick, “A Frame-Theoretical Analysis of Verbal Humor: Bisociation as Schema Conflict,” Semiotica 60 (1986), 225-245. 16 essence analogous to Raskin’s, Norrick uses more general language, broader categories, and non- semantically specific concepts that are even more amenable to application to non-verbal acts of humour: he argues that humour requires the presence of a “lower-level schema conflict” together with a “higher-level schema fit.”47 In the Ravel example cited above, the disjunction realized by a pastoral drone being suddenly reconceived as a mechanical device creates a conflict. These immediately palpable script or schema conflicts are what Norrick refers to as “lower-level conflicts.” The “higher-level fit” is a reconciliation that requires inference on the part of the audience or observer. The incongruity of drone-as-machine is countered by the presence of the same sound only seconds before in the commonplace environment of pastoral dance, which in turn highlights mechanical properties inherent in such repeating musical figures (and dehumanizing the bucolic peoples with whom these devices are conventionally associated). My analyses in Chapter 4 draw repeatedly on Norrick’s simple but apt formulation. In Humorous Texts Attardo extends coverage of the GTVH to all humorous texts. His central question asks “how do narrative texts longer than jokes function as humorous texts?”48 His point of departure is the structural differentiation of jokes, which end in a punch line, and humorous texts that do not end in a punch line. The latter consist of non-humorous narratives that include a humorous component. He introduces the term “jab line” for the non-final punch lines, puts forward a methodology for mapping and analyzing punch and jab lines in a given text, and also proposes a classification system for humorous plots. His discussion of diffuse disjunctors (where the source of humour is diffused across an extended passage rather than localized in a punch or jab line; examples include irony and register humour) and hyperdetermined humour (where multiple sources of humour are active at once) have been 47 These correspond to the “script opposition” and “logical mechanism,” respectively, of the GTVH. 48 Attardo, Humorous Texts, viii. 17 particularly valuable to my reading of Le Roi malgré lui. My discussion responds to previous criticisms of imbalance in the humorous discourse of the opera by demonstrating the presence of humorous disjunction in even the most allegedly “serious” moments. Indeed, musicologists and music theorists approaching the subject of humour will almost certainly be looking outside of music scholarship for conceptual tools. “Music and humour” studies tend to fall into three categories differentiated by focus. First, there are studies that reflect on the many inherent similarities between music and humour as communicative acts (often the observed parallels are used as a point of departure for a broader argument). 49 Peter Kay, for instance, draws such parallels in the first part of his article “Music and Humor.” He points to the perception of models and patterns, the frustration of expectations, creatively logical reinterpretations and their resultant “psychological shifts,” and the pleasure of discovering possibilities as components of rewarding musical and humorous experiences. A second category includes studies that deal with a humorous aspect or correlative of a work or group of works, typically by either investigating a humorous component through a conceptual lens or expounding on the uses or effects of humour inherent in the music. 50 Many of these focus on incongruities 49 Peter Kay, “Music and Humor: What’s so Funny?,” Music Reference Services Quarterly 10 (2006), 37-53. Kay builds on observations of music cognition first presented in John Sloboda, The Musical Mind: The Cognitive Psychology of Music (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985). Also approaching the subject with an interest in cognition is Kendall L. Walton, “Understanding Humor and Understanding Music,” Journal of Musicology 11 (1993), 32-44. Walton uses an extended metaphor of an anthropologist studying Martian laughter to demonstrate various analogies between understanding humour and understanding a musical composition, from which point he goes on to champion musical analytical methodologies that seek to understand one’s way of hearing and to specify the intensional content of one’s musical experience. In “Close Enough for Jazz: Humor and Jazz Reality,” Humor 1 (1988), 371-388, Frank A. Salamone examines the “essential qualities common to both humor and jazz,” but his larger goal is to consider the role of humour in jazz culture. 50 The majority of these studies focus on the eighteenth-century instrumental repertory; this may very well be because of the supposed stability and predictability of the “high classic style.” Examples include, Jane Perry-Camp, “A Laugh a Minuet: Humor in Late Eighteenth-Century Music,” College Music Symposium 19 (1979), 19-29; Steven E. Paul, “Comedy, Wit, and Humor in Haydn’s Instrumental Music” in Haydn Studies, eds. Jens Peter Larsen, Howard S. Serwer, and James Webster (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981), 450-456; Cassandra I. Carr, “Wit and Humor as a Dramatic Force in Beethoven Piano Sonatas” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 1985); Susan 18 and a play metaphor is commonly invoked, as is the case of Roy Howat’s previously-cited essay on “rhythmic play” in Chabrier’s piano music. A major contribution and a rare book-length study of this type is Gretchen Wheelock’s Haydn’s Ingenious Jesting with Art, a study of playful rhetoric in Haydn’s instrumental music.51 As indicated in the book’s subtitle, “Contexts of Musical Wit and Humor,” Wheelock’s primary objective is to illuminate contexts (musical, social, historical) requisite to Haydn’s “artful jesting,” a category she keeps decidedly broad. She seeks to “locate the strategies of musical jests, along with the aesthetic and kinesthetic paradoxes they introduce, in those genres and procedures noted as humorous by Haydn’s contemporaries.”52 A reader whose foremost interest is the rigorous investigation of musical humour might raise a general criticism against these insightful and well-researched studies. That is, these inquiries rarely provide a rationale for the processes identified as humorous (as in Wheelock’s investigation of “genres and procedures noted as humorous by Haydn’s contemporaries”), or alternately, propose unpredictability or violation of expectation as a sufficient condition. 53 A different strategy is exemplified in a grouping of articles that extrapolate on conceptual parallels between the music of Haydn or Beethoven and humorous or comic literary Wollenberg, “A New Look at C.P.E. Bach’s Musical Jokes,” in C.P.E. Bach Studies, ed. Stephen L. Clark (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 295-314; and Danuta Mirka, “Wit, Comedy, and Metric Manipulation in Haydn’s and Mozart’s Personal Styles,” in Metric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber Music for Strings, 1787-1791 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 295-309. Three such studies that reach beyond eighteenth-century repertory are R. Anderson Sutton, “Humor, Mischief, and Aesthetics in Javanese Gamelan Music,” Journal of Musicology 15 (1997), 390-415; George-Julius Papadopoulos, “Johannes Brahms and Nineteenth-Century Comic Ideology” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2003); and Steven Huebner, “Laughter: In Ravel’s Time.” 51 Gretchen A. Wheelock, Haydn’s Ingenious Jesting with Art: Contexts of Musical Wit and Humor (New York: Schirmer Books, 1992). 52 Ibid., x. Her four analytical chapters present analogies between Haydn’s musical discourse and (i) frustrated kinesthetic expectation, (ii) dysfunctional conversation, (iii) teasing suspense, and (iv) distraction. 53 On other reactions of violation of expectation and the dependence of expectation on musical and extramusical context, see David Huron, Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006); and more generally, John Morreall, “Funny Ha-ha, Funny Strange, and Other Reactions to Incongruity,” in The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor, ed. John Morreall (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), 188-207. 19 tropes found in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.54 The title of William Kinderman’s article, “Beethoven’s High Comic Style,” rightly identifies his object of inquiry as the “comic” in the selected works of Beethoven. In the article, however, the comical and the humorous are often found to be conflated. This is another general criticism that might be leveled against many of the existing studies of musical humour. Indeed, the two qualities are closely related and at times overlap in a given work, but the distinction is important to maintain: comic rhetoric itself does not typically provoke humorous laughter. Wye J. Allanbrook’s “Theorizing the Comic Surface” is a remarkable essay addressing the concept of the “comic” so distinguished from humour- producing mechanisms. 55 She calls the analyst’s attention back to the musical surface, the locus of the comic in music (back from “the Behind, the Beneath, and the Beyond”). Her goal is to “return the word ‘superficial’ to neutrality, at least for the purpose of music analysis, and sing the praises of the surface.”56 Allanbrook identifies comic flux, variety, concision, and mixture of stylistic modes as attributes of the comic musical surface, establishing normative features of “comic” musical discourse. I would suggest that these elements likely exist in a symbiotic relationship with humorous disjunctions, though this dialectic has yet to be systematically investigated. In a third category and more in line with the present study are the efforts to explain the substance of musical humour—the mechanisms themselves that trigger humorous amusement— either in theoretical or in practical terms. Among these, Fred Fisher’s article “Musical Humor: A 54 Mark Evan Bonds, “Haydn, Laurence Sterne, and the Origins of Musical Irony,” JAMS 44 (1991), 57-91; Howard Irving, “Haydn and Laurence Sterne: Similarities in Eighteenth-Century Literary and Musical Wit,” Current Musicology 40 (1985), 34-49; and William Kinderman, “Beethoven’s High Comic Style in Piano Sonatas of the 1790s, or Beethoven, Uncle Toby, and the ‘Muckcart-driver,’” Beethoven Forum 5 (1996), 119-138. 55 Allanbrook, “Theorizing the Comic Surface.” 56 Ibid., 195. 20 Future as Well as a Past?,” stands out for its many astute observations.57 He offers a sound set of conditions of musical humour and explores, among other things, the apparently limited potential for musical humour in modern atonal and twelve-tone idioms. Fisher is among the first of many scholars to propose Leonard Meyer’s work on affective response and musical meaning as the basis for a theory of humour in music. 58 Concentrating on mechanisms on the level of tonal syntax, James Kidd postulates the interaction of two breaches in stylistic propriety as requirements for musical humour—a structural surprise (syntactical or formal) joined with a semantic surprise (an unexpected change in “emotional climate”)—which he tests against contrasting open and closed formal aspects of Beethoven’s Op. 54 piano sonata.59 Rossana Dalmonte approaches the subject from a semiotic perspective and considers humour processes on the poietic and aesthesic levels. 60 The majority of the essay concentrates on the former (the productive or formative level), exploring especially the communication of the composer’s “intentions” though titles and other verbal paratextual indications. Her objective is to establish coherent categories as a preliminary step towards a semiotic theory of musical humour. In an article discussing “musical satire” in the film The Rutles, John Covach applies theories of 57 Fred Fisher, “Musical Humor: A Future as Well as a Past?,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 32 (1974), 375-383. Two essays that predate the surge of interest in the subject that began in the 1970s are Henry F. Gilbert, “Humor in Music,” Musical Quarterly 12 (1926), 40-55, a pioneering effort in the musicological study of the conditions of humour that continues to be cited today; and R. Gruneberg, “Discussion: Humor in Music,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 30 (1969), 122-125. Both have the tone of apologie, the authors purporting, at least in part, to demonstrate that musical expression is capable of humour. 58 Leonard B. Meyer’s Emotion and Meaning in Music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956); Style and Music: Theory, History, and Ideology (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989); and “View: A Pride of Prejudices, or, Delight in Diversity,” Music Theory Spectrum 13 (1991), 241-251. Other works that draw on Meyer include Allanbrook, “Theorizing the Comic Surface;” Mirka, “Wit, Comedy, and Metric Manipulation;” Kidd, “Wit and Humor in Tonal Syntax;” as well as studies by Linda R. Lowry,“Humor in Instrumental Music: A Discussion of Musical Affect, Psychological Concepts of Humor and Identification of Musical Humor” (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1974); Laurie-Jeanne Lister, Humor as a Concept in Music: A Theoretical Study of Expression in Music, the Concept of Humor, and Humor in Music (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1994); and John Covach, cited below (see note 61). 59 James C. Kidd, “Wit and Humor in Tonal Syntax.” 60 Rossana Dalmonte, “Towards a Semiology of Humour in Music,” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 26 (1995), 167-187. 21 musical style and intertextuality to unpack complex mechanisms of referential humour. 61 Covach is interested in “stylistic competency” and its relation to amused response, examining in particular the role of intertextual relationships on different stylistic levels in triggering the congruity-incongruity dialectic required of humorous amusement. As can be seen from this cursory survey, humour in music is fertile ground for investigation, and the potential to expand into new repertories and new theoretical realms is promising. In the three central chapters of my dissertation, humorous disjunctions in the musical discourse are subject to increasingly comprehensive analysis. Chapter 2, being more interested in identifying conventional musical procedures and types of humorous effects that might be considered characteristic of the genres of opérette and opéra bouffe, draws concepts more from theories of comedy than from theories of humour. Terms and concepts are defined as they are introduced. Chapter 3, dealing with Chabrier’s popular operas, is more methodical in investigating the nature of oppositions and disjunctions and makes use of basic concepts of humour theory. Chapter 4, after identifying “conflicting schemas” (to use Norrick’s terminology) on local levels of genre, syntax, and musical reference or allusion, considers larger-scale humorous processes in Le Roi malgré lui and relies more heavily on linguistic theories of humour, particularly Attardo’s work that moves beyond the local semantic level. Terminology: Humorous Musical Borrowing Provocative manipulation or recontextualization of borrowed musical materials is among the most characteristic and frequently encountered means of humour production in the repertory considered in this study. Discussions of such referential or intertextual humour rely on 61 John R. Covach, “The Rutles and the Use of Specific Models in Musical Satire,” Indiana Theory Review 11 (1991), 119-144. 22 specialized terminology, and the terms employed—such as “parody,” “travesty,” and “burlesque”—are often broadly and inconsistently used in the literature. These are best clarified at the outset and the final section of this chapter is devoted to the definition of select terms. I have drawn on Gérard Genette’s exhaustive study of literary “hypertextuality,” Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, for critical definitions of intertextual techniques and genres. 62 I should clarify that I am using the term “intertextual” in a literal sense: to refer to relationships among particular texts. Genette defines intertextuality as such at the beginning of his book: I define [intertextuality] . . . as a relationship of copresence between two texts or among several texts: that is to say, eidetically and typically as the actual presence of one text within another. In its most explicit and literal form, it is the traditional practice of quoting . . . in another less explicit and canonical form, it is the practice of plagiarism . . . in still less explicit and less literal guise, it is the practice of allusion: that is, an enunciation whose full meaning presupposes the perception of a relationship between it and another text, to which it necessarily refers by some inflections that would otherwise remain unintelligible. 63 This definition is distinct from the conventional use of the term in literary criticism, which considers intertextuality as being, in the words of Jonathan Culler, the investigation of “the anonymous discursive practices, codes whose origins are lost, that make possible the signifying practices of later texts.”64 62 Gérard Genette, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, trans. Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997). Genette distinguishes hypertextuality from other types of transtextuality by defining the former as “any relationship uniting a text B (which I shall call the hypertext) to an earlier text A (I shall, of course, call it the hypotext), upon which it is ‘grafted’ in a manner that is not that of commentary,” 5. 63 Ibid., 1-2. 64 Jonathan Culler, The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), 103. 23 Throughout his investigation, Genette maintains a clear distinction between hypertexts that are derived through transformation and those that are derived through imitation. 65 Categorical subdivisions are then proposed based on function, namely whether the derived text displays a satirical or non-satirical relationship with its hypotext. 66 In non-satirical adaptations of texts, Genette identifies a “serious mood” (which is not of concern to the present study) and a ludic or “playful mood.”67 Following Genette’s typology, my dissertation will use the following definitions: imitative tropes include “caricature” and “pastiche,” these display satirical and playful (non-satirical) moods respectively; “travesty” is satirical transformation; and non- satirical transformation in the ludic mode is referred to as “parody.” The term parody, then, is used in a more specific sense in this study than is commonly found in the literature. 68 Determining a composer’s intent to be satirical or non-satirical is certainly a subjective exercise, and in instances where satirical intent is not unambiguously clear I have opted to err on the side of the ludic. “Burlesque” is another term that is used with flexibility in the literature, and the sense in which I employ this term is similar to but not indistinguishable from what Genette calls 65 Genette distinguishes the two operations: “to transform [a model hypotext], I need only modify in whichever way any one of its components . . . But to imitate [a text] . . . it presupposes that I should identify in this [text] a certain manner . . . and then express in this manner (in this style) another idea.” Genette, 7. 66 Satire, as distinct from non-satirical expressions (which may be humorous or non-humorous), is moralistic and intends to ridicule. In the words of Dustin H. Griffin, “satire is designed to attack vice or folly. To this end it uses wit or ridicule. Like polemical rhetoric, it seeks to persuade an audience that something or someone is reprehensible or ridiculous; unlike pure rhetoric, it engages in exaggeration and some sort of fiction.” Griffin, Satire: A Critical Reintroduction (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994), 1. 67 See ibid., chap. 7. 68 Compare, for example, Linda Hutcheon’s definition of the term as “repetition with critical difference.” Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-century Art Forms (New York: Methuen, 1985), chap. 1. 24 “burlesque travesty.”69 When it is introduced in Chapter 2, I have included a more detailed consideration of the concept and its various applications to Hervé’s Petit Faust. But in short, a burlesque gesture debases a model text by “lowering” it stylistically while maintaining its exalted subject, or vice versa. 70 The simultaneous presence of high tone and lowered means, while maintaining a clear connection to the model hypotext, is the defining characteristic of the burlesque, whether as a genre or as a local level trope. This extravagant incongruity might be reinforced by a successive process: subject matter (and literary style of the text) is maintained, but a sudden lowering of musical style occurs. In the analyses that follow, I have also employed the term “burlesque” to refer to this kind of double disjuncture. 69 By “burlesque travesty,” Genette refers to a specific genre that stylistically transforms a single model hypotext with an aim to debase or ridicule (as in travesty). He identifies Paul Scarron’s Virgile travesti (c. 1650), a travesty of Virgil’s Aeneid, as the generic prototype. Genette’s discussion of “burlesque” proper is minimal. See Genette, 56-66. 70 This definition is in accordance with The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 3 rd ed, ed. Chris Baldick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). See also Woodbridge Wilson and Deane L. Root, "Burlesque," in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie, Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/O008435 (accessed 25 June 2011). 25 2 French Popular Opera before Chabrier Opérette is a genre of French light comic opera that was performed in the popular theatres of Paris beginning in the early 1850s. By “popular,” I refer to the non officially- endorsed theatres, sometimes referred to as "théâtres du boulevard," that depended on private funding and on the patronage of a paying public. 71 The genre flourished in the second half of the nineteenth century, being especially associated with the Second Empire of Louis Napoleon (1852-1870). 72 The composer Hervé (1825-1892) is considered to be the creator of opérette—his musical theatre experiments of the 1840s and early 1850s led to his opening of a small theatre in 1854, the Folies-Concertantes. 73 Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was interested in the new genre from the outset and had works performed at various Parisian salles as early as 1853. In July 1855 he opened his own theatre, Les Bouffes-Parisiens. The enduring repertory of successful works 71 I have opted to use the possibly ambiguous term “popular opera” or the cumbersome qualifier “non-officially- sanctioned” due to the conventional association of “boulevard theatre” with the popular theatres of the boulevard du Temple district, of which Offenbach’s theatres were not a part. 72 Several theatrical histories gather information about the major composers, librettists, and theatres that were involved in the development of “operetta,” which is the term commonly used, retrospectively, for French opérette and its descendants (including opéra bouffe and other national schools such as Viennese Operette, Gilbert and Sullivan “comic opera,” Spanish zarzuela, and American operetta). These studies provide overviews and anecdotes concerning repertory, plot, reception, and stage antics. The most thorough discussion of early French developments is given in Richard Traubner, Operetta: A Theatrical History, rev. ed. (New York: Routledge, 2003). See also Andrew Lamb, 150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); and John Kenrick, Musical Theatre: A History (NY: Continuum, 2008). Several French studies focus exclusively on the French tradition: José Bruyr, L’Opérette (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962); Florian Bruyas, Histoire de l’opérette en France, 1855-1965 (Lyon: E. Vitte, 1974); Claude Dufresne, Histoire de l’opérette (Paris: F. Nathan, 1981); and Benoît Duteurtre, L’Opérette en France (Paris: Seuil, 1997). 73 Hervé had made an association in 1853 with Emperor Louis Napoleon’s half brother, the Duc de Morny, which resulted in Hervé receiving a privilege to operate his own small theatre. The Folies-Concertantes opened in 1854 in the boulevard du Temple. Conceding his privilege in July of that year he remained with the theatre, newly renovated and reopened in October as the Folies-Nouvelles, in the role of artistic director. Works by Hervé formed the majority of the repertory of the Folies-Nouvelles at this time but he also programmed works by other composers including Delibes and Offenbach. Renée Cariven-Galharret and Dominique Ghesquière, Hervé: Un musicien paradoxal (Paris: Éditions des Cendres, 1992) is the first book-length study of the life and career of this little-known composer. Louis Schneider, Les Maîtres de l’opérette française: Hervé, Charles Lecocq (Paris: Perrin, 1924) is an early biography, especially valuable as the only extended treatment of Charles Lecocq available to date. 26 that he supplied together with the generous funding and the favourable mainstream publicity that he acquired have allowed for Offenbach to be historically remembered as the first master of the form. 74 Following an imperial decree of 1807, impresarios of non-official theatres in Paris were required to present applications indicating the specific nature of their proposed enterprise to the satisfaction of the Minister of State, the Ministry of Interior, and the Prefect of Police. 75 A license permitting a combination of music and drama (especially newly-composed music) would almost invariably limit the works to one act. For this reason the diminutive opérette has come to designate a work in a single act. This conventional adoption of the term by historians follows a consistency demonstrated by Offenbach in employing the designation opérette (in conjunction with various qualifiers) exclusively for one-act works. It simplifies what in reality was a 74 By the time Hervé opened his theatre Offenbach had already submitted his own suavely argued application, see Archives nationales (Paris), F/21 1136; quoted in Alexander Faris, Jacques Offenbach (New York: Scribner, 1980), 48. His new theatre would be located in the (pre-Haussmann) Champs-Élysées, a neighborhood well-suited to his proper bourgeois clientele, also conveniently accessible to visitors of the upcoming 1855 Exposition Universelle in search of “un spectacle de bon goût.” He also cites the service he would be providing to young composers, always in want of a venue for their works. H. de Villemessant had recently resuscitated the defunct Le Figaro and, seeing the new theatre as a sister enterprise to his newspaper, gave Offenbach his financial support and ensured positive publicity. The application would be successful and the tiny Bouffes-Parisiens opened in July 1855 in the carré Marigny. The Bouffes would be the first institution dedicated exclusively to the genre of opérette and no less than twelve new one-act works would be produced before the end of 1855 (usually two or three would be programmed together in a single evening). Offenbach moved the theatre to a larger, more central, and warmer winter location: the newly named Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens was opened in the passage Choiseul (2 nd arrondissement, rebuilt in 1863 with front entrance on rue Monsigny) on 29 December 1855. On the formation of Offenbach’s theatre and the many obstacles faced by the genre in its formative years see Jean-Claude Yon, “La Création du théâtre des Bouffes- Parisiens (1855-1862), ou la difficile naissance de l'opérette,” Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 39 (1992), 575-600. For more on Offenbach’s connection with Villemessant and his licensing process see Faris, 48-50. Numerous biographies of Offenbach have been published, most noteworthy of these are Jean-Claude Yon, Jacques Offenbach (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), an expertly documented, comprehensive, and insightful contribution to Offenbach research; and Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Offenbach und das Paris seiner Zeit (Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, 1937), translated as Orpheus in Paris: Offenbach and the Paris of his Time, trans. Gwenda David and Eric Mosbacher (New York: Vienna House, 1972). This “social biography” presents Offenbach’s works as reflecting the commercialization of French culture during the Second Empire and has aroused considerable controversy, see Harald Reil, Siegfried Kracauers Jacques Offenbach: Biographie, Geschichte, Zeitgeschichte (New York: P. Lang, 2003); and Norbert Nagler, “Jacques Offenbachs musikalische Utopie: die Sehnsucht nach der herrschaftsarmen Heimat. Reflexionen zu Siegfried Kracauers Gesellschaftsbiographie des Second Empire,” Musik-Konzepte 13 (1980), 87- 102. Other biographies, all dating from the centenary of Offenbach’s death, include Peter Gammond, Offenbach: His Life and Times (Speldhurst: Midas Books, 1980); James Harding, Jacques Offenbach: A Biography (London: J. Calder, 1980); David Rissin, Offenbach, ou le rire musical (Paris: Fayard, 1980). 75 Faris, Jacques Offenbach, 49. 27 complicated and inconsistent application of a wide variety of generic labels, most of them newly- invented. 76 Terms such as opérette bouffe, comédie-opérette, vaudeville-opérette, saynète, bouffonnerie musicale, pochade musicale, as well as the more singular “excentricité musicale” and “anthropophagie musicale” appeared on scores, librettos, and the official registers.77 This seeming delight in categorization humorously continues a French tradition that extends at least as far back as the seventeenth-century comédies-ballets, opéras-ballets, and ballets-héroïques of Lully and his successors. These terms often declare an explicit comic intent. Opérette at this time usually, though not always, included a pronounced element of humour: playful or satirical reworkings of theatrical and operatic conventions, sociopolitical satire, and broad comic gestures were widespread practices in these genres. As might be gathered from such proto-Satiean appellations as “lyrical asphyxiation” (Delibes’s Deux sous de charbon, ou Le Suicide de bigorneau, Folies- Nouvelles, 1856) the favored mode tended towards the ridiculous or loufoque—as implied in the qualifier bouffe—decidedly unlike the romantic comedy then in vogue at the Théâtre de l’Opéra- Comique. 78 76 See Jean-Claude Yon, “Offenbach l’inclassable: la question des genres,” in La Scène bâtarde entre Lumiéres et Romantisme, ed. Philippe Bourdin and Gérard Loubinoux (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2004), 203-215. Attempting to classify Offenbach’s 110 stage works, which appeared under thirty-three different denominations, into a functional lexicon Yon has identified inconsistent usage as a methodological hindrance to what ought to be a rather routine exercise: the genre indicated in the published score is often not in agreement with the term used in other sources such as the libretto, the censor’s manuscript, the press, and the SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) registers. His six categories are “opéra-bouffe,” “opérette” (these are all one- act works), “opéra-comique,” “genres divers avec une racine bouffe,” “opéras-féeries,” and “divers.” 77 The “excentricité musicale” in question is Hervé’s La Fine fleur de l'Andalousie (Théâtre des Folies-Nouvelles, 1854); Offenbach’s Oyayaye, ou La Reine des îles (Folies-Nouvelles, 1855) was designated “anthropophagie musical” (musical cannibalism). 78 Eugène Scribe was the most highly-regarded and most prolific supplier of opéra comique livrets in the period 1825-1861. In a detailed discussion of the Scribean “livret bien fait” as supplied for the Opéra-Comique, Rey Longyear emphasizes the centrality of young lovers: “Love is the foremost situation in Scribe’s librettos. Usually a young lady who desires to marry a poor but honest young man is thwarted by her father, who insists on her betrothal to a wealthy and old gentleman. When two young men strive for the same girl’s affections, a mariage réparateur is always contrived at the end so that no one goes offstage unhappy.” Major works that follow this formula include Fra Diavolo and Le Cheval de bronze, both set to music by Auber. Rey Longyear, “Daniel-François-Esprit Auber: (1782- 28 Opérette, like any “new” genre, drew heavily on the conventions of various established forms, most importantly opéra comique, vaudeville, and revue. From both opéra comique and vaudeville it takes up the alternation of songs and spoken dialogue as well as the use of simple strophic forms. It employed ensemble finales similar to those encountered in mid-century opéra comique, and featured complicated plots and zany antics characteristic of contemporaneous vaudeville. 79 The revue combined song, dance, and spectacular “curiosités” but did not develop a dramatic plotline. Dedicated to the “passing in revue” of recent events, particularly recent operatic and theatrical productions, the revue lent opérette a parodic and satirical tendency. 80 Broader comic gestures such as doubles entendres, puns, and slapstick were commonplace and drag performances were not uncommon in revues and vaudevilles of the time. 81 These features come together in various proportions in the opérettes of Offenbach, Hervé, and their contemporaries. When the restrictive Napoleonic legislation was lifted in 1864, full-length (usually three- act) works superseded the one-act opérettes in quantity and in popularity. The works continued the same esprit bouffe of the opérette. As multiple-act dramas with large casts and choruses they became known by the designation opéra bouffe, which is to be distinguished from opérette 1871): A Chapter in French opéra comique” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1957), 225. Karin Pendle also discusses the dominance of sentimental and romantic themes in Scribe’s opéras comiques. Pendle, Eugène Scribe and French Opera of the Nineteenth Century (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1979), 99ff. 79 On vaudeville see John McCormick, Popular Theatres of Nineteenth-Century France (New York: Routledge, 1993), especially 113-133. McCormick suggests that the distinction between vaudeville and opérette was a matter of degree of musical importance more than one of style or substance: “There is no hard and fast line between what should be spoken and what should be sung in a play with vaudevilles. This very fluidity could allow the musical element to take over, and when this happened in the nineteenth century the result was the operetta of Hervé and Offenbach. In the later nineteenth century there is a division between the vaudeville become light comedy or farce, on the one hand, and the vaudeville become operetta, on the other,” 115. A significant difference between vaudeville and opérette not cited by McCormick is the use of newly-composed music in the latter. 80 Andrew Lamb, et al., "Revue," in Grove Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com (accessed 21 March 2009). 81 See illustration of renowned drag performer M. Potier, affiche for early nineteenth-century production at the Théâtre des Variétés, in McCormick, 121. 29 primarily by the number of acts. Works of this type flourished during the period of 1864-1870, including such enduring classics of the genre as Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène, La Grande- Duchesse de Gérolstein, La Périchole, and La Vie Parisienne (the librettos for all but the last were by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy) and Hervé’s L’Oeil crevé, Chilpéric, and Le Petit Faust. 82 The more sober political and social climate of the early Third Republic following the humiliating defeat to Prussia and the horrors of the Paris Commune is usually cited in conjunction with the evident shift to a more sentimental mode of comedy in popular opera of the 1870s. The satirical edge and the farcical zaniness of opéra bouffe is markedly softened, abstracted, or entirely absent in the comedies of Charles Lecocq, Émile Audran, Robert Planquette and their contemporaries. In these works the subtitle opéra bouffe was replaced with opéra comique. 83 Opéras comiques from this popular tradition must be distinguished from the repertory of the Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique. While many parallels exist between the two genres that went under this name, they are by no means equivalent. They stem from different traditions—one nascent, one endowed with a long history but arguably in decline; one a “low” form subject to the whims of private enterprise, the other officially-sanctioned “high art.”84 82 In 1858 Offenbach obtained a license permitting a two-act work with full cast and chorus resulting in the “opéra bouffon” Orphée aux enfers. Orphée is considered the beginning of the opéra bouffe tradition, but is something of an exception for the period as composers remained bound to the terms of their specific licenses (which continued to restrict most works to one act) until the legislation was officially changed in 1864. 83 Following Delphine Mordey, who, in “Auber’s Horses: L’Année terrible and Apocalyptic Narratives,” 19th- Century Music 30 (2007), 213-229, warns against the unqualified acceptance of this “turning-point narrative” in French music history, which she argues was constructed retrospectively by critics desiring cultural change, this evident change in focus should be considered neither abrupt nor exclusionary. Stylistic continuities can indeed be identified in the popular operas composed under the two regimes. 84 For the sake of clarity I will use the more cumbersome term “popular opéra comique” if the context permits any ambiguity for the works performed at the popular theatres (that is the works of Lecocq, Planquette, et alia that I have positioned as descendents of Second Empire opéra bouffe) and retain the familiar opéra comique, unqualified, for the relevant works of the Opéra-Comique repertory. 30 This chapter offers readings of three works, one from each of these branches of popular opera (opérette, opéra bouffe, and popular opéra comique). It will describe certain generic norms as exemplified in the selected pieces, which will make it possible to appreciate Chabrier’s contributions to these genres from a contextually appropriate perspective. Without an understanding of, say, the outlandishness characteristic of the opérette and opéra bouffe it would be easy to overlook or misconstrue Chabrier’s more idiosyncratic gestures. The discussion will also demonstrate how these pieces function as “comedic” in the two senses distinguished in Chapter 1, that is, to identify and distinguish “comic” convention and rhetoric (both dramatic and musical) and specifically “humorous” devices. In the latter case, I will limit most of my discussion to musical examples. Of course, humorous devices are plentiful in the libretto, and a sampling of the variety of jokes will be provided in the discussion of comic discourse. However, as the larger purpose of this chapter is to contextualize Chabrier’s inventiveness and it is the specifically musical application of humour that sets his works apart, it will be most valuable to determine the humorous musical gestures that are characteristic of the genre and see how they function as humour. Offenbach’s “chinoiserie musicale” Ba-ta-clan (Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, 1855, libretto by Ludovic Halévy) 85 is taken to be a seminal work and will be analyzed in some detail. It appeared at the end of the busy and experimental year of 1855 and benefits from the experience of Offenbach’s earlier pieces. It was nevertheless the first work produced at the new and permanent location of the Bouffes (Salle Choiseul) and thus it stands symbolically at the 85 Halévy had been working with Offenbach since the first show at the Bouffes-Parisiens. To protect his government job, the libretto for Ba-ta-clan was published under the pseudonym Jules Servières. References to the libretto will be cited as Halévy, Ba-ta-clan (Paris: N. Tresse, 1860) in order to distinguish from references to the musical score (Offenbach, Ba-ta-clan). The latter exists in various versions that are less readily available; the musical examples reproduced in this chapter are taken from the first published edition of the piano-vocal score (Paris: L. Escudier, 1856). 31 head of a tradition. In his edition of the vocal score, Antonio Almeida indicates that Ba-ta-clan was Offenbach’s first work designated “opérette” in the official theatrical registers.86 It was enormously popular and remains among the best-known of Offenbach’s opérettes today. More importantly, it displays many features that would inform the genres of opérette and opéra bouffe until 1870, and the numerous parallels that can be drawn with Chabrier’s opérettes suggest a kinship that makes it especially pertinent to the present study. I have chosen to discuss Hervé’s Le Petit Faust (Folies-Dramatiques, 1869, libretto by Hector Crémieux and Louis-Adolphe Jaime) as an example of 1860s opéra bouffe. Addressing distinct differences in style and temperament between Le Petit Faust and Offenbach’s major works will be one goal of this section. The connection to the vaudeville tradition that Hervé self- consciously privileges over Offenbach’s concept of the genre as an evolution of the official tradition of opéra comique will be addressed. The treatment of borrowed materials, an important element of the humour of Le Petit Faust, is also somewhat different from the analogous practice in Offenbach. These comparisons will permit a more balanced picture of the genre than would be possible if discussion of opérette and opéra bouffe were limited to Offenbach’s works as has been customary. 87 Charles Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot (Brussels, 1872, libretto by Clairville, Paul Siraudin, and Victor Koning) remains one of the most popular post-1870 French light operas. Discussion of generic procedures and mechanisms of humour in this popular opéra comique will 86 Jacques Offenbach, Ba-ta-clan: Chinoiserie musicale en 1 acte, libretto by Ludovic Halévy, ed. Antonio Almeida, English version by Michael Kaye (Melville: Belwin-Mills, 1983), iii. As the first work performed at the Salle Choiseul it enjoyed the flexibility of Offenbach’s new and more lenient license and for the first time four characters were permitted. The chorus indicated in Almeida’s score did not appear in the first edition (Escudier, 1856). All musical examples from Ba-ta-clan that appear in this chapter are reproduced from Almeida’s edition. 87 The available literature addressing the works of Hervé is very limited relative to the growing Offenbach bibliography, and surveys of early opérette developments typically focus overwhelmingly on Offenbach’s contributions. See, for example, Bruyas, Histoire de l’opérette en France; Lamb, 150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre; and Traubner, Operetta. 32 demonstrate an aesthetic far removed from that of early opérette and opéra bouffe of the 1860s. The self-affiliation of the “low” with the “high” forms of opéra comique (that is, popular opéra comique with the works of the Opéra-Comique) resurfaces as an important criterion in the ontology of French light opera, and will be disentangled in this section. Ba-ta-clan: Plot Synopsis and General Characteristics Raymonde: Oui! Oui, tu as raison. Ce n’est peut-être pas génial, mais ce sont généralement les moyens les plus classiques qui réussissent le mieux. 88 Comic theatre relies heavily on stereotypes; the same can be said of opérette without being any less of a truism. Comic dramaturgy involves stereotypical plots, sustained and developed formulaically, and peopled with one-dimensional character types who indulge in established forms of histrionics and comic play. In opérette the text meets with music that is also highly formulaic. The uniqueness of a given work results from the creative selection and combination of familiar devices and the inventiveness with which the characters transgress the boundaries of their circumscribed comic reality. 89 Early opérette follows a “festive mode” of comedy: a manic frenzy, a naive spontaneity, a farcical temperament, and a topical acuity completely devoid of the workings of everyday reality recalls Aristophanic Old Comedy and its most celebrated modern successor, the Rabelaisian carnivalesque. 90 While other forms of comedy follow a teleological progression 88 Georges Feydeau, La Puce à l’oreille, in Théâtre complet (Paris: Éditions du Bélier, 1950), 4: 131. 89 For more on the structure of comedies see Maurice Charney, Comedy High and Low: An Introduction to the Experience of Comedy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 75-94. 90 C. L. Barber’s landmark study on festive comedy, Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), identifies parallels between 33 toward ritual celebration (in the form of marriage, feast, and revelry), festive comedy sustains a celebratory spirit throughout. Real people and ideas drawn from contemporary society are brought into the unrealistic fantasy world that is assumed as the play’s reality. These types of comedies are governed by an inner logic that not only tolerates but thrives on buffoonery, vulgarity, and physicality. The following synopsis of Ba-ta-clan illustrates this festive orientation: A conspiracy is being mounted against Fé-ni-han, emperor of the country of Ché- i-no-or and its forty-seven subjects. It is led by Ko-ko-ri-ko, chief of the imperial guard. Meanwhile, two young mandarins about court, Fé-an-nich-ton and Ké-ki- ka-ko, discover that the other is actually a French national and posing as mandarin: Fé-an-nich-ton is a Parisian chanteuse (kidnapped by Fé-ni-han’s soldiers) and Ké-ki-ka-ko is the Vicomte de Cerisy (shipwrecked, and also taken captive by Fé-ni-han’s soldiers). They sing the praises of France (waltz, duet, and “French” ronde) and each reveals their involvement in the conspiracy. Emperor Fé-ni-han appears, he too is a Frenchman and longs for his homeland. Ko-ko-ri-ko has captured the young couple and demands their execution, to which Fé-ni-han must consent. As they take up their French song one last time Fé-ni-han discovers fellow compatriots and demands their assistance in his escape, on threat of impalement. Ké-ki-ka-ko refuses and sings the revolutionary anthem, the “Ba-ta- clan,” to summon the conspirators. Fé-ni-han cannot resist joining in; his death is imminent. The timely arrival of a letter reveals that, alas, Ko-ko-ri-ko too is a Parisian. He arranges for the escape of his three compatriots via rickshaw relay from Peking to Paris. All sing the “Ba-ta-clan.” The generic opening scene of a comedy will find the protagonist(s) faced with an insoluble problem. In Ba-ta-clan the resolution of this problem (threat of immanent death), rather than propelling the intrigue through to a required happy ending, serves as an intriguing premise that sets the tone of the work and establishes its fantasy reality. Following Aristophanes, the initial predicament is quickly eclipsed by a more pressing problem (ennui for France). This is Shakespeare’s saturnalian style and that of Aristophanes, tracing it to Shakespeare’s involvement in popular theatre and popular holiday traditions, specifically “the way the social form of Elizabethan holidays contributed to the dramatic form of festive comedy,” 4. Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, trans. Helene Iswolsky (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1968) shows the connection between Rabelais and ancient and medieval carnival traditions. For a brief overview of festive comedy that demonstrates the influence of Aristophanes on the festive comedies of Rabelais and Jonson, see Charney, 135-142. 34 followed by increasingly ridiculous complications and revelations but little actual plot development. Developmental devices characteristic of farce, of “repetition, accumulation, and snowballing,” as outlined by Maurice Charney, are present.91 The ending of Ba-ta-clan represents a scenario frequently found in opérette—all “gallop” away jubilantly, destination: Paris. The plot summary also reveals dramatic themes that would quickly become clichés of the genre: a “nonsensical” story set in an unrealistic locale (in this case, also exotic) revolves around a ridiculous twist that in turn sanctions a collaboration allowing a narrow escape and resulting in communal happiness. 92 Flight is as much motivated by homesickness as by the threat of violent atrocities at the hands of an incompetent tyrant-clown. Victimhood, stratified and multivalent, is a characteristic driving element of farce that contributes significantly to the “funny nightmare” effect of many farcical works, and is present in Ba-ta-clan in appropriately ludicrous proportions. 93 Several of the dramatic ingredients satirize common operatic models already seen as cliché themselves: the exotic setting, a conspiracy, a strong military presence, incognito characters, a mysterious letter, the recurrence of a rousing nationalistic chorus, and dramatically questionable turns of plot. An operatic approach to plot development is not only avoided but undermined—it is comically defamiliarized by its many recognizable features that seem ridiculous in the bouffe reality of opérette. 91 Charney, Comedy High and Low, 82-87. 92 A very similar situation is found in Offenbach’s early opérette Oyayaye (1855) and Chabrier’s L’Étoile (1877); both also have exotic “barbaric” settings. 93 For a discussion of victimization as motivating force in farce see, Norman R. Shapiro, “Farce,” in Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, ed. Maurice Charney (Westpoint: Praeger, 2005), 2: 296-313, especially 305 ff. Eugène Labiche’s Un Chapeau de paille d’Italie (Palais-Royal, 1851), a seminal work of the modern tradition of farce, similarly demonstrates a complex of victimizations. 35 The characters who play out this scenario are themselves conceived as types. They function as plot devices, and characterization for its own sake is absent. The classic comic characters of clever servant, young lovers, and pretentious and incompetent doctor who populate the domestic worlds of ancient Greek “New Comedy” and its descendants (i.e. Molière, Marivaux, Labiche, and Feydeau) are avoided in favour of more peculiar types who are nevertheless one-dimensional and incapable of change. Each is dominated by a single feature that is exaggerated to the point of caricature and precludes any subtlety or semblance of human wholeness. The world of Ba-ta-clan, like that of most comedy, is peopled with incomplete humans. 94 The characters are used for what they represent, and are seemingly so named. French satire provides centuries of precedents of comic onomastics—think of Pantagruel, Tartuffe, Candide. These names define their owners and the abstractions they introduce contribute significantly to the “inner logic” of their respective works. The name “Ké-ki-ka-ko,” for instance, caricatures the Chinese language as linguistic nonsense and bears clear scatological implications. The name nevertheless betrays a clear structural rationale: the unchanging velar plosive trips through a string of contrasting vowel sounds, which is underlined visually by hyphenated syllabification. “Fé-ni-han” may at first seem to likewise be a nonsensical “Chinese” mélange of syllables, but the name becomes more meaningful when its phonetic derivation is apprehended: Ko-ko-ri-ko reveals his plan to dethrone the emperor and declares “moi je n’ai d’autre ambition que de prendre ta place, Fé-ni-han, et de fainéantiser vingt-quatre heures par 94 In some opérettes the characters are literally incomplete, as in Offenbach’s Croquefer (1857), where the title character’s menacing hereditary enemy, Mousse-à-mort, is a knight lacking one leg, one arm, one eye, and a tongue. On comic identity and incompleteness, see Andrew Stott, Comedy (New York: Routledge, 2005), 40-61. 36 jour sur tes coussins!” making the play on the word “fainéant” (one given to idleness) explicit.95 “Ko-ko-ri-ko,” on the other hand, is a French patriotic slogan and chauvinistic emblem, itself derived from the crow of the arrogant rooster. Almeida suggests that “Fé-an-nich-ton” might correspond to the expression “faire un micheton,” that is, to pay for a lady’s services.96 Ironically, the predominant personality features of these characters are not in strict alignment with the assigned names as one might expect, in the way that, say, Voltaire’s Candide is candid if nothing else. For instance, there is no indication that Fé-an-nich-ton should be considered as sexually objectified, she is a chanteuse driven by her longing for boulevards of Paris and remains chaste throughout the opérette; Ko-ko-ri-ko is indeed marked by his arrogance, but is the least patriotic of the troupe and opts to remain in Ché-i-no-or instead of returning home with the others; Fé-ni-han certainly is the idle loafer implied by his name, but as we will, see this is hardly his most striking personality feature. Ba-ta-clan begins with a “potpourri” overture. It loosely juxtaposes four sections, two of which are based on tunes from the opérette proper. 97 The libretto divides the action into seven set pieces including various combinations of the four permitted characters. This distribution was typical of the formula of early opérette (five to seven numbers was standard). Also characteristic of the genre, three of the seven numbers are strophic couplets as is the first part of the finale; the 95 “I have no ambition other than to take your place, Fé-ni-han, and to loaf around on your cushions twenty-four hours a day!” This line is spoken in an interposed passage of dialogue in the finale, Ba-ta-clan, ed. Almeida, 125. Halévy similarly “explains” the appearance of a personified Public Opinion in the “prologue” to Orphée aux enfers (see “Qui suis-je?,” opening scene). 96 Ba-ta-clan, ed. Almeida, iii. Steven Huebner has pointed out to me that the term “nichons” is slang for a woman’s breasts. The name “Fé-an-nich-ton” then might be understood as “fée à nichons,” which is also in line with the sexualized function suggested by Almeida. 97 The second section is based on the “Ba-ta-clan” anthem; the fourth anticipates the march heard in opening number. Potpourri overtures were common in the nineteenth-century opéras comiques of Boieldieu, Auber, and Hérold and were standard in all forms of popular French opera of the nineteenth century. 37 opening number, the duo italien (cantabile-cabaletta structure), and the trio bouffe (ternary form) use other simple conventional forms. Melodies and harmonies are generally simple and diatonic, there is a strong preference for major modes and quick tempos, and all but one number are enlivened by catchy dance rhythms. Each number maintains a consistent sentiment and style throughout and avoids “high art” techniques such as chromaticism, virtuosity, developmental procedures, and complex counterpoint; exceptions to this are invariably for humorous effect. 98 Opérette relies heavily on short strophic songs. The majority of these are lighthearted couplets but more sentimental romances also appear regularly. 99 The following structural diagrams of the four strophic numbers of Ba-ta-clan demonstrate a variety of deviations from a melodic template that is commonly encountered in opérette: a strophe comprised of four phrases, typically in four-measure units, organized according to the melodic pattern AABC or AABA’ is followed by a refrain that introduces new melodic material (only the first strophe and refrain are shown in Figure 2). This melodic organization is similar to the so-called “lyric prototype” that frequently governed operatic cantabiles and cabalettas in the mid-nineteenth century. 100 The most straightforward use of the pattern is found in the ronde de Florette, where an A8A8B8A’8+4 strophe is followed by a refrain with contrasting melody (#4; see Figure 2.1c). 98 As Faris has pointed out, Offenbach’s earlier works, limited to three of four singing characters, tended to be more contrapuntal than his later works with larger cast, Faris, 46. 99 Both couplets and romance are carried over from opéra comique. The former is typically a light song in major mode with quick tempo, regular four-measure phrases, and short poetic lines. The latter is typically longer and more serious than couplets; it is more likely to be in the minor mode and to demonstrate flexibility in phrase lengths but typically retains the simple diatonic harmony, syllabic text-setting, and figural accompaniment of the couplets. When chorus is introduced at the couplet refrain, the number is often called ronde. On couplets and romances in Auber’s mid-century opéras comiques, see Longyear, 345-348. 100 On the “lyric prototype” in Verdi’s arias, see Joseph Kerman, “Lyric Form and Flexibility in Simon Boccanegra,” Studi Verdiani 1 (1982), 47-62. As Kerman explains, “Verdi’s lyric prototype is the four-phrase, sixteen-bar pattern a a’ b a” or a a’ b c. The four-bar a and b phrases may themselves be built up out of similar or even identical two- bar members. For purposes of cadential emphasis . . . a coda is added,” 49. In the strophic forms of French light opera, this four-measure prototype is typically followed by a refrain, almost always with contrasting melodic material, rather than a coda. Following Kerman’s example, the subscripts in my discussion refer to phrase lengths, so A4A4B4C4 refers to four phrases of four measures each, the first two of which are based on similar melodic material. 38 The most flexible element is the melodic material of the fourth vocal phrase. AABC and AABA’ should both be considered normative, and AABB is not uncommon. The least usual deviation here is in #3 (Figure 2.1b), which follows an asymmetrical AAAB structure (the static repetitions of the A phrase in the strophe is balanced by the many repetitions of C in the Figure 2.1a. Ba-ta-clan, #2 romance, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain Intro Strophe: A A Refrain: B C 4 4 4 4 4 A+: I - - -I I - - - - - -V7 I - - - - HC I - - - - - - I I - - - - PAC in I in I Figure 2.1b. Ba-ta-clan, #3 duo, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain Intro Str: A A A B Transition Ref.: C C’ C 5 4 4 4 4 7 4 4 4 A+: I - - -V I - - - - - - I I - - V 7 I - - -I I- - HC N6/V - - - - V I - - - - - - V7 V7 - -I I - - V7 in I C’ Codettas 1: C’’ C’’’ C’’ C’’’ 4 4 4 4 4 V7 - - - - I I - - - - - - V7 V7 - - - - - - - - I I - - - - - - V7 V7 - - - I Figure 2.1c. Ba-ta-clan, #4 ronde de Florette, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain Intro Link Str.: A A B A’ Ref.: C C 8 1 8 8 8 8+4 8 10 G+: I - - - - I - - - - I - - - - - - I - - - - - -I vi/V- -V vi/V - -PAC I - - - - - - - - I I - - - PAC on V in I Figure 2.1d. Ba-ta-clan, opening of #7 final, structural diagram of first strophe and refrain Intro Link Str.: A A B B Trans.: C 8+8 3 8 8 8 8 4+ (elided) 4 D+: I - - - - PAC I pedal- I - - - - - -IAC I- - IAC V- -IAC V- -PAC V - - - - - - V in I in I in I in V in V Ref.: C C C C C C 8 8 8 4 + 4 + 4 8 8 I ped - - - - - - - - - - - - - HC V ped - - - I I - - IV V - - PAC in I (no cad.) in I 39 refrain).101 Another variable element is the positioning of the refrain. In #3, #4, and #7 (Figure 2.1b, 2.1c, and 2.1d respectively) we find the standard placement of the refrain after a complete strophe of four phrases. In #3 and #7, a transition precedes the refrain; and in #2 the B and C phrases function as the refrain. In Ba-ta-clan we find refrains that are always based on melodic material that contrasts with the A and B components of the strophe and they are always conceived of in the same size phrase units as the strophe, but vary considerably in the number of repetitions and phrase extensions (called codettas in #3). 102 In every instance Offenbach adheres to rigid four- or eight-measure phrase units with rare isolated deviations that mostly appear in transitional areas. The harmonic structure is also very simple with I and V being used exclusively at cadence points and structural junctures (surface chromaticism is not indicated in the diagrams, but is in any case extremely limited). Local level tonicizations of V occur in each except the romance, while the finale has a brief and simple modulation to V. These forms are simple, square, and repetitive, and as such they preclude the “marriage of text and music” so celebrated in “high” opera. In each of these strophic numbers the music avoids characterization, “emotional” gestures, and subtleties of any sort; the melodies are catchy and memorable, accompaniments figurative, and rhythms propelling to an apparent aesthetic fault. The music jaunts along, comfortable in its “tired and true” formulas, and seemingly oblivious to its text or its dramatic context. Content is subordinated to convention. These musical conventions, like the dramatic and textual ones, work exceedingly well to maintain the momentum and festive spirit of the work. While the libretto appeals to the intellect, the music appeals to the physical body in its (over-)indulgence in dance (emotional appeals are categorically absent). The repetitive, four-square, regularized forms are indeed formulated for the dance, which is the very essence of opérette music. There are two marches, one waltz, and three 101 This song begins a loose cantabile-cabaletta duet. The second strophe has a long extension that leads to a “tempo di mezzo” section, which in turn leads to #4 (cabalette). 102 Such flexibility also characterizes the use of the similar “lyric form” in the ottocento repertory. On this, see, Steven Huebner, “Lyric Form in Ottocento Opera,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 117 (1992), 123-147. 40 galops in Ba-ta-clan; only the Italian duo is not based on dance rhythms but even this number includes a reprise of the dance refrain from the ronde de Florette. This refrain reveals several noteworthy features of the dance music of Ba-ta-clan and is excerpted as Example 2.1 (the only tempo marked in the score is “léger;” when this refrain returns in the duo italien the tempo indicated is allegretto). Perhaps satirizing the unique traditional association of French opera with sung and choreographed dances, most dance gestures in Ba-ta-clan are pure foot-tapping carnivalesque and might be considered crude and vulgar. As we can see from the text “Sautons! Valsons! Dansons! Polkons!” it is not a specific dance and its associations that is invoked but a plurality that exemplifies the aesthetic of excess that informs Second Empire opérette and opéra bouffe. That the first imperative is “sautons” (let’s jump) is indicative of the abstracted Example 2.1. Ba-ta-clan, from #4, ronde de Florette, refrain mm. 46-53. 41 physicality that saturates the work. “Polkons” (let’s polka), even more so, as this “call to action” employs an invented verb. (The music in this number accords with neither of these commands; it is that of the celebratory galop.) The opening mise en scène (quoted in full below) indicates that the characters are to enter en sautillant, en caracolant, that is, hopping and prancing—physicality distilled to its raw ingredients. Dance rhythms invariably underpin the extended passages of “la la la” that typically saturate the librettos of opérettes and opéras bouffes, though are remarkably absent in Ba-ta-clan. These “la la las” operate as a dance-inspired analog to humour-inspired laughter: both are seemingly involuntary, repetitive non-lexical vocal outbursts that necessarily arise when favorable conditions are created: “la la las” result from the joyful surplus of physicality, laughter from the perception of witty or humorous events. Laughter itself (“ha ha ha” or “ah ah ah”) is also found less in Ba-ta-clan than is characteristic of Offenbach’s work at large, but there is sighing aplenty. Opérette “ah ah ahs” are versatile, accompanying a variety of actions such as fainting, swooning, courting, and pining. In Ba-ta-clan these passages appear as structurally inessential transitions and extensions in regularized forms, and are mechanically repeated and comically exaggerated.103 The libretto of Ba-ta-clan repeatedly calls for a more singular physical spasm, this is the “ruade” (kick-like motion) that habitually accompanies Fé-ni-han’s appearances, and it also is associated with a codependent vocalization, the emperor’s “raca” (an ineffective abracadabra-type incantation). All of these physical-vocal couplings take on the quality of involuntary actions, superimposed on the character as demanded by the formula. At the dramatic center of Ba-ta-clan there is another form of physicality. The threat of violence—execution by impalement—darkens the comic barbarism of Ba-ta-clan and contributes an element of grotesque humour to the piece. Barbaric physical atrocity as a source of humour is not uncommon in this repertory, and beatings, particularly of servants, are typical in nineteenth- 103 In #3, the four-measure transition passage (which uses Neapolitan harmony to humorously evoke “sincere” nostalgia) is extended by three measures of “ah” (mm. 26-28), and the second strophe has a long extension (mm. 116-137) based almost entirely on repeated arpeggiations of “ah.” In #6 the opening eight-measure phrase has an extension of four measures that is decorated with comic “coloratura” on the “ah” that leads to an extended flat-VI pedal. 42 century farce.104 These ubiquitous references to the body together with the energizing mechanical repetitions of dance strains constantly detracts from and compensates for the deficiency of dramatic depth and musical richness, demonstrating the superficiality of opérette. In this section I have drawn attention to select components and conventions of Ba-ta-clan to establish a preliminary repertory of generic procedures. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the elements outlined above can be found in more than a few opérettes of the 1850s and 1860s, and together can be said to characterize the genre. It is important to note that none of the procedures that I have mentioned should be considered “new” or unique; they have long histories in French opera and theatre before Hervé and Offenbach appropriated them into opérette. In fact, these elements should largely be considered antiquated formulas; many were ideal objects for satirical exaggeration simply because they were already considered cliché practices of opera. What is unique to opérette is the aesthetic of transgression and excess that results from the manipulation and combination of these “vieux jeux,” which I will now consider in more detail. Ba-ta-clan: Transgressions and Excesses Humorous transgressions are a defining feature of opérette, and indeed of most comic genres. This section will identify characteristic ways in which Offenbach tests aesthetic and social boundaries, with examples drawn from Ba-ta-clan. The challenges posed by the text and music of this opérette are primarily to the traditional aesthetic ideals of French opera. Even before any words are uttered there are numerous indications of this self-conscious opposition: the mise en scène calls for pagodas, a bowl of goldfish, a “pavilion chinois,” and folding chairs to decorate the emperor’s gardens. The fascination of French high culture with oriental objects is evoked by the exotic structures (pagodas and “Chinese” pavilion), but is simultaneously 104 Violence is central to the plots of Offenbach’s Oyayaye, Croquefer, Hervé’s L’Oeil crevé, and of course Chabrier’s L’Étoile, and it is incidental to many “vaudeville-farces” of Labiche and Feydeau. 43 defamiliarized by goldfish and folding chairs, props that would have not been found on officially sanctioned stages. The following instructions preface the opening march: Le Coeur des Conjurés entre en sautillant au son de la marche jouée par l’orchestre; il fait le tour de la scène, et va se ranger au fond du théâtre, toujours en sautillant.—Entre Ko-ko-ri-ko, tenant à la main une énorme lance; il fait également le tour de la scène en sautillant, et va se placer devant le Choeur des Conjurés.— Entre Ké-ki-ka-ko, tenant une paire de cymbales; il se place devant le pliant, à gauche.—Entre Fé-an-nich-ton, tenant à la main un triangle; elle se place devant le pliant, à droite.—Entre Fé-ni-han, portant le chapeau chinois; il s’avance vers le public en caracolant et se place devant les coussins, au milieu de la scène; d’une ruade, Fé-ni-han ordonne à un des Conjurés de le débarasser de son chapeau chinois; d’une autre ruade, il ordonne à Fé-an-nich-ton et à Ké-ki-ka- ko de s’asseoir; puis il s’assied lui-même sur ses coussins.105 In accordance with contemporary illustrations, Almeida’s score describes the “chapeau chinois” as “equipped with a Chinese gong and little bells capable of producing an annoying clatter.”106 Along with the triangle, cymbals, trombone, tambourine, saxhorn, and saxophone, the “chapeau chinois” forms part of the “Chinese” orchestra that accompanies the “Ba-ta-clan” in the finale. The opening text presses the already somewhat ridiculous scenario to the point of utter nonsense, though posing as poetry with regular patterns of rhyme, alliteration, and meter (each couplet is ten syllables): Cloc, clock, moc, mock Cloc, clock, moc mic loc moc! Cric crac cri quo lot Cric crac lo quo tot 105 “The chorus of conspirators enter, hopping to the sound of the march played by the orchestra; they make a tour of the stage and arrange themselves, always hopping.—Enter Ko-ko-ri-ko, carrying an enormous lance, he also makes a tour of the stage, hopping, and places himself in front of the conspirators.—Enter Ké-ki-ka-ko, carrying a pair of cymbals, and takes his position in front of the folding chair, on the left.—Enter Fé-an-nich-ton, carrying a triangle, she takes her place in front of the folding chair on the right.—Enter Fé-ni-han, wearing the Chinese hat; he prances toward the front of the stage and stops in front of the cushions in the middle of the stage. With a kick, Fé-ni-han orders one of the conspirators to remove his hat, with another kick, he orders Fé-an-nich-ton and Ké-ki-ka-ko to sit. He then takes a seat on his cushions.” Halévy, Ba-ta-clan , 1. 106 Ba-ta-clan, ed. Almeida, 6. See poster illustration reproduced in Almeida, x. 44 It is in the context of this chorus of conspirators that the four characters are introduced, their names almost undifferentiable from the pseudo-Chinese vocables: Fé-ni-han! Ké-ki-ka-ko, ploc! Fé-ni-han! Ko-ko-ri-ko! (ki ki ki ki ki ki) The emperor’s name is presented again in the context of “Chinese” gibberish in the galop of the finale where the text reads: Ba-ta-clan! Ra-ta-plan! Fé-ni-han! Fich-ton-khan! (see Example 2.2). As in the “Cloc, clock, moc, mock” chorus (which might sound more like a mockery of English than of Chinese), the words share morphological features (rhyme and syllabification) with the surrounding verbal constructions. Here, the four words also share the semantic condition of fabricated speech that assumes meaning only for its associations. “Fé-ni-han” is now connected Example 2.2. Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” refrain mm. 56-67. 45 morphologically with the onomatopoeic battle-cry “ra-ta-plan” from which derives the “Chinese” version, “Ba-ta-clan.” “Fich-ton-khan” is a phoneticization of the idiom “fiche ton camp” (roughly: “hit the road”).107 So, this seemingly meaningless exclamation could be interpreted to mean: “To arms, to arms!: Fé-ni-han, hit the road.” Ironically, Fé-hi-han himself is singing along, entranced by the irresistible tune. This music itself caricatures the repetitiveness of “ra-ta- plan” numbers frequently encountered in French opera, the examples from Les Huguenots and 107 As discussed in Chapter 3, Chabrier composed five numbers of a “Chinese” opérette under the title Fisch-ton-kan (libretto by Paul Verlaine, 1864) which is based on a “parade chinoise” by Thomas Sauvage and Gabriel de Lurieu (Fich-Tong-Khan, ou L'Orphelin de la Tartarie, Palais-Royal, 1835). The following extract from a weekly journal article that appeared in 1860 demonstrates a similar association of this expression with comic chinoiserie: “Les indigènes du Céleste-Empire ont les usages les plus bizarres, en tout contraires aux nôtres. Ils sont d’abord affablés de noms baroques, tels que: Path-chough-lih, Fich-tong-khan, Kah-kah-oh-lih, et autres appellations aussi burlesques que peu justifiées.” (The indigenous people of the Celestial Empire have the most bizarre customs, quite unlike our own. First, they are weakened by baroque names, such as Patchouli, Fich-ton-camp, Ca-ca-in-bed, and other appellations as burlesque as they are unjustified.) Le Journal pour rire, ou Le Journal amusant 217 (25 February 1860), 2. 46 Donizetti’s then-popular sentimental celebration of military life La Fille du régiment (opéra comique, 1840) being the most immediate points of reference. Example 2.3. Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” strophe, mm. 20-29. 47 In addition to the mocking sinologisms found in Ba-ta-clan, a linguistic indulgence favored by Offenbach is the use of onomatopoeia. Sounds such as “boum boum,” “piff paff,” and “tzing tzing” appear in most of his comic works, and Ba-ta-clan is no exception: non-lexical vocables form the majority of the sung text in the introduction and in the finale. I have already noted the “ra-ta-plan” refrain of the finale, but the strophes also use onomatopoeic sounds. Four- measure phrases of poetic verse alternate with a layered polytextual “refrain”: “ding, ding, ding” represents the bells of the “chapeau chinois;” “ta de ra ta ta ta” is the trumpet call of the “Ba-ta- clan;” and “boum boum boum” lays the bass on the downbeat (see Example 2.3). These words are energized rhythmically and repeated ad infinitum and the characters become sound-emitting objects. More regular lyrics are also submitted to excessive repetition, contravening hallowed tradition. For example, in the duo italien (an instance of the conventional duo bouffe) the opening Italian command “Morto!” is heard no less than twenty-one times in eight measures (see Example 2.4). Example 2.4. Ba-ta-clan, from #5, duo italien, mm. 59-71. 48 49 Another characteristic Offenbachian form of verbal play, though seen in Ba-ta-clan only in spoken dialogue, is the breaking up of words into syllables, sometimes repeating segments to comic effect. 108 The two most celebrated examples are from the 1860s: the chorus of recalcitrant husbands from La Périchole (1868) includes the verse Aux maris ré- Aux maris cal- Aux maris ci- Aux maris trants- Aux maris récalcitrants… and the resulting wordplay in the couplets celebrating the Greek kings in La Belle Hélène (1864) is even more humorous: Je suis l’époux de la reine, -poux de la reine, -poux de la reine, le roi Ménélas! and later Le roi barbu qui s’avance, -bu qui s’avance, -bu qui s’avance, c’est Agamemnon!109 If this flouts accepted standards of language, so too does Ba-ta-clan have a narrative process that is atypical of “high-art” theatrical genres of the period. For instance, it is explicitly stated in various places in the dialogue that the telling of tales is undesirable, but virtually anything is excusable if it serves as a vehicle for indulgence. For example, upon realizing Ké-ki- ka-ko’s French heritage, Fé-an-nich-ton resists hearing his life story: 108 For example Halévy, Ba-ta-clan, 10: Fe-an: Mais il sera gé… Ke-ki: …né… Fe-ni: …reux! 109 The first phrase translates as “I am the queen’s spouse,” but dropping the “é” reduces the phrase to “I am the queen’s louse.” “The bearded king advances” of the second excerpt, becomes a play on the verb “boire” (to drink) when the first syllable of “barbu” is removed. 50 Fé-an-nich-ton: Une histoire… c’est ordinairement bien ennuyeux!... mais une histoire en français!... Je vous écoute… je vous écoute!110 The dialogue that reveals the preposterous origins of the present conspiracy shamelessly privileges entertaining gags over plot and appears only at the end of the work, immediately preceding the finale. It begins: Fé-ni-han: Non! non! rassurez-vous! Je ne vous conterai pas mon histoire! j’arrive droit au dénouement! il est lugubre. 111 The scene that follows draws on wordplay (“Fé-ni-han, le vrai, le seul, l’unique…— L’eunuque!—L’unique…—L’eunuque.—Nique—Nuque”), clichés (“Mes cheveux en ont blanchi!—Vous n’en avez pas—C’est une figure”),112 and shocking imagery (emphasis on Fé-ni- han’s instrument of torture, his impalement stake, which remains very sharp and has now been gold-plated). Finally the explanation for the conspiracy: reigning in complete ignorance of the native language, Fé-ni-han found himself, three months ago, surrounded by an excited crowd; jeers and whistles were directed towards five indigenous men in the front row; quoting the wise Zoroaster (“Dans le doute, empale toujours!”),113 Fé-ni-han had them promptly impaled. These were, it turns out, the most venerated and honorable men of the empire, recommended for national honorifics. Like most of the “events” pertinent to the plot, this episode took place before the piece begins (yet it is revealed at the very end): it provides a colourful background, but the entertaining details are essentially superfluous to the action at hand. In fact, the only dramatic events of the entire piece that do have any bearing on the denouement are the piecemeal 110 “A story! This would usually be very tiresome! But a story in French! I’m listening, I’m listening!” From the dialogue preceding Fé-an-nich-ton’s romance. Halévy, Ba-ta-clan, 2. 111 “No, no, rest assured. I will not recount my story. I will go straight to the denouement, it is lugubrious.” Halévy, Ba-ta-clan, 7. 112 These two phrases translate as: “Fé-ni-han, the true, the only, the unique—The eunuch!—The unique—Eunuch— Nique—Nuch” and “It turned my hair white—you don’t have any hair—it’s an expression.” 113 The correct quote, attributed to Zoroaster, is “Dans le doute, abstiens-toi” (“When in doubt, abstain”). 51 realizations by each of the four characters that the others are French compatriots. This recalls the movement that C.L Barber identifies as basic to Shakespeare’s festive comedies: “from release to clarification.” In Ba-ta-clan, this movement is literalized: revelation supplants plot development, the clarification is not the understanding of nature that Barber observes in Shakespeare (at least not directly), but is the literal clarification of the true identities of the characters. 114 In Ba-ta-clan the first “real” words are not heard until well into the opening number, following 140 measures of chorus and “quatuor chinois.” They are proclaimed by Fé-ni-han as dramatic recitative, and accordingly are in senseless Italian, adding a third language to this already “bilingual” opérette: Fé-ni-han: Axaxo! Tapioca, macaroni, fritura! An easy chuckle is generated with this melodramatic excess, caricaturing the formulaic coloratura displays of Italian opera. But this text does more than provoke a laugh at the histrionic and gastronomic excesses of the Italians: it points to another current in French social life of the mid-nineteenth century and provides an important key to understanding the sensibility of Ba-ta- clan and many other Offenbach works. The macaroni was a well-known type of cosmopolite in late eighteenth-century London associated especially with extravagant hairpieces and affected foreign manners, supposedly acquired while “Grand Touring,” and widely recognized as a precursor to the nineteenth-century Parisian dandy. An embodiment of bourgeois social 114 See Barber, Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy, 6-10. Barber identifies the “release to clarification” formula as the basic structural element in Shakespeare’s festive comedies: “the fundamental method is to shape the loose narrative so that ‘events’ put its persons in the position of festive celebrants: if they do not seek holiday it happens to them,” 6. In terms of the festive atmosphere, characters and audiences demonstrate solidarity in merrymaking, ridiculing inhibitions that are hostile to pleasure as well as to idealism. The mocking of the unnatural that abets the understanding of man’s relationship to nature, which constitutes “clarification,” only incidentally results in satire. The same might be said of Ba-ta-clan, implying that an investigation into the relationship between opérette and social custom might reveal connections beneficial to Offenbach scholarship, especially towards the reassessment of the lingering impression of Offenbach’s works as primarily satirical. 52 aspirations, the macaroni was above all a self-made man. Amelia Rauser has argued that as an object of ridicule but also a desirable exemplar in an age fascinated with character and individualism, the macaroni embodies a fundamental paradox. He was also a popular object of caricature. 115 More germane to Offenbach’s audience, by the 1830s this species had evolved into the post-Brummellian dandy and become a regular feature of the Parisian boulevards. 116 Even before the mid-nineteenth century accounts of Barbey d’Aurevilly and Baudelaire, commentators have stressed issues of refined physical appearance particularly in dress, impassive detachment or reserve, leisurely pursuits, and feigned aristocratic manners—features carried over from the London macaroni—as implicated in the “dandiacal pose” of the mid- nineteenth-century Parisian dandy. 117 Comic variations of the dandy appear in other of Offenbach’s works (Paris in La Belle Hélène, for example). In Ba-ta-clan, the character of Fé-ni- han is the most comprehensive and consistent embodiment of this sensibility, where features of both macaroni and dandy are loosely combined in caricatural proportions. We have already noted the Chinese barbarisms and ludicrous “chapeau chinois” that serve as the affected foreign mannerisms and extravagant “headpiece” definitive of the macaroni character explicitly referenced in the libretto. Other of Fé-ni-han’s behaviours resonate with stock macaroni/dandy expressions, most notably his singular ambiguity in sexual comportment. While interpreted variously as heterosexual, homosexual, or asexual, the macaroni is widely considered to have 115 Amelia Rauser, “Hair, Authenticity, and the Self-Made Macaroni,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 38 (2004), 101- 117. 116 Ba-ta-clan is not the only work of this period to mention the word “macaroni”: the trio italien of M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le… (libretto by Comte de Morny, pseud. “M. de St.-Rémy,” music by Offenbach, 1854) begins with the recitative “Italia la bella, mia bella patria! Bonna pasta frolla… Macaroni buona!,” this is followed by the spoken interjection “Macaroni! … Comme c’est italien!”; Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière indicate that Hervé’s Un Ténor très léger (1855) contains a number titled “Le Macaroni gallant,” 67. 117 See Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Du Dandysme et de G. Brummell (Caen: B. Mancel, 1845); Charles Baudelaire, “The Painter of Modern Life,” in Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Artists, trans. P. E. Charvet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 390-435. 53 self-consciously challenged hegemonic ideals of masculinity, most obviously in his perceived effeminacy. 118 Indeed, Fé-ni-han’s conduct is irreconcilable with conventional notions of masculinity. For example, upon entry, he executes his ruade. This kick is more than a nervous tic, it is a mode of communication for the emperor, as the stage directions indicate: “D’une ruade, Fé-ni-han ordonne à un des Conjurés de la débarasser de son chapeau chinois; d’une autre ruade, il ordonne a Fé-an-nich-ton et a Ké-ki-ka-ko de s’asseoir…”119 When combined with the “raca” command, his kick brings magical powers, but, as he despairs in the dialogue preceding the “Morto! Morto!” duet, these powers are failing him in his darkest hour: “La foudre est sur ma tête, et je vais être privé du secours de mon talisman: Raca! Ces deux syllables et ma ruade magique, mon salut, ma force, mon espérance perdent leur influence sur l’imagination de mon peuple!”120 Together with the clamour of his gong-hat, the raca-ruade talisman are his best defense against sedition. At one point he is seen blowing kisses to his goldfish, a call to “unmanliness” by any standard.121 Fé-ni-han also displays the idleness characteristic of the dandy. We should recall that his name, a near homophone to the French noun “fainéant,” defines him as a loafer. He falls asleep on his cushions at various times in the piece. This leisurely attitude, like his effeminate gestures, is humorously exaggerated. His inattention to his responsibilities as emperor renders him so ineffective that he cannot even communicate with his subjects. Together with the misquotation of Zoroaster that he selected as the basis for his imperial ideology, this forms the motivation for the 118 Rauser, 106-107. 119 “With a kick, Fé-ni-han orders one of the conspirators to remove his hat, with another kick, he orders Fé-an-nich- ton and Ké-ki-ka-ko to sit…” Halévy, Ba-ta-clan, 1. 120 “The thunderbolt hangs over my head, and I will be deprived of the security of my talisman: Raca! These two syllables together with my magical ruade, my salute, my force, my hope lose their power over the imagination of my people.” Halevy, Ba-ta-clan, 5. 121 Ibid., 6. 54 revolution at the dramatic core of the piece. The resulting mockery of governmental logic makes a common approach in Offenbach scholarship easily available—these works are often read as satirizing the Second Empire of Napoleon III—but the satire is in this case not an end in itself but a by-product of the dandy’s signature refusal to work hyperbolized. In the same passage that narrates the tale of the pre-revolutionary impalement, we learn that Fé-ni-han was not, in fact, this creature’s name at birth: he was born Anastase Nourrisson. Again the name reveals the character: literally “nursling,” eternally dependent, naive. The name was given to him, along with his chapeau, raca, and goldfish when he was brought before the “real” Fé-ni-han and forced to inherit the empire.122 Abhorrent to the dandy/macaroni sensibility, his identity is literally foreclosed. All of his affects—macaronic, dandiacal, and otherwise—were imposed from without, the inverse of the self-made man and inauthenticity in the extreme. Fé-ni- han is wholly artificial, a replica, even, or especially, in his most singular of ways, thus embodying the fundamental paradox of the dandy as unique but reproducible. 123 This artificiality is underlined by the systemic projection of the cliché incognito condition. None of the characters in Ba-ta-clan is who he or she seems to be: all are lapsed Parisians in mandarin dress. Audiences would have identified with the posturings of this fashionable type (overdressed, aloof, effeminate, aristocratic in bearing), but this is not the only source of rapprochement to the world of Ba-ta-clan. The piece repeatedly cites landmarks and current events—references to the rue Mouffetard, the chausée d’Antin, a novel by Paul de Kock, the journal La Patrie, the café La Maison Dorée, the dance hall Le Bal Mabille, the operas Les Huguenots and La Juive, the vaudeville adaptation of La Dame aux camélias, Boule furniture, 122 Ibid., 7-8. 123 Rhonda K. Garelick identifies a confusion of reality and fiction at the root of dandyism. Garelick, Rising Star: Dandyism, Gender, and Performance in the fin de siècle (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998), 6-11. Much of this study focuses on the concept of reproduction, especially pertinent to dandyism in the age of mass culture and the “decadent dandyism” of late nineteenth century. 55 the newly-invented saxophone are scattered throughout the libretto. By infusing the opérette with the sights and sounds of Paris the audience is invited into the fictional world of Ba-ta-clan. This world becomes fused with their own, and the boundary of the self-contained artwork is breached. The text of the trio bouffe makes the conflation of the two worlds explicit: “Je suis français, il est français! Eh oui, nous sommes tous français.” Addressing the audience directly, or removing the “fourth wall,” is common in opérette¸ especially in the form of sung “Je suis…” introductions.124 In Ba-ta-clan this functions together with topical contemporality to acquire audience complicity in the transgressions performed by the opérette against accepted standards of art, language, dress, and gender identity. Ba-ta-clan: Musical Humour Although conceived very differently, the music of Ba-ta-clan undermines aesthetic ideals as overtly as does the text. In the libretto we find traditional gestures replaced with comic antics that are uniquely formulated and explicitly topical, standards of taste and autonomy are systematically violated. As already indicated, the music embraces old formulas to a degree that could be interpreted as insultingly conformist. Instead of musical portraiture and dramma per musica, which are as antithetical to opérette as they are championed in opera, the music operates largely as a generalized and neutralizing parallel to the libretto. In direct contrast to the idealized “marriage of text and music” of art, the two are more likely to exhibit a relationship approaching mutual obliviousness. 124 These unabashedly histrionic introductions destroy any semblance of verisimilitude and are ubiquitous in pre- 1870 opérette and opéra bouffe. For example, in Orphée aux enfers we find arias begining “Moi, je suis Aristée” and the closely related “Quand j’étais roi de Béotie,” the second act opens with an ensemble containing sections beginning “Je suis Cupidon” and “Je suis Vénus.” The first words uttered in the work, as mentioned above, are “Qui suis-je?” 56 There is one example of musical humour as “against the rules” that plays directly to this insensitive text-music relationship—Offenbach’s signature “bad prosody.”125 The first instance of sung French lyrics demonstrates text setting that is awkward enough to be considered intentional, a mockery of a hallowed tradition that dates back to Lully’s artfully sculpted récitatives, in operatic terms, and the protectionism that the French are known to exhibit towards their linguistic heritage, in general (see Example 2.5). The eighth-note passages stress inappropriate syllables by putting them on the beat, resulting in an apparently arbitrary approach to text setting: the trochaic setting of “j’étais aimable” is in direct conflict with the French accent tonique, and most of the naturally stressed syllables are placed on off-beats. 126 The prolonged second syllable of “jadis” (once, or formerly) is unexpected in purely musical terms after the steady eighth-note pattern of the introduction and the first vocal phrase, and the agogic accent emphasizes the awkward unidirectional “run and jump” normally avoided as inelegant. The highest pitch coming at the end of the musical unit gives the effect of an expectant question mark. All of this plays into the semantic illogicality of setting the words “and once” at the end of a phrase. The corresponding event in the next phrase is even more pronounced: “mes beaux yeux . . . me donnant.” 125 In one of the only rigorous musical analyses published that addresses the repertory of “light opera,” Robert Fink (though not focusing on the production of humour) identifies “original” prosody as a valuable characteristic of Sullivan’s musical setting of Gilbertian lyrics. He concludes that, “‘good declamation’ . . . is by no means a clear-cut virtue . . . it is not the adaptable ‘suppleness’ of Sullivan’s rhythm but rather its stubborn resistance to stock poetic meters that creates settings of memorable and lasting worth.” Fink, “Rhythm and Text Setting in The Mikado,” 19th- Century Music 14 (1990), 46. 126 Offenbach could have set the e muets of “aimable” and “jeune,” as was customary in French vocal music, and achieved twelve-syllable lines of classic alexandrines (though the accent patterns are incorrect), but opted instead for asymmetrical hendecasyllabic phrases. 57 Example 2.5. Ba-ta-clan, from #2, romance, mm. 4-12. 58 Opérette texts can be manhandled even more abruptly. Textual units are sometimes treated like musical motives, subjected to techniques such as fragmentation, repetition, and augmentation. Instances of text repetition and words fragmented into syllables have already been cited. As unsurprising as it is to find vowel sounds elaborated by melismas and roulades in vocal music of all genres, the guttural r, that most stereotyped of French sounds, is an extremely unlikely phoneme for elongation, yet the duo italien finds Fé-ni-han and Ko-ko-ri-ko facing off to the sounds of “Rrrrrrrrraca!” and “Morrrrrrrrto!” (see Example 2.6). Example 2.6. Ba-ta-clan, from #5, duo italien, mm. 31-33. At times, the voice is treated like an orchestral instrument. Numerous examples can be found in this work but the most prominent is Ké-ki-ka-ko’s trumpet fanfare in the “Ba-ta-clan” anthem (also known as the “Chinese marseillaise,” see Example 2.7).127 After four statements of the fanfare head motive he sings a continuation phrase in extremely high register (see m. 75; this is marked falsetto in Almeida’s score), the tenor voice is now twice removed from its “natural” 127 I have added measure numbers in square brackets to several of the musical examples in this dissertation, some examples also include annotations; these editorial markings are for the convenience of the reader and do not appear in the original printed scores. 59 condition. Virtuosic effects are usually used for humorous ends in opérette and an example from later in the finale is humorous specifically for the gratuitousness of the virtuosity (see Example Example 2.7. Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” mm. 62-82. 60 2.8). In melodramatic anticipation of the reading of the deus ex machina letter, the soprano delivers the inevitable coloratura cadenza on the grand pause. This is followed by Ké-ki-ka-ko’s own display of technical bravura (the histrionic phrase “destin fatal, fatal, fatal” also close to the 61 Example 2.8. Ba-ta-clan, from #7, final, m. 304-308. 62 world of serious opera), and Fé-ni-han, “grand idiot” (as he is addressed in said letter), sputters pathetically to exhaustion attempting to show up his rival. These types of surface level gestures can be found in strophic numbers and in the more complex structures of opérette. The non-strophic numbers, however, tend to be more thoroughly humorous and to manipulate borrowed material or established convention through travesty and caricature (satirical transformation and satirical imitation respectively), the most common forms of larger-scale musical humour. 128 Material is obviously appropriated, and the inherent incongruity of “high art” objects found in a popular context is supplemented by a maximum misalignment between the borrowed material and its musical or dramatic surroundings. The “Morto, morto” duet, for example, is a satirical imitation of a bel canto duet. The Italian text makes the Italian model explicit; the repetition of barbarous words declares the humorous intent: “Morto, morto! Poignardato! Étranglato! Déchirato! Morcellato! Empallato!” As in caricature, 128 Often referred to as “parody,” satirical imitation is what Genette more precisely calls caricature, see Gérard Genette, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, trans. Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 25 and 89-98. On travesty, which Genette defines as satirical transformation, see, 25 and 56-73. 63 select identifying features of the model are singled out and exaggerated: the obvious butts of the bel canto aria or duet are the repetitive text and its vivid imagery, and the decorated lyricism. Other fundamental elements are preserved, such as the regularized accompaniment patterns and the formulaic four-movement structure (tempo d’attacco dialogue; dramatically static cantabile; startling revelation in tempo di mezzo; new perspective for fast cabalette). Exaggerating features characteristic of bel canto opera speaks to the perceived excesses of the melodramatic style, itself viewed as unnatural to French audiences who distinctly valued “precision, simplicity, clarity.” As bel canto opera was a favourite object of ridicule for opérette composers, so too were the major German operas and French grands opéras, particularly those of Meyerbeer. The more successful and pompous the better, which made Meyerbeer’s 1836 blockbuster Les Huguenots an especially susceptible target. In the Ba-ta-clan finale, Fé-ni-han, facing immanent assassination, opts to die “comme dans Les Huguenots.” Over a leading-tone tremolo Fé-ni-han et al. fall to their knees for an in-full-earnest statement of the “Ein’ feste Burg” chorale, a quote of the harmonized chorale as heard Huguenots Act 5, scene iii (melody, rhythm, and vocal texture are reproduced exactly, an adjustment to the harmony is made at the end of each four-measure statement to allow for the “ta ta ta” continuation in the Ba-ta-clan example; compare Examples 2.9a, m. 280ff. and 2.9b). 129 The noisy ruckus of the finale is brought to a temporary halt by this moment of “high drama,” but an abrupt return of the “Ba-ta-clan” fanfare jolts the listener back to the world of low comedy. One familiar rallying cry rubs against another as the phrases of the chorale are interspersed with phrases of the “Chinese marseillaise.” The humour does not result from manipulations of these materials for they are quoted directly and with the vocal parts in 129 Example 2.9b is reproduced from Giacomo Meyerbeer, Les Huguenots: opéra en cinq actes (Paris: Brandus, c. 1860). 64 simple unison, but from the unusual relationships that they hold with each other and with their musical and dramatic surroundings. Both of these melodies are quotations of quotations, and bring complex intertextual associations. “Ein’ feste Burg” was an emblem of Protestant solidarity long before Meyerbeer gave it a central symbolic role in the greatest operatic success of the nineteenth-century French stage. The opening phrase instantly evokes notions of religion, French political history, mass murder, and also the artistic legitimacy of the grand opéra tradition. The “Ba-ta-clan” fanfare, while its “ta ta ta” gunfire imitation cleverly points to the gunfire also heard in the Act 5 finale of Huguenots, represents the ridiculous un-Chinese sounding conspirators hovering murderously nearby and is emblematic of their saturnalian world. In purely musical terms, the stately and dignified chorale (see mm. 280-283 and 285- 288), with its forte declamation, stepwise melodic profile, tremolo accompaniment, and changing harmonies, offers a complete contrast to the perky sixteenth-note arpeggiations with march accompaniment delivered piano over an unchanging tonic harmony, with which they are juxtaposed (see mm. 283-284 and 289- 290). The two phrases are interlocked by elision and harmonic continuation and are repeated sequentially as a unit, ratcheted up with mechanical inevitability and increasing in “suspense” with every step. Three repetitions and the “machine” is brought down with the abrupt appearance of what might be the most clichéd prop of comic theatre, the unexpected letter. This episode is as quickly brought on as it is forgotten, for immediately before Fé-ni-han calls up the model of Les Huguenots he is to be found scurrying around to the cowardly strains “A ma mort, je le sens, non, non, non, non, non, non, je ne survivrai pas!” (see Example 2.9a, mm. 256-264). The verisimilitude of this frantic scampering is broken with an overt declaration of the appropriation of an old model: the patterns required of 65 Example 2.9a. Ba-ta-clan, from #7, “Le Ba-ta-clan,” mm. 256-290. 66 67 68 Example 2.9b. Les Huguenots, from Act 5, scene iii, “Ein’ feste Burg” chorale. 69 humour are established with calculated illogicality and broken unexpectedly, but utmost transparency is always maintained. A more singular instance of musical humour is found in the quatuor chinois episode of the opening number. This number derives its main punch from the playful undermining of established patterns. An extended introduction gradually introduces a series of contrasting ostinatos (Example 2.10). The repeated staccato dominant (V 4/2 ) gives a rhythmic energy and harmonic suspense to the passage; the two-measure vocal unit is humorous as artless nonsense and forms the basis of an ostinato that is subject to increasingly ludicrous “ornamentation” (oscillations around the dominant triad). The first three entries of this vocal unit are punctuated with high-register triangle chirps, and in measure 234 a descending woodwind arpeggio, always on dominant harmony, enters the pattern. By measures 239-240 the accumulating patterns reach maximum density. Process (towards saturation) appears retrospectively to have been an end in 70 itself for by measure 245 the texture dissolves down to a single sustained pitch. This leads to the quartet proper where, essentially, the same process is repeated in protracted form and with new materials. Systematically, ostinatos accumulate piecemeal, “snowballing” in controlled four- measure chunks into a ludicrous cacophony. A single-measure accompaniment pattern (march topic) is repeated throughout the quartet proper. Ké-ki-ka-ko enters with a four-measure pattern made up of one-measure cells that match Fé-an-nich-ton’s opening vocalise exactly in pitch and contour. His second statement forms a counterpoint to Fé-ni-han’s entry, a jaunty dance tune, also four measures (the use of triplets in the first clashes with the eighth notes in the second). Similarly, Fé-an-nich-ton and Ko-ko-ri-ko enter with a bombastic bass-line and a lyrical ornamented melody respectively. Example 2.11 is an excerpt from the end of this section. At measure 272 all four characters restate their ostinatos (Fé-an-nich-ton’s is a variation of her original phrase) and the humour of the unusually high density and marked contrast between the voices is evident. The incompatibility of the contrasting musical topics is underscored by incompatible texts, each character is limited to a different vowel sound (“Ma-xa-la cha-la-xa”/ “Ri-bi-xi midississi”/ “Tur-nus-sus-su pu-nug ussu”/ “Mo-lo to-to do do do”). Offenbach again caricatures the rational discourse of language and exposes its materiality. The mutual exclusivity of the different sounds systematically constrains the characters and allows this moment to literalize the incommunicability on which farce depends. 71 Example 2.10. Ba-ta-clan, from #1, quatuor chinois from marche, choeur, et quatuor chinois, mm. 225-245. 72 Example 2.11. Ba-ta-clan, from #1, quatuor chinois from marche, choeur, et quatuor chinois, mm. 270-281. 73 74 Where to go after such a climax? What continuation would do justice to this contrapuntal “tour de force”? A brief extension (mm. 276-277) leads to the inevitable and the homorhythmic galop emerges (m. 278), as completely unexpected as it might be in the context. The arrival of the galop, the very signature of opérette, brings epiphany. 130 Dance epitomizes the human drive and subjugates the mechanical. The exotic, better to say strange, becomes familiar. The process is akin to anthropomorphization and through it two future developments are foreshadowed. First, these “mandarins” are exposed as French, for who but the French would succumb so irresistibly to the suggestion of a galop? And secondly, we get an isolated glimpse into Fé-ni-han’s true character. It was he, after all, who first suggested this dance tune and this galop is merely a melodic variation of his four-measure subject. It is now taken up by the entire ensemble as if under hypnosis. Fé-ni-han’s secret is revealed; he is the unwitting comic mastermind, the archetypal “winner who looks like a loser,” whose eventual escape from his own stupidity is not the result of sheer luck that is appears, but the blessed invulnerability of universal comic heroism. Maurice Charney begins his classic book Comedy High and Low by identifying comedy as rhetorical, as “an art of persuasion, that tries to move its audience to laughter.”131 A rhetoric of comedy implies a paradox that lies at the heart of any humorous effort: to provoke laughter is to deliberately bring about an involuntary, non-rational reaction. 132 Comic theatre achieves and 130 On the origins and musical characteristics of the galop, see, Andrew Lamb, "Galop," in Grove Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com (accessed 9 May 2011). 131 Charney, Comedy High and Low, 9. 132 For more on this, in the context of an informative and concise discussion of comedy and its dramatic elements, see Charney, “Introduction,” in Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, ed. Charney, 1-8. 75 sustains comic momentum through the inventive combination of various established devices; it maximizes the creative potential of its constraints. These constraints (verbal, structural, characterological) are remarkably familiar and are transparently incorporated. Differences in emphasis and degree distinguish different genres of comedy, and the uniqueness and success of any given work is a result of the author’s creative approach to the stock elements. In the best comedies, one pleasingly unexpected spin on a familiar formula follows another, while a unifying aesthetic maintains generic coherence. The bêtises and banalités of Ba-ta-clan are endemic to early opérette, and their purpose, to bring about le fou rire, is rhetorical. The twists and gags are underscored by a rationality that is inevitably pressed to absurd extremes. Conventional procedures from official opera and from “low” comedy are manipulated to humorously push the limits of taste and propriety. The excesses of the libretto (verbal, semantic, topical) are justified by the comic end; the humour, particularly its most pointed and vulgar gestures, is glossed over by the calculated rationality of highly stylized music, with which it exists in a quasi-tangential relationship. The music brings its own self-contained festivity, its invulnerable formulas and its repetitive dance patterns work together to ascertain the acquiescence of the text and of the audience. Hervé, Offenbach, and opéra bouffe Hervé is the stage name of one self-styled “compositeur toqué,” who for a time also worked as an organist under his real name, Florimond Ronger. 133 Opérette lore accepts Hervé as the true “father” of the genre, but his success was quickly eclipsed by that of Offenbach. Hervé made a comeback in the late 1860s by following Offenbach’s model of the three-act opéra 133 Le Compositeur toqué is the title of an early one-act “bouffonerie musicale” by Hervé (1854); the familiar term “toqué” translates roughly as “crazy.” Hervé also worked under the pseudonyms of Jules Brémont, Louis Heffer, and Alcindor, see Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière, 71-72 and 119-120. 76 bouffe, just as Offenbach had built on Hervé’s one-act model in the 1850s.134 By the late 1860s Offenbach’s popularity was beginning to decline, a development exacerbated by the romantic tendencies that began to infiltrate his works beginning with La Périchole of 1868. 135 Strategically timed premieres of three Hervé works would rejuvenate the career of this singular composer (and librettist, actor, conductor, and director): L’Oeil crevé (Folies-Dramatiques, 1868) opened six months to the day after Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein premiered at the Variétés; Chilpéric (Folies-Dramatiques, 1868) within three weeks of La Périchole; and Le Petit Faust (Folies-Dramatiques, 1869) less than two months after Gounod’s expanded Faust opened at the Opéra. Despite the enormous popular success of these works in Paris and abroad, Hervé has remained an obscure figure in musicological discussions of opérette, typically consigned as an amusing curiosity to parenthetical comments, and his music remains even more neglected than Offenbach’s.136 To a large degree, opéra bouffe was an enlargement of comic opérette into three acts. It was enormously popular in the years following theatre deregulation of 1864, playing at various theatres in Paris, most notably Offenbach’s Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens. Generically it shared many conventions and aesthetic qualities with opérette: stereotyped characters and scenarios, strophic couplets, patter in rapid tempi, and dance forms were combined to create an atmosphere 134 With over 100 works each, both Offenbach and Hervé were highly prolific, and lacking official recognition and governmental subsidy, their efforts were necessarily entrepreneurial. Both were constantly concerned with publicity and financial support, took on roles other than composer and conductor, led troupes on international tours while still on the boards of Paris theatres, and benefited from their association with celebrated female actor-singers. The infamous Hortense Schneider worked intermittently with Offenbach from 1855 (Les Violoneux) until 1868 (La Périchole). He brought Zulma Bouffar to Paris in 1864 upon discovering her in Hamburg. Headlining in La Vie parisienne and Les Brigands, she would star in his shows until 1875. Likewise, Hervé attracted attention with Blanche d’Antigny’s saucy presence in his Chilpéric and Le Petit Faust (she would be the inspiration for Zola’s Nana), and he was later associated with Anna Judic, the resident soprano of the Variétés; Traubner, 22, 23, 25. 135 Gammond, 96. 136 I am aware of one major study completed to date on the works of Hervé, Pascal Blanchet’s recent dissertation, “La contribution de Florimond Ronger, dit Hervé au développement de l’opérette (1848-1870): éléments biographiques et mécanismes du comique” (Ph.D. diss., Université de Montréal, 2010). I have been unable to consult this document as of the time of this writing. 77 of unpretentious festivity and bouffe hilarity. Profanation of the revered continued to be a dominant goal of the humour. Manipulation of borrowed operatic materials is supplemented with topical references to current socio-political events and to institutions that are sometimes generalized (bourgeois values, military “intelligence”) and sometimes very precise (the Champs- Élysées, Napoleon III), but are rarely entirely absent. Likewise ubiquitous are comic superficialities of farce such as violence, miscommunication, disguise, and word play. The opéras bouffes of Hervé and Offenbach were usually in three acts, and the librettists typically worked in teams (except when Hervé wrote his own librettos, a situation more common for his one-act works). The genre was more standardized than the relatively experimental opérettes, which is reflected in more consistent generic labeling. Early published scores of Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène, La Grande-Duchesse, La Périchole, and La Vie parisienne and Hervé’s L’Oeil crevé, Chilpéric, and Le Petit Faust all indicate opéra bouffe as their genre. There are pronounced contrasts between the styles of Offenbach and Hervé. In general, Offenbach’s spectacles de bon goût are almost benignly amusing relative to Hervé’s wild and risqué inanities. Hervé’s librettos often contain familiar and vulgar expressions, and dialogues demonstrate, in Richard Traubner’s words, a “genial unstructuredness” and the use of non- sequiturs and other “absurd” verbal techniques possibly anticipate modern theatrical procedures. 137 The humour is more connected to current events, which might partially explain the shorter lifespan of these works. Hervé’s music is less operatic than Offenbach’s and is arguably less polished. His extended musical numbers follow comparatively simple structural designs. His treatment of borrowed material will be discussed in greater detail in the sections that follow, but in general it is broader and less cleverly incorporated than is Offenbach’s. The bêtises 137 Ibid., 22. 78 of Ba-ta-clan were considerably toned down in Offenbach’s big pieces of the 1860s, and by the time of Duchesse one might say that Offenbach has lost his bouffe “edge.” But even Ba-ta-clan seems domesticated and sexless compared to the outlandishness found in Hervé’s work. These basic differences support the suggestion that the two composers, while both writing opéras bouffes in the 1860s, approached the genre from distinct generic perspectives. Offenbach consciously sought a connection with the opéra comique tradition and the legitimacy it bestowed. Before the seminal year of 1855, Offenbach attached the term opéra comique to the majority of his works, 138 and he strove throughout his career for a success at the Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique. The most explicit statement of this self-conscious affiliation is found in an article that Offenbach published early in his career. In the 20 July 1856 issue of Le Revue et gazette musicale de Paris, he announced that the Bouffes would be holding a competition for a one-act opérette, open to young composers of France. 139 The conditions of the competition are prefaced with a 1500-word “manifestorial” essay that provides a mini-history of opéra comique and clearly outlines his vision of the new genre: “Le théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens veut essayer de ressuciter le genre primitif et vrai [de l’opéra-comique].”140 Offenbach laments the denaturing 138 See “List of Works” in Faris, 236-251. Faris has compiled the details of the stage works from vocal scores. As noted previously, inconsistent usage of terms between scores, librettos, affiches, and régistres complicate considerations of genre in this repertory. Disparities can be found between Faris’s list of works and the catalogue found in Andrew Lamb, "Offenbach, Jacques," in Grove Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com (accessed August 18, 2009). 139 Le Revue et gazette musicale de Paris, 20 July 1856; reprinted in Le Ménéstrel, 27 July 1856. 140 “The Bouffes-Parisiens wishes to try to revive the true original genre [of opéra comique].” The passage continues, as translated in Faris, 56-57: “Our very license puts us under an obligation to do so. So far we have concentrated on keeping to this idea, but we feel that our efforts should go further. Without any pretensions, still working in a modest and limited sphere, we think we can do a great service to art and artist. We have had some success in reviving the form of the musical sketches of the old opéra-comique and the kind of farce that produced the theatre of Cimarosa and the first Italian masters. We intend, not only to go on with this, but also to mine the inexhaustible vein of French gaiety of the past. Our only ambition is to ‘write short’, but if you think about it for a moment that is no mean ambition. In an opera that lasts barely three quarters of an hour, where one may only have four characters on stage, and an orchestra of thirty musicians at most, the ideas and melodies have to be in hard cash. Note, too, that with this restricted orchestra—which was after all enough for Mozart and Cimarosa—it is very difficult to conceal the mistakes and lack of experience which would be covered up in an orchestra of eighty musicians. 79 of the genre’s purity, simplicity, and wit through complexities and pomposities inflicted at the behest of public taste. Evoking the authority of the hallowed tradition, and publicly acknowledging his debt, he clearly positions himself as its saviour, as the custodian of the “genre éminemment français.”141 Hervé, for his part, developed his art on more popular foundations. The physical location of his theatre on the boulevard du Temple (number 41) alone testifies to this. Popularly known as the “boulevard du crime,” the theatre district around Temple was then the favoured destination for bourgeois theatregoers in search of vicarious slumming. 142 Jean-Claude Yon reports that within two months of opening, Hervé’s Folies-Nouvelles had become a very fashionable success. 143 The rowdy patrons, lubricated with “sucres d’orge à l’absinthe” served in the lobby café, were a mixture of high society and demi-mondains. The name of his theatre also indicates popular roots: it was originally named Les Folies-Concertantes, and later, Les Folies-Nouvelles. The term “folies” can also be found in Hervé’s titles and subtitles, for example Les Folies dramatiques (1853) is a “vaudeville,” and Un Drame en 1779 (1855), a “folie musicale.”144 John Far be it from us to be reactionary or to disparage new techniques. We do not say that looking back to the past is the last word in progress; but, granted that the genre we are developing under the licence of the Bouffes-Parisiens is only the first step on the ladder, there still has to be a first step if we are to climb any higher. The present demands of opéra-comique can easily put a young composer under a strain; one has to be a writer of experience to attempt a three-act work without tripping up. With rare exceptions no one can do it successfully until his talent has matured.” 141 In a valuable recent contribution to Offenabach scholarship, Mark Everist chronicles Offenbach’s appropriation of music of the “long eighteenth century as one of several strategies . . . for the aesthetic positioning of his Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens.” Everist, “Jacques Offenbach: The Music of the Past and thte Image of the Present,” in Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830-1914, eds. Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 97. 142 For more on the boulevard du Temple and its romanticization, see McCormick, 14-16. 143 Yon, “La création du théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens,” 577-578. For more on Hervé’s theatres of the 1850s, see note 73, above. 144 See catalogue of works in Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière, 196-199. 80 McCormick, in his book Popular Theatres of Nineteenth-Century France, equates “folies” with the genre of “vaudeville-farce.”145 Vaudeville also appears in the catalogue of Hervé’s works,146 particularly at the beginning of his career (his first dramatic piece, L’Ours et le pacha, after Scribe, is termed “vaudeville musicale”) and again at the end (a series of successful “vaudeville-opérettes” beginning in 1879, which includes his most enduring work, Mam’zelle Nitouche).147 By the 1850s one branch of vaudeville had already begun its upward trajectory towards the respectability of literary art. Labiche’s Le Chapeau de paille d’Italie of 1851 is considered a masterpiece of mid-century “vaudeville de movement,” combining elements of the “well-made play” with farce, at dizzying speed; its author was held in high enough esteem to be the first “farceur” elected to the Académie française in 1880. McCormick recounts Théophile Gautier’s complaint that in 1842 it was “necessary to go to the smaller theatres such as the Folies- Dramatiques, the Délassements-Comiques or even the Petit Lazari” to find vaudevilles of the original and simple cast. 148 It is worth noting that it was at the Folies-Dramatiques that Hervé had had his big works of the 1860s premiered, and that he had been conductor at the Délassements-Comiques from 1859-1862. “Pantomime” is another term associated with popular entertainment, being one of the genres routinely named on the licenses of secondary theatres following the decree of 1807. It also appears twenty-six times in Hervé’s work (all dating from the period 1854-56) as opposed to only three times in Offenbach’s (in all three of these instances the works bear a commedia 145 McCormick, 120. 146 In contrast to Hervé, the term “folie” is never found in the catalogue of Offenbach’s works and “vaudeville” is associated only with one very early essay, Pascal et Chambord of 1839; Faris, 236-251. 147 These works are indicated as “comédie-opérette” in Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière’s appendix, but the two terms are described as interchangeable in the text, see 145. 148 McCormick, 131. 81 dell’arte theme).149 McCormick describes pantomime as a genre that was especially volatile and difficult to define, but always included dumbshow accompanied by music. These types of shows were seen in the fairgrounds and at the secondary theatres in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It lost its independence as a genre over the course of the nineteenth century as it was incorporated into other forms, most notably melodrama, which was also a decidedly popular form of entertainment. 150 Hervé and Intertextual Humour: Le Petit Faust as Burlesque To “burlesque” is to treat an exalted subject with low or trivial means, or vice versa.151 Burlesque tropes are fundamental to the humorous intertextuality of Hervé’s aesthetic: Chilpéric, for instance, is a broad debasement of medieval literature and society; L’Oeil crevé burlesques, among other things, elements of Guillaume Tell and Der Freischütz. It is a method of approaching an object or a mode of discourse, but it is also a theatrical genre. It is described as such in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera: a genre of light theatrical entertainment with music, common on the English stage especially in the 19th century. It involved the treatment of a familiar and usually serious subject in which the general spirit of the model was retained but distorted for comic effect, reducing historical, legendary or classical character and situation 149 McCormick, 138. Faris reproduces a portion of the conditions of Offenbach’s license for the original Bouffes. Seven categories of entertainments were permitted, the first reads “Pantomime harlequinades with five characters,” 50. Hervé’s license at the Folies-Concertantes likewise permitted pantomime, see Yon, “La Creation du Théâtre,” 577. 150 McCormick, 134-147. 151 This definition of the term is consistent with that found in The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 3 rd ed, ed. Chris Baldick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). The entry for “burlesque” begins: “A kind of parody that ridicules some serious literary work either by treating its solemn subject in an undignified style, or by applying its elevated style to a trivial subject…” The term is used with some fluidity in literary and musicological writings. Some use the term more specifically, indicating “burlesque” as a type of parody, and “travesty” is the specific sub-type of burlesque germane to Hervé’s work: The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms specifies travesty as “a mockingly undignified or trivializing treatment of a dignified subject, usually as a kind of parody. Travesty may be distinguished from the mock epic and other kinds of burlesque in that it treats a solemn subject frivolously, while they treat frivolous subjects with mock solemnity.” Genette avoids the ambiguity by distinguishing “burlesque travesty” from other types such as “modern travesty;” see Genette, Palimpsests, 21-24 and 56-72. 82 to the level of commonplace modern life... But whereas pantomime most often took its subject matter from stories familiar to children … burlesque tended to employ more elevated and serious models… Among the objects of ridicule were the conventions of serious theatre and melodrama. Burlesques followed the appearance of virtually every major opera. 152 Hervé’s Le Petit Faust is this type of theatrical burlesque. The work is somewhat atypical in the repertory of French opérette and opéra bouffe in its “massive and explicit” dependency on a single hypotext. This singularity makes it suitable as an introduction to Hervé’s style and characteristic procedures: because its most obvious references remain familiar today it will be easier to see how Hervé’s work is informed by intertextuality.153 Indeed, a specialist in mid- nineteenth-century culture, politics, theatre, or popular music would be able to recognize references unrelated to Gounod’s Faust and would be able to position Hervé’s work much more precisely than is possible here. The goal of this section is necessarily less ambitious. I hope to elucidate aspects of Hervé’s style, specifically of his approach to pre-existing materials, focusing narrowly on the relatively straightforward case of Petit Faust as burlesque of Gounod’s “grand” Faust. 154 On many levels, the libretto of Petit Faust debases Faust by manipulating its identifying features or their contexts. Comparing plot synopses reveals how certain “serious” elements of 152 Fredric Woodbridge Wilson and Deane L. Root, "Burlesque," in Grove Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com (accessed 19 August 2009). The popularity of operatic burlesque in England corroborates Hervé’s enormous success in London. Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière refer to Hervé as “le compositeur le plus anglais de sa génération,” and provide an overview of Hervé’s activities and the reception of his works in London, 123-163. On operatic burlesques in Victorian London, see Roberta Montemorra Marvin, “Verdian Opera Burlesqued: A Glimpse into mid-Victorian Theatrical Culture,” Cambridge Opera Journal 15 (2003), 33-66, and Roberta Montemorra Marvin, “Burlesques, Barriers, Borders, and Boundaries,” in Operatic Migrations: Transforming Works and Crossing Boundaries, ed. Roberta Montemorra Marvin and Downing A. Thomas (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 205-215. 153 Again, the term “intertextual” is used literally throughout this study to refer to the relationships of a text to particular texts. 154 Parallels with Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust can also be found, as one might expect. For example, there is no correspondence to Hervé’s “Le satrape et la puce” in Gounod (where Méphistophélès sings “Le veau d’or”), whereas the lyrics recall “Une puce gentille chez un prince logeait” from Part 2 of Damnation. Highlighting instants of intertextual transformation, Cariven-Galharret and Ghesquière compare excerpts of the librettos set by Berlioz and by Hervé, 109-113. 83 Faust (the longstanding debate about the “seriousness” of Gounod’s adaptation of the Faust legend notwithstanding) 155 are retained but relocated into incongruously “low” surroundings, other elements are replaced with common or vulgar substitutions. The synopsis of Faust would have been known to the audience of 1869, though its highlights might bear retelling today: Act I. The ageing philosopher Dr. Faust contemplates suicide. A pastoral chorus is heard outside. Méphistophélès appears, answering Faust’s call for deliverance. Though Faust longs for youth and pleasure, he hesitates to accept Méphistophélès’s contract (earthly desires in exchange for service in the afterlife). When Méphistophélès summons a vision of Marguerite, Faust immediately accepts, and it transformed into a young man. Act II. Kermesse. Mixed chorus of students, soldiers, bourgeois gentlemen, young girls, and matrons. Valentin is leaving for war and asks his friends to watch over his sister Marguerite. Méphistophélès interrupts the drinking and sings a blasphemous song about the Golden Calf. Upon speaking Marguerite’s name, he is attacked by Valentin, and uses supernatural powers to shatter the sword. Valentin and companions sing a chorale denouncing the powers of evil, and exit. Faust and villagers enter, waltzing. Marguerite appears, shyly refuses when Faust offers his arm, she quickly departs. Act III. Garden Scene. Young Siebel brings flowers for Marguerite, whom he loves. Faust and Méphistophélès appear. Faust sings his famous cavatine, an apostrophe to her chaste home. Méphistophélès produces a casket of jewels. They hide. Marguerite enters thinking of Faust. She sings a folk song (“Roi de Thulé”). She finds the jewels and is transformed, musically rendered in the sophisticated Jewel Song (waltz-cabalette). Quartet: Méphistophélès woos guardian with light music, Faust and Marguerite address each other in lyrical style. Méphistophélès casts an enchantment over the garden. Faust and Marguerite sing an extended love duet and separate. Faust and Méphistophélès linger in the garden, listen to Marguerite’s private confession of love. Act IV. Scene i. Marguerite has been abandoned by Faust and has given birth to his child. Her Spinning Song continues the musical development of her character. Scene ii. Soldiers’s chorus, Valentin returns. Faust and Méphistophélès enter and are confronted by Valentin who seeks to avenge his sister’s honour. Faust kills Valentin, who, dying, condemns Marguerite. Scene iii. Marguerite prays in church, in counterpoint with Méphistophélès’s satanic solo and an oppressive liturgical chorus. Act V. Scene i. Walpurgis Nacht. Ritualistic celebration, wild and supernatural. Scene ii. Faust drinks in surreal cavern, sees a vision of Marguerite, demands to be taken to her. Scene iii. Marguerite is in prison for infanticide. Faust enters, 155 For an overview of this controversy and a discussion of Carré and Barbier as a “literary perversion” of Goethe’s drama see William E. Grim, The Faust Legend in Music and Literature (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1988), 18-27. 84 they sing a love duet. Final battle for her soul. Apotheosis. Marguerite is saved by her faith, Faust falls to the ground in supplication. On the broadest level, the premise of Petit Faust is identical: ageing Doctor Faust longs for youth, pleasure, and specifically for Marguerite; through a pact with Méphistophélès he is transformed into a young man and is joined with Marguerite; the two are reunited after a brief separation before supernatural intervention brings their earthly existence to an end. Other similarities include the involvement of Marguerite’s brother Valentin, who provides for her protection as he goes to battle. He then returns home, discovers Marguerite’s desolation, and is killed by Faust. More local details are also retained: Méphistophélès interrupts a large public scene for mixed chorus and sings a parable; Marguerite sings a folk song about an old king. However, only the most basic identifying elements of these events are retained, the particulars and the surrounding events are widely divergent with Faust and its aesthetic space. The plot synopsis illustrates this: Act I. Doctor Faust is anatomy professor to a class of rowdy schoolgirls. As the cadaver is being brought in, a group of soldiers enter, led by Valentin. He is leaving for war and entrusts his sister Marguerite’s guardianship to Faust. Faust reluctantly agrees. Marguerite quickly disrupts the class with her yodelling, inappropriate suggestions, and aggressive behaviour. Faust prepares to whip her, but his heart flutters and he hesitates. Remembering that she is above the age of consent he hurries the other students out of the room. Marguerite shows the doctor the many parts of her already wounded and swollen body. Faust is overcome with a powerful sensation, and Méphisto appears. He sings an introduction, a catalogue celebrating human vice. Méphisto promises youth, beauty, and pleasure to Faust; Faust is transformed into a young man. The students sing a revolutionary galop celebrating truancy and romantic adventures, Faust hurries to join Marguerite, all exit. Act II. Cocottes, old men, and students sing a triple chorus at the Bal Mabille. Méphisto entertains the crowd with his apologue of the satrap and the flea. Faust appears, exhausted (he cannot keep up with his youthful desires) and irritated. He is searching for Marguerite, whom he has literally lost. Méphisto summons a parade of worldly Marguerites, but Faust’s beloved is not to be found among the English Margarets, Italian Margaritas, or Javanese Mavargaveravitaves. To Faust’s pleasure, Marguerite finally returns as a laundress (she had been travelling in England, promoting the cancan). Faust reflects thoughtfully on the passage of 85 time, and the two are reunited. Valentin returns from war, interrupts their tryst, and challenges Faust to a duel. Méphisto intervenes and Valentin is killed, he shares his worldly wisdom as he departs. Faust steals away with Marguerite. Act III. Wedding celebrations are heard. Marguerite sings a folk song (“Complainte du roi de Thuné”) and reminisces about her life before Faust, specifically about a certain M. Adolphe. Valentin’s ghost appears in the soup. Faust admits that he has given up his fortune; Marguerite storms out. Méphisto leads the “bal infernal,” and condemns Faust and Marguerite to an eternity of dancing. All additions and transformations contribute to the debasement of Gounod’s model. The retained events are drastically recontextualized in one of two ways. The new dramatic context is either rendered crude through inappropriate suggestions, often sexual, or unsophisticated words and music (i.e. Faust’s lusty thoughts and Marguerite’s yodelling), or lowered socially, to the level of common workaday realism antithetical to mid-nineteenth operatic “reality” (i.e. classroom of schoolgirls, revolutionary songs, crowds gathering at a popular dance hall, the occupation of a laundress). These are examples of the “provocative mixture of real life color with fiction” that Steven Huebner has identified as a fundamental element of Hervé’s comedy.156 Indeed, Hervé’s work is informed by a unique “stylized realism.” The world depicted is far from the fantasy fiction of Ba-ta-clan, it is a worker’s world threatening incivility. In addition, major events in the story are reordered. For example, Faust meets Marguerite at the outset but gallantly offers her his arm much later; Valentin appears in the opening scene, not in the excitement of the Kermesse; Marguerite sings her folksong towards the end of the opera; and Faust reflects on old age after his romance with Marguerite. The effect is one of decomposition. In the second and third acts especially, the action seems like a random bricolage of familiar details. Sketch-like episodes are strung together, entirely reliant on their previous associations for meaning. This procedure destabilizes the original and at the same is nourished 156 Steven Huebner, review of Hervé: Un Musicien paradoxal (1825-1892), by Renée Cariven-Galharret and Dominique Ghesquière, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 50 (March 1994), 972-973. 86 by it. As a burlesque the drama is neither self-contained nor makes sense on its own: it is structurally and diegetically parasitic. Details of character and action are also treated with vulgarity or everyday realism, as are lyrics to individual numbers. Example 2.12, from the opening of the chorus of schoolgirls that begins the opera, demonstrates certain features already seen in Ba-ta-clan. The text privileges Example 2.12. Le Petit Faust, from #1, ronde des écolières, mm. 5-17. 87 unrefined physicality (jumping and violence), but it is more raw than its parallels in Ba-ta-clan, not least because these words are sung by schoolgirls: “Saute, saute! Coup’ta tête! Ou je vais t’la raboter! Saute, saut’ gare au plus bête. C’est sur lui qu’on va sauter.”157 The octosyllabic construction also evidences a debased state—the archetypal seventeenth-century burlesques of Paul Scarron routinely transformed classical verse into “trivial” eight-syllable lines.158 The familiar expression “gare au plus bête” is also of a notably “lower” aesthetic than one would expect to find in Offenbach. The music too surpasses the coarseness of anything found in Ba-ta- clan. The melody is angular, bare, relies shamelessly on its unusually emphatic rhythm, and the accompaniment pattern is elemental enough to be ritualistic. The most pointed object of burlesque treatment is the character Marguerite. In Gounod’s opera, the far-reaching development of Marguerite’s character, represented musically with utmost attention, is the binding thread of the opera. She is introduced incrementally: appearing first as a vision in Act 1, she sings a brief phrase as she elusively slips, dream-like, through the crowd in Act 2, and is only fully unveiled in an Act 3 grand scena that couples the simple “Roi de Thulé” with the glittering, sophisticated Jewel Song waltz. Hervé subjects these precious and pivotal moments to grotesque distortions, changing their context and/or their substance. He quotes the text and the melody that opens the first meeting between Faust and Marguerite in the Kermesse scene, “Ne permettez vous pas” (tonality, harmony, and phrase lengths are also retained, see Examples 2.13a and 2.13b). 159 The essence of their encounter is 157 This might translate as “Jump, jump, chop your head! Or else I will lop it off! Jump, jump, fool beware. We’re about to jump on you!” All musical examples of this opera are reproduced from the first published edition: Hervé, Le Petit Faust: opéra bouffe en 3 actes et 4 tableaux (Paris: Heugel, 1869). 158 Genette considers Scarron’s Virgile travesti to be the archetypal example of burlesque travesty, and Scarron’s practice of “travestying” classic verse into octosyllabic “burlesque verse” his most fundamental device. Genette, Palimpsests, 58-66. 159 Example 2.13b is from Charles Gounod, Faust: opéra en 5 actes (Paris: Choudens, c. 1869). 88 Example 2.13a. Le Petit Faust, from #16, trio du Vaterland, mm. 5-17. 89 Example 2.13b. Faust, from Act 2, #6, valse et choeur, mm. 210-218. maintained, and the text of Marguerite’s response is almost verbatim. However, in Petit Faust this encounter occurs in the second half of the opera (#16, Trio de Vaterland), after the infamous affair. The “fleeting glimpse” effect is supplanted by a protracted scene full of comic antics. Likewise, Hervé changes the dramatic context of the “Roi de Thulé” folk ballad. It is relocated to the final act and Marguerite sings it as she prepares for her wedding to Faust. Hervé retains the basic melodic contour and the tonal center of the original, but the content is radically different, as the opening lyrics of Examples 2.14a and 2.14b illustrate: the narrator’s impersonal evocation of legendary yesteryear in Gounod (which following Goethe is recited privately by Marguerite), is replaced by a direct address to Marguerite’s audience, whom she identifies as compatriots of one M. Wagner, and she begins with an imperative! 90 Example 2.14a. Le Petit Faust, from #20, complainte du roi de Thuné, mm. 11-18. Example 2.14b. Faust, from #9, scène et air, chanson du Roi de Thulé, mm. 4-9. 91 Upon Marguerite’s first appearance in Petit Faust, the virginal purity that Gounod captured so painstakingly is retained only long enough to make its satiric intent clear. Example 2.15 reproduces the A section of “Fleur de candeur,” Marguerite’s opening air. The compound meter, sustained chords, long tonic pedal, regular appoggiaturas, flower imagery, and the entire text up to measure 22 is overstated simplicity and declares the number as a caricature of a pastoral. But, at the first mention of her German ancestry, “Les Allemands m’abbellent Gret- chien!” (sic!), she breaks into a yodel with waltz accompaniment. The same sequence repeats in the Trio du Vaterland, suggesting that any evocation of Germany will irrepressibly transform Marguerite into a waltz-yodelling automaton. This passage ends with the polylingual expression “Stockfisch in black,” which is not inconsistent with Hervé’s characteristic use of “franglais.” Example 2.15. Le Petit Faust, from #4, air de Marguerite, mm. 10-31. 92 93 The B section of the ternary form also humorously attacks Marguerite’s legendary naiveté. The text treats the colloquial expression “rouler dans le foin” literally, ironically overstating Marguerite’s “naive” behaviour and evoking the visual image of two young adults having a “roll in the hay” and sexualizing her explicitly from the start: Je vais d’instinct à tout ce qui m’attire, Je cours dans l’herbe après les papillons Et je ne vois pas plus de mal à rire Avec les filles qu’avec les garcons. Il faut me voir quand la moisson commence Avec Siébel rouler dans le foin. Ma vertu va jusqu’à l’inconséquence, Peut-être un jour ira t’elle plus loin.160 Like the yodelling passage, the entire B section is a waltz. This elliptically recalls the Jewel Song (also in sectional form) and underlines the contrast between the two numbers. No “elevated” gestures are found in Marguerite’s music and her musical character is unchanging. She waltzes and yodels, always true to the character established in the opening scene. Together with her debased state, this one-dimensionality plays into the vociferous controversy then raging among critics, many of whom felt that Gounod’s treatment of Goethe’s 160 “I follow my instinct’s every whim, I chase the butterflies through the grass, I see no harm in laughing with the girls or with the boys./ You must see me when the harvest begins, rolling in the hay with Sièbel; My virtue extends to the extremes, perhaps one day it will go even further.” 94 venerable drama was itself a travesty, especially in its treatment of Marguerite. 161 Hervé, though, downgrades the vocal style of all characters, not only Marguerite. They all sing in essentially the same style, either fast duple dances (usually galops) or moderately paced waltzes (soldiers also march). There are no supernatural touches for Méphisto, nor is there ardent lyricism for the tenor. The waltzes are not used symbolically as they are in Faust, or sensuously as in such waltz- laden Viennese Operettes as Die Fledermaus, but are banal background accompaniment democratically available to each of the characters. Hervé uses several direct musical quotations from Faust, in addition to the recitative from the Kermesse scene already noted. Easily recognizable scraps are prominently positioned as signposts or placards. Exact pitches from the instrumental introduction to Faust’s famous cavatine (#8, recitative “Quel trouble inconnu me pénètre?”) are quoted in #5 (Morceau d’ensemble et Duo du martinet, mm. 11-12) and a slightly altered version is heard in the opening two measures of the overture. The tenor melody in Les Trois Choeurs (#10, mm. 41-42) quotes the tenor line from the Kermesse layered chorus from Faust (#3, mm. 85-86). 162 The most emphatic use of quotation is the two-measure snippet from the bombastic Soldiers’s Chorus (#14 of Faust, the tune is first heard in the instrumental introduction, mm. 8-11), which projects over the couplets du guerrier Valentin as a kind of head motive separated from the song proper by spoken dialogue (the two measures preceding #3, see Example 2.16; the second measure of the quotation is heard again at the beginning of #22 ter. where it heralds the ghost of Valentin). 163 161 Grim, 21-24. 162 It is interesting to note that Hervé’s text at this point also references the dandy, but unlike the more oblique allusion to the “macaroni” sophisticate of Ba-ta-clan, we find the familiar term “gandin”: “Nous voyons passer les gandins…” 163 This all produces a rather crude effect, quite unlike Offenbach’s more integrated use of quotation. Compare for example, Offenbach’s use of the melody of Gluck’s “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” in the second scene (#9, Act 1 Final) of Orphée aux enfers (1858): overjoyed at the prospect of life without Eurydice, Orphée is forced by Public Opinion to appeal to Jupiter for a reunion with his dearly departed (Public Opinion: “Voici le moment solennel! tu vas, d’une 95 Example 2.16. Le Petit Faust, opening of couplets du guerrier Valentin. In Petit Faust, musical humour that is not based on borrowed material can also be found. Marguerite’s waltz-yodelling, for instance, caricatures the young girl’s Germanic heritage and offers a musical parallel to her mispronunciation of the French language (as in “Les Allemands m’abbellent Gret-chien!”). The opening passage of the ouverture (Example 2.17) finds incongruous topics juxtaposed, interrupted phrases, excessively varied instrumentation, and rough harmonic progressions, all of which might be heard as burlesque humour—awkward voix attendrie, implorer du grand Jupiter le droit de reprendre à l’enfer ton épouse tendre et chérie!”); Orphée provides the appeal by ironically quoting Gluck’s famous melody to the lines “On m’a ravi mon Eurydice,” continuation is provided by sympathetic goddesses (whom the scene had primed as extremely bored and eager for excitement), a sentimental violin solo, followed by the goddesses in counterpoint. This “bring out the violins” sentimentality had also been prefigured earlier in the act when Orphée overtly used the violin as an “instrument of torture” in the hilarious duo du concerto. The context of the quotation contrasts with the original, not only in that Orphée’s appeal is ironic (he wants nothing more than to be rid of Eurydice, and everyone knows it except for Jupiter et al.), but it is also relocated to the beginning of the work, immediately following Eurydice’s death. Offenbach complicates the definitive simplicity of Gluck’s melody by introducing concerted forces (trio of goddesses and solo for violin). Moreover, Offenbach blatantly misappropriated the “classically” understated melody for humorously sentimental effect, equating sincerity with sentimentality. 96 gestures unsuitable to a respectable opera. But it is characteristic of the opera’s humorous musical discourse that these themes nevertheless draw on those heard in Gounod’s overture to Faust. While stock gestures similar to those already noted in Ba-ta-clan, such as vocal imitation of instrumental idioms, gratuitous coloratura, and extremes in vocal register can also be found, the essence of the humour, musical and otherwise, is the “lowering” of borrowed materials. Example 2.17. Le Petit Faust, from ouverture-valse, mm. 1-17. 97 Post-1870: Charles Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot and Popular opéra comique Charles Lecocq (1832-1918) was the most successful composer of light opera of the early Third Republic. His major works and those of his contemporaries demonstrate a concerted effort towards more “elevated” music and romantic subject matter that was uncharacteristic of the pre- 1870 repertory. 164 Renouncing the bouffe aesthetic and declaring their more serious ambitions, these composers often called their works opéras comiques. 165 These “popular” opéras comiques reconcile opérette and opéra bouffe strategies with official operatic standards. They nevertheless fall clearly in the popular tradition and were produced accordingly at such unofficial theatres as the Théâtre de la Renaissance or the Folies-Dramatiques. This evolution from bouffe humour to romantic comedy is by no means unprecedented. It parallels the shift observed by Offenbach in the genre of opéra comique earlier in the century from outrageous and farcical topicality to light drama typically dealing with adventures and amorous pursuits of middle class characters. This same softening is prefigured in the earliest extant comedies, distinguishing Aristophanic Old Comedy from its progeny, the New Comedy of Menander. This suggests that the new direction of post-1870 light opera evidences a dynamic pattern fundamental to the evolution of comic drama. Recognition came early to Lecocq when he was awarded first prize, together with Georges Bizet, in Offenbach’s aforesaid opérette competition of 1856. His chinoiserie Fleur-de- 164 This effort towards “elevation” clearly parallels developments in official operatic forms of the period. See Mary Jean Speare, “The Transformation of opéra comique: 1850-1880” (Ph.D. diss., Washington University, 1997). 165 Indeed, the light opera scene in mid- to late-nineteenth-century Paris was variegated and complex and I do not mean to suggest that all pre-1870 works were bouffe, or that all post-1870 popular operas rejected that particular mode of humour. When Chabrier composed an overtly bouffe opera in 1877, it is significant that he is connecting with an older tradition. 98 thé afforded him some commercial success after its 1868 premiere. 166 But it was La Fille de Madame Angot (premiered at Brussels’s Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes in 1872 before appearing in Paris at the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, 21 February 1873) that established him as the leading composer of popular opera of the 1870s. Among his over fifty stage works, two others also stand out for their enormous popularity: Giroflé-Girofla of 1874 (libretto by Leterrier and Vanloo), whose “silly” subject and comic exotica are a throwback to Second Empire opéra bouffe, and Le Petit Duc (1878, libretto by Meilhac and Halévy), which was the main theatrical attraction for visitors to the 1878 Exposition universelle. La Fille de Madame Angot was Lecocq’s first three-act work subtitled opéra comique and bears many features that separate it from the works of Offenbach and Hervé. The majority of these—central love theme, musical and dramatic characterization, “realistic” period setting, mezzo and baritone secondary characters as foil to soprano and tenor principals, extended musical numbers (multi-sectional introduction and finales), ensembles, subtle harmonies, polished orchestration—are operatic in scope and find many parallels in the opéras comiques of the 1830s such as Auber’s Fra Diavolo (1830) and Le Domino noir (1837), which were still in the repertory of the Opéra-Comique. The large cast and chorus and the operatic finales were anticipated by Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène and other works of the 1860s. But La Fille is laden with the central themes of love and politics, its humour reigned in and domesticated in comparison to the opéras bouffes of Hervé and Offenbach. This seriousness should not be overstated, however, for it is nevertheless a cheerful alternative to the works then fashionable at the Opéra-Comique, which were taking on proportions and themes that exceed in grandeur and 166 Like Ba-ta-clan this opera focuses on a Frenchman attempting to escape a Chinese post. 99 seriousness anything the theatre had ever seen excepted only for a brief period following the French Revolution. Humorous touches appear throughout each of the three acts of La Fille, but moments of bouffe humour are rare and always relegated to subplots and secondary characters, incidental to the primary dramatic thread. The action is set in Paris during the Directoire period of the First French Republic. The dramatic frame is as follows. Act I. A chorus celebrates the upcoming wedding of Clairette to Pomponnet, a hairdresser. An archaic strophic romance reveals Clairette’s innocence and naiveté. Bystanders sing of her mother, the famed fishwife Madame Angot. Enter dissident chansonnier Ange Pitou, critic of the new republic—indeed, he loved Clairette, but he could hardly intervene now that another has claimed her hand. Clairette, in love with Pitou, devises a plan to escape her marriage (at the ceremony, she will simply refuse her vows). In the duo bouffe, Pitou agrees to remove the name of Larivaudière, friend of the Directory, from his chanson politique in exchange for a large sum of money. In the finale, the crowd entreats a performance of Pitou’s new song. Upon learning that such a performance is grounds for arrest, Clairette heartily sings the couplets, implicating a certain Mlle. Lange, among others. Oblivious of the rebellious content of the song, she is delighted that prison will relieve her from marrying Pomponnet. Act II. Mlle. Lange, glamorous actress and kept woman, sings suggestively of the manly soldiers and their many assets. Pomponnet again celebrates Clairette’s innocence: she is ignorant of her crime and unjustifiably punished. Lange has summoned Clairette to inquire into her accuser’s motive and the two women recognize each other as old schoolmates. Their duet progresses from lyrical nostalgia to cheeky dispute. Pitou arrives, also at Lange’s request, and the two share a seductive waltz disclosing their mutual attraction through ironic political banter. When Pitou is discovered in Lange’s boudoir Clairette suspects his infidelity. At night, conspirators gather to plot against the Directoire, but approaching republican soldiers force them to remove their blonde wigs and black collars and pose as guests to the supposed wedding of Clairette and Pitou. During the ball, Clairette and Lange discover the other’s involvement with Pitou. Act III. Clairette gathers the marketplace regulars for a ball in order to determine Pitou’s infidelity. Her true nature is revealed: with her mother’s feisty spirit she is ready for anything. Pomponnet and Larivaudière, both posing incognito as muscled men of the market face off in a comic duo. Clairette exposes Mlle. Lange, who has deceived her many lovers, including Ange Pitou of Clairette’s own heart. To avenge her honour, she will marry Pomponnet after all. 100 The libretto joins elements from three popular traditions, each with proven histories. The drama conspicuously relocates the enormously popular “genre poissard” of the eighteenth century, 167 whose most famous mouthpiece was the legendary Madame Angot, to the colourful Directoire period, then fashionable in spoken theatre. 168 It retains the conventional opérette and opéra bouffe structure of alternating couplets and spoken dialogue (supplemented with extended finales and a first act compound introduction typical of opéra comique), dance rhythms, and numerous standard comic devices already seen in the works of Offenbach and Hervé (such as duo bouffe, laughing refrain, incognito characters, and conspiracy scene). The Directoire setting and the poissard genre allow for the foregrounding of serious aspects that may be interpreted as satirizing politics and social customs of the early Third Republic. Pitou’s pointed royalist criticism of the new Republic and its censorship of the poet’s work depends on the former, and the serious question of social mobility and the mockery of the young parvenue’s malapropos mannerisms, the latter. La Fille de Madame Angot combines eighteenth-century colour with a touch of “realism.” Clairette represents the lower classes, and as in other poissard pieces, the incongruity of her unrefined comportment vis à vis the aristocratic circles in which she moves is a major source of humour. Several characters are real historical personages: Mlle. Anne Lange, Ange Pitou, the Vicomte de Barras, and Marshal Pierre Augereau were all prominent Directoire figures. Act II opens with a Choeur des Merveilleuses, an airy waltz that reflects the frivolous luxury of Mlle. Lange’s fashionable subculture. The male counterparts of the Merveilleuses, the 167 The “genre poissard” was a genre of theatrical comedy popular in Paris in the eighteenth century, it focused on “low-life” characters from the Parisian streets and marketplaces, particularly the fishwives who were known as “poissardes.” In the late eighteenth-century the genre was commonly a vehicle for the expression of revolutionary sentiment. See Alexander Parks Moore, The genre poissard and the French Stage of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935). Fundamentals of the style are also discussed in McCormick, 116-118. 168 Traubner, 78. 101 “Incroyables” (of which the Barras was historically the most prominent) are not mentioned directly in the score, but are comically evoked by Trenitz’s signature refusal to speak the letter “r” in the conspiracy scene (Act II Final, see mm. 44-50 and 63-66), a symbolic rejection of the “R”évolution: “Oui, des conspiateus, nous sommes les modèles, un égiment, (un égiment,) ne nous feait pas peu… Mais il n’a pas de collet noi, il n’a pas de peuuque blonde.”169 Reflecting Lecocq’s interest in the operas of Rameau, whose Castor et Pollux he arranged for piano (published in Paris by Legouix, n.d. [1878?]), the score of La Fille also contains many eighteenth-century touches. Most conspicuous is the four-movement divertissement-ballet in the last act (two of the dances are rounded binary). The fourth number begins as a musette, though a waltz refrain and a galop strette are incongruously appended. Louis Schneider notes that the chanson politique (#6b, “Jadis les rois, race proscrite”) is reminiscent of eighteenth-century caveau chansons, and its choral refrain “Barras est roi, Lange est sa reine” recalls the spirit of the revolutionary songs “La carmagnole” and “Ah! ça ira.”170 Other moments, such as the recitative and the allegro moderato of the duo bouffe (#5), sound like Mozart pastiche. Pomponnet’s opening couplets (#1b, see Example 2.18) are representative of Lecocq’s approach to structure, style, characterization, and humour in La Fille. 171 Typical of opéra comique, the short song is embedded in the opera’s choral introduction, which characteristically begins and ends with the same homophonic chorus. It is also characteristic that a secondary 169 The text, with “r”s reinstated, “Oui, des conspirateurs, nous sommes les modèles, un régiment, (un régiment,) ne nous ferait pas peur… Mais il n’a pas de collet noir, il n’a pas de perruque blonde,” translates as “Yes, we are model conspirators, a regiment would not frighten us… But he is not wearing a black collar, he is not wearing a blonde wig.” 170 Schneider, Les Maîtres de l’opérette française, 167-168. 171 Charles Lecocq, La Fille de Madame Angot: opéra comique en 3 actes (Paris: Brandus, ). 102 Example 2.18. La Fille de Madame Angot, couplets, from #1, introduction, mm. 110-133. 103 character has the first solo. It follows the conventional AABC + refrain structure already noted in Ba-ta-clan. But in terms of musical context, humour, and characterization it shows a sophistication and seriousness not found in Hervé or Offenbach. The text celebrates Clairette’s innocence, and Pomponnet delights in anticipation of her defiling with a crude shift in imagery as the refrain approaches. The refrain loses all the poetic affect of the verses as Pomponnet indulges his vulgar fantasy. Pomponnet: Aujourd’hui prenons bien garde, à ce bouquet plein d’appas; Je permets qu’on le regarde, mais que l’on n’y touche pas! Seul je prétends en cachette le tenir en mon pouvoir. Et je me fais une fête de le détacher ce soir. Ah! ah! 104 ref: Ah! d’avance, quand j’y pense, quel effet cela me fait! Ah! d’avance, quand j’y pense, quel effet cela me fait! etc. Je l’entends, elle soupire, sans même savoir pourquoi; Son bouquet semble me dire: Grâce pour elle et pour moi! Mais une double conquête me livrant femme et bouquet De l’innocence Clairette fait madame Pomponnet. Ah! ah! ref: Ah! d’avance, quand j’y pense, quel effet cela me fait! Ah! d’avance, quand j’y pense, quel effet cela me fait! etc.172 This shift is paralleled and surpassed in the music. The halting melody, rhythmic flexibility, delicate woodwind punctuation, and touching romance style of the strophe are precious and affected. This style is juxtaposed with a robust march with short vocal phrases, many accents, and thumping accompaniment figures. Pomponnet loses his composure and is carried away by physical desire. The quickening tempo and gradual crescendo reflect his surging libido. Similar sexual suggestions appear in various other numbers. For instance, Lange’s couplets (#8), which begin with the refrain (incidentally, also a march): “Les soldats d’Augereau sont des hommes (sont des hommes) et toutes faibles que nous sommes je prétends que nous les valons, car nous faisons des hommes tout ce que nous voulons (oui, nous faisons des hommes tout ce que nous voulons).”173 The word “hommes” is repeated nine times in the refrain and is decorated with ornaments. The text of the first verse plays on the verb “traîner” (i.e. “son grand 172 “Take a good look at this bouquet full of charms today;/I allow you to look, but not to touch!/I secretly imagine holding her in my power./And I will feast tonight detaching the flower./ refrain: Ah! When I think of the effect it will have on me! etc./ I hear her, she sighs, without even knowing why;/Her scent seems to say: grace unto her and unto me!/A double conquest to deliver the lady and her bouquet/From innocent Clairette to Madame Pomponnet./ refrain: Ah! When I think of the effect it will have on me! etc.” 173 “The Augereau soldiers are men, and, weak as we are, I do contend that we value them; for with men, we do exactly as we please.” 105 sabre qu’il fait traîner partout” 174). In the duettino between Lange and Pitou, a seductive waltz underpins flirtatious banter, reminiscent of eighteenth-century marivaudage. 175 Pomponnet’s number is in A major, which, in the larger context of the brash pre-wedding excitement in D, makes for an unremarkable harmonic space. To prepare the precious atmosphere of the couplets, Lecocq writes a brief detour through F major, a key noticeably removed from both D and A. Slow turn figures and colourful orchestration add to the effect (mm. 110-112, the passage in F begins at m. 105, not shown). He returns to A by reinterpreting the tonic of F as the root of the predominant German sixth of A (m. 111), an harmonic procedure of greater sophistication than one is likely to encounter in Offenbach or Hervé. This constructed naiveté is as transparent as Clairette’s supposed virtue, which it purports to represent. This fact is the source of humour in Pomponnet’s other solo song (Romance, #9), which also apostrophizes Clairette’s innocence. The two verses both begin and end with the phrase “Elle est tellement innocente” (She is so very innocent) and have music to match. The irony latent in Pomponnet’s first song is more apparent here, as the audience has by now witnessed Clairette, clever and wily daughter of Madame Angot, in action. Pomponnet’s two solos are in matching old-fashioned styles, and both focus on the virtues of the young heroine (as he perceives them). This invites a comparison with Clairette’s “true” personality. Her first solo (#1d, “Je vous dois tout”) matches Pomponnet’s expectations, expressed only moments before. It is archaic in style, with pastoral drones, and is marked “con simplicità ed espressione.” But unlike Pomponnet, who is stuck in this mode, Clairette’s musical 174 “His great sword that he is always dragging around.” 175 Named after the celebrated comic playwright Pierre Carlet de Marivaux (1688-1763), marivaudage refers to the witty banter on the subject of love that is commonly exchanged between the young romantic hopefuls of Marivaux’s plays. The style is often described as precious, affected, galant, and even eccentric; the term has been used since Marivaux’s time with varying degrees of disparagement. See Frédéric Deloffre’s classic study, Une Préciosité nouvelle: Marivaux et le Marivaudage (Paris: Société d’édition Les Belles Lettres, 1955). 106 characterization is dynamic and develops in each of the three acts. Ironically, her motivations and her true nature do not change, only her musical personality does. Her outward behaviour reflects the incremental release of her disguise (read: feigned propriety). The fou rire of Ba-ta-clan and of Le Petit Faust is absent in La Fille de Madame Angot. Hervé’s grossières and the loufoque spirit of the “Offenbouffes” are replaced with a brand of humour that is inspired and effective but distinctly genteel. The musical humour is also understated in comparison to the bouffe works. Humorous musical gestures in La Fille include exaggeration, juxtaposition of incongruous gestures, and caricature in the requisite duo bouffe. All of these find precedent in Ba-ta-clan and other opérettes from the 1850s. Comic energy is sustained musically by laughter, dancing, clichés waiting in ambush, the mechanical inevitability of the celebratory galop, and a general busyness. But whereas in Ba-ta-clan these humorous or comic antics were the raison d’être, in La Fille they are incidental to the primary substance of the piece, which, while admittedly comic, resides in an operatic libretto and corresponding musical devices. 107 3 Chabrier’s opérettes and the opéra bouffe L’Étoile Chabrier’s “popular” operatic comedies consist of three opérettes that survive in various stages of completion and one opéra bouffe. 176 The two early opérettes, Vaucochard et fils 1er (1864) and Fisch-ton-kan (1864), are incomplete with four and five surviving numbers respectively, at least two of which are unfinished. One documented performance of Fisch-ton- kan took place during Chabrier’s lifetime under the title Peh-li-kan in 1873 at the Cercle de l’Union artistique.177 His only complete opéra bouffe, L’Étoile (1877, three acts), had a brief but acclaimed run at the Bouffes-Parisiens in 1877-1878. It was followed by Une Éducation manquée (1879), the only complete opérette, which had a single performance during Chabrier’s lifetime at the private Cercle international in 1879. Spanning his formative years as a composer, from the mid 1860s until he resigned from his civil position to become a professional composer in 1880, these works bear traces of Chabrier’s evolving aesthetic and present an inventory of his most characteristic procedures. All four pieces connect with the bouffe spirit that prevailed in the pre-1870 opérette and opéra bouffe repertory. Elements of musical style, plot, and humour find more parallels in the works of Offenbach than in those of Hervé, with Ba-ta-clan (discussed in Chapter 2) being a particularly pertinent point of comparison for the first three of the Chabrier works. Features of Chabrier’s style can be seen in various stages of evolution in these pieces: an ironic approach to 176 That is, in the “popular” tradition as distinct from officially sanctioned genres (such as opéra and opéra comique) that were performed at the subsidized theatres, see Chapter 2. A second opéra bouffe titled Le Service obligatoire (three acts, libretto in part by Henri Meilhac), written in collaboration with René de Boisdeffre and Jules Costé, was reportedly performed at the Cercle de l’union artistique in 1872. The manuscript is now lost. Roger Delage, Emmanuel Chabrier (Paris: Fayard, 1999), 109-110. 177 Chabrier’s involvement with the Cercle de l’union artistique (also known as the Cercle des mirlitons) is documented in Delage, ch. 8. Note the discrepancies between dates indicated in Delage’s catalogue des oeuvres and elsewhere in the text. Fisch-ton-kan, for instance, was performed 29 March 1873, as correctly indicated in the text, 110. 108 genre, a playful destabilizing of structure through incongruity and interruption, an unhierarchical mixture of styles, and an unapologetic excess of surface detail are treated differently in each work. In general, a more refined application of these procedures and an increasingly subtle style emerge in each successive work. A crassness found in Vaucochard and in Fisch-ton-kan is entirely absent in Éducation manquée, an opérette dealing with a “delicate” moment in the coming-of-age of a genteel eighteenth-century aristocrat set as an appropriately delicate stylized Baroque suite. The purpose of this chapter is to provide historical and aesthetic context for these four works and to offer an analysis of stylistic and other significant features necessary for an appreciation of Chabrier’s musical humour. In addition to presenting the basic features of plot synopsis, libretto, and musical convention, I will isolate idiosyncratic musical procedures in order to demonstrate the complexity with which multiple facets of Chabrier’s style work together as the foundation of his technique as musical humorist. The Early opérettes: Vaucochard et fils 1er and Fisch-ton-kan Vaucochard et fils 1er (originally spelled Veaucochard) and Fisch-ton-kan were Chabrier’s first essays in dramatic music. The words set in these fragments are by Chabrier’s then close friend Paul Verlaine (1844-1896); Verlaine likely worked together with one Lucien Viotti on the text of Vaucochard. 178 Chabrier and Verlaine had become acquainted in the early 1860s (some say in 1861), as both young artists frequented the favoured gathering places of the 178 In an endearing sonnet written in 1887, À Emmanuel Chabrier, Verlaine recalls writing these verses together with “un ami cher” who has been identified as Lucien Viotti. Delage, 94-97. On Chabrier’s friendship with Verlaine, see Delage, ch. 7. 109 future Parnassian poets, which included the home of the publisher Alphonse Lemerre, and the salons of the Marquise de Ricard and Nina de Villard. 179 The extant sources for the opérettes leave many unanswered questions concerning date of composition, genesis, intended performance venues, and overall structure and plot. Most commentators agree on 1864-1865 as the time of composition of the music, with Vaucochard coming somewhat earlier than Fisch-ton-kan. 180 Following Edmond Lepelletier’s early biography of Verlaine, Roger Delage suggests that Verlaine intended the works to be performed at the salon of Nina de Villard and that the bouffe antics and saucy lyrics were of a kind with the improvised satirical sketches performed at her weekly gatherings. 181 Chabrier’s unedited manuscripts are the only source containing music and no concordances exist for the texts found in these scores (the excerpts from Vaucochard are in full orchestral score, Fisch-ton-kan survives only in a piano reduction). 182 One isolated dialogue from Vaucochard that is not found in Chabrier’s manuscript (no music is extant) has been included in Verlaine’s Oeuvres poétiques complètes and it conveys something of the dramatic theme of this 179 On Chabrier’s involvement with the Parnassian poets, including the gatherings of Lemerre, the Marquise de Ricard (mother of poet Louis-Xavier de Ricard), and Nina de Villard, see Delage, ch. 6. The salon hosted by Nina de Villard (also known by her married name, Nina de Callias), which Verlaine affectionately called the “quartier ninâcum,” was significant to Chabrier’s early development as a composer. The atmosphere of creative artistic expression always allowed music a central position and comprised a free mixture of Wagner adulation and transgressive cocasserie (“absurdity”). The salon also introduced Chabrier to many friends, collaborators, and professional contacts with whom he would form lasting relationships. Chabrier also hosted a series of soirées in his home on the rue Mosnier. Attendees included Chausson, Duparc, d’Indy, Lecocq, Manet, and Saint-Saëns. See James Ross, “Music in the French Salon,” in French Music since Berlioz, ed. Richard Langham Smith and Caroline Potter (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 97-98. 180 This accords with the dates that Chabrier noted on the folder of manuscripts that he compiled in the early 1890s. It seems that Verlaine returned to these texts later in life, at one point approaching Charles de Sivry (pianist of the Chat Noir cabaret and future brother-in-law to Verlaine) to compose music. Delage, 96-98. 181 Delage, 97-98. In an insightful and well-researched article on these Verlaine librettos, C. H. Moore suggests that Vaucochard would have been intended for Ricard’s salon. C.H. Moore, “Verlaine’s opéra bouffe,” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 83 (1968), 302. 182 The manuscript of Vaucochard is located at Bibliothèque nationale de France, Musique (BnF Mus.), MS 20639; similarly, that of Fisch-ton-kan, BnF Mus., MS 20625. 110 work. 183 Given the fragmentary sources it is not possible to reconstruct the entire plot of Vaucochard, but the sources suggest that, following Offenbach’s Ba-ta-clan and Orphée aux enfers, it is a satire of Napoléon III and his court. The ruler, Roi Vaucochard, is presented as a dim and cowardly tyrant-clown. This is especially evident in the scene not set by Chabrier, where he publicly addresses his court and his people: in response to threats of public insurrection, Vaucochard renounces the absolutism of his monarchy and offers a share in the profits of his “bobêche” (candle sconce) enterprise to his enlightened (“éclaircés”) subjects. The scene satirizes the ridiculous basis of the emperor’s power and his naive confidence in the simple-minded plan to calm public uproar with sudden reform in economic policy. The scene ends with his wholesale submission to his consort Sidonie’s flattery. Chabrier’s score of Vaucochard contains four numbers, two of which are unfinished:184 #1. Chanson de l’homme armé, “C’est home terrible effroyable épouvantable” (ensemble for four soloists—Douyoudou and Aglaé, both in the mezzo soprano range, and the two tenors Médéric and Vaucochard—with STB chorus) #2. Duo, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” (Aglaé and Médéric; incomplete) #3. Sérénade, “Pour l’amour tout local est bon” (Aglaé; incomplete) #4. Trio, “Vous le voulez, vous le voulez” (Aglaé, Médéric, Vaucochard) Further dramatic details can be gleaned from the texts of these numbers. The Chanson de l’homme armé is sketched on the cover of the manuscript, introducing some ambiguity as to its intended positioning within the opérette. Delage positions it as the opening number in his edition of the vocal score. 185 A female soloist Douyoudou warns of an advancing menace coming to 183 Paul Verlaine, Oeuvres poétiques complètes, ed. Y.-G. le Dantec, rev. Jacques Borel (Paris: Gallimard, 1962), 40-41. 184 The numbering in this list follows Delage’s edition of the vocal score; Emmanuel Chabrier, Vaucochard et fils 1er, ed. Roger Delage (Paris: Éditions françaises de musique, 1974). The musical examples of Vaucochard that appear in this chapter are from this edition. Those of Fisch-ton-kan are likewise taken from Delage’s edition: Emmanuel Chabrier, Fisch-ton-kan, ed. Roger Delage (Paris: Éditions françaises de musique, 1974). 185 Ibid. 111 topple the royal dynasty. She describes the appearance of the armed warrior, and courtiers Aglaé and Médéric repeat many of the vivid details. The King’s frightened sputters—such as “sois circonspect!” (be wary!) and “Dieux que j’ai peur” (God, I’m so scared)—are echoed by a terrified chorus (passages from this number are excerpted below, see Examples 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5). In the duo, lovers Aglaé and Médéric express their mutual affection in cliché swoons. Aglaé’s sérénade reflects on the many opportune sites for lovers to sneak a secret tryst. Finally, in the trio, likely intended as the final, the lovers are delighted when the unwitting King, harbouring extramarital interest in Aglaé, requests that the two play the roles of lovers for his viewing pleasure (“tous les deux bien vous entendre”). The trio ends with the appearance of death, a sort of deus ex machina in the form of Nécrotas, whose spoken announcement “Sire, les plus graves événements!!!” initiates a wild dance that closes the scene.186 Like the majority of the numbers discussed in the previous chapter, these four pieces are based on simple structural schemes. The sérénade follows the basic four-phrase strophic format identified in Chapter 2 with a simple variation: the strophe is organized AABB’ plus major-mode refrain. 187 The minor-mode strophe that is commonly heard in romances is here coloured with strong Phrygian inflections, offering a more pronounced contrast to the characteristic major mode of the refrain. The other numbers, however, demonstrate more creative departures from the basic forms on which they are built. Many of these departures create provocative “disjunctions” 186 Moore suggests that the Chanson de l’homme armé might be heard after the trio, the approach of the “homme armé” being among the “graves évènements” (serious events) indicated by Nécrotas. Moore, 308. 187 To recall, short strophic opérette numbers often follow an AABC or AABA’ melodic pattern, to which a refrain, consisting of contrasting melodic material, is added. The four phrases are typically four (less frequently, eight) measures each. The last phrase is considerably more variable than the others in terms of melodic content: various alternatives to the typical varied repeat of A or contrasting-closing C can be found, as is the case in this sérénade where the fourth phrase offers a varied repetition of B. 112 that are decidedly humorous. 188 The duo, for example, is in three contrasting sections. The first section (A) is twenty-eight measures of dominant prolongation; sustained open octave drones create a static effect that is matched by the very sparse and slow moving melody line and minimalistic text that repeats the single syllable “ah” (see Example 3.1a). The B section likewise has unchanging accompanimental figuration, a very simple melody and texture, and sustains dominant harmony throughout (Example 3.1b). The tonic (of C Major) is first heard upon arrival of the C section, which also brings the waltz, already anticipated at the outset by the tempo marking T o di valse (Example 3.1c). 189 The satisfaction of achieving both tonic and waltz proper after the anticipation that had built in both A and B sections is playfully countered by an unexpected return to the text of the opening. The very short text of this number follows a ternary pattern that conflicts with the more teleological ABC design of the music: “Ah! Ah! Ah! Oui c’est l’amour qui pénètre en ce jour tout mon être! Ah! Ah! Ah!”190 The duo is incomplete, but the unfinished state of the final section introduces another playful paradox that certainly would have delighted Chabrier (if in fact he had not intended for the piece to remain very nearly as is). As it stands, the waltz section is an eight-measure miniature. The abrupt deflation of expectations after two distinct sections with inflated introductory rhetoric together with the other paradoxical disjunctions observed indicate that Chabrier’s skill at producing multileveled humorous structural paradox is already developed in this early work. 188 Following the discussion of this concept in Chapter 1, “disjunction” (or “switch”) is a term used in humour studies to indicate a provocative event in which the incongruity mechanism required of humour is activated. 189 Roy Howat identifies this technique of anticipating a tonic from the outset (by sounding dominant and/or predominant sonorities), but delaying resolution to a clear tonic chord as a “modernist” approach to key favoured by Debussy, but neglects to note that this was also a common procedure in Chabrier. See Howat, “Modernization: From Chabrier and Fauré to Debussy and Ravel,” 207. The technique is also found in the trio in Vaucochard and in the title character’s air from Fisch-ton-kan. 190 “Ah! Ah! Ah! Yes, today love penetrates my entire being! Ah! Ah! Ah!” 113 Example 3.1a. Vaucochard, from duo, A section (mm. 1-18). 114 Example 3.1b. Vaucochard, from duo, B section (mm. 29-34). 115 Example 3.1c. Vaucochard, from duo, C section (mm. 38-46). Like that of the duo, the basic musical design of the Chanson de l’homme armé is very simple. This chanson is organized around the varied repetition of its opening melody, but the approximate AA’A’’ + coda scheme that it follows glosses over many anomalies in harmony, melody, orchestration, and style. For instance, each of the three musical entries is heard at a 116 higher pitch level and with increasingly complex harmonic implications, and a lengthy episodic closing section introduces many new topics and themes (this number is analyzed in detail below). The construction of the trio is much more complex than the other numbers of Vaucochard. The piece resists structural classification and is best analyzed as a conglomerate that borrows structural elements from several forms. 191 Like the conventional opérette final, the number is built of contrasting sections that incrementally accumulate texture and accelerate towards a very fast dance in duple meter. An element of ternary is introduced in the penultimate section where the text, the rhythm, the texture, and many details of melodic contour return from the opening vocal section (“Vous le voulez, vous le voulez”), now accompanied by the open fifth ostinato drawn from the instrumental introduction to the number. Like so many Chabrier pieces, this trio begins on the dominant. The tonic (of D Major) is not securely established until measure 57. The lengthy section that begins with this tonic arrival is organized according to sonata principle. The second theme (which is in ♭VI, see m. 91ff.) is a melodic variation of the first and both themes clearly recall the style of grand opéra cabalette melodies. When the second theme is recapitulated in the tonic (m. 124) it initiates a fugato section. This in turn begins a lengthy coda that demonstrates many shifts in motive, texture, and style. The sense of disorder created by the structural confusion is underlined by an abundance of topics and melodic styles, complex key relationships, and sudden changes of texture. The appearance of Death in the postlude, personified in the spoken role of Nécrotas (“entrant tout effaré”), ups the ante, as it were, and instigates an involuntary mania (“ils dansent follement”) that abruptly proves terminal. 191 Roy Howat notes that certain of Chabrier’s formal structures are “so densely and intricately packed… that their forms are impossible to categorize.” See Howat, “Modernization: From Chabrier and Fauré to Debussy and Ravel,” in French Music since Berlioz, 205. 117 Example 3.2. Vaucochard, from trio (mm. 171-187). 118 This presto section introduces a new trumpet fanfare that contrasts with all of the stylistic and topical material heard thus far in the number. It is born of the augmented triad (m. 172) formed by the root and third of B♭ (♭VI) and D (tonic), the two keys between which fanfare segments mechanically oscillate. The same augmented triad is repeated after the second B♭ Major segment (m. 182), providing a closing bookend, effectively containing the harmonic deviation and offering a rationale for the otherwise unjustified juxtaposition of these unrelated keys in the final seconds of the piece (see Example 3.2). 192 Lepelletier claims that the ridiculous scenario of Vaucochard was inspired by the “vaudeville idiot” La Famille Beautrouillard, indicating that it was not purely the product of Verlaine’s imagination.193 Fisch-ton-kan, likewise, has an antecedent in the popular theatre: it is based on the popular “parade chinoise” Fich-tong-khan by Sauvage and Lurieu (Palais Royal, 1835). 194 Moore proposes that Fisch-ton-kan was intended as a sequel to Vaucochard, continuing the mixture of satire and bouffonerie that characterized the earlier work with the action relocated to a fantasy exotic land. 195 The work’s obvious parallels with Offenbach’s Ba-ta-clan provide a further intertextual connection. 192 Another of Chabrier’s typical techniques is to introduce a “wrong note” in various harmonic contexts in the course of a number. B♭had been structurally significant earlier in the trio as the secondary harmonic area (m. 90ff.) of the central sonata form. 193 Cited in Delage, 97; and Moore, 305. 194 This was pointed out by Delage, who provides a synopsis of the Sauvage and Lurieu play; Delage, 101-102. Verlaine reproduced the exact text of the air de Poussah from the original play, and the text of the duo for Fisch- ton-kan and Goulgouly is an adaptation of a dialogue from the model. From this earlier version one can speculate on details of the presumed plot of Chabrier’s opérette. See, Thomas Sauvage and Gabriel de Lurieu, “Fich-tong-khan, ou L’Orphelin de la Tartarie,” in Le Magasin théatral: choix de pièces nouvelles, vol. 1, no. 16 (Paris: Marchant, 1835). 195 Moore, 308. 119 From Chabrier’s piano-vocal manuscript, the only extant source of the opérette Fisch- ton-kan, one can deduce the following scenario: As the trapeze-clown’s body is carried in, coryphées lament the young man’s apparent downfall. 196 Believing him to be dead, they sing a choral lament that is punctuated by anguished cries from the young mandarin Goulgouly. 197 The ugly clown will no longer “sit upon the polished rod.” The mandarin courtier Poussah introduces himself with a jolly air, a self-congratulatory catalogue of his most cherished sins (he is a fat, proud, and greedy glutton). In a complex trio of operatic scope, Kakao, emperor of China, tries to impress Goulgouly, the object of his affection, with his collection of “magots” (grotesque porcelain figures of Chinese heroes’s heads) that speak to him and dance for his entertainment. Goulgouly’s disgust for the emperor is not disguised by her vain flattery; she loves the trapeze-clown Fisch-ton-kan. The latter comments on the horrific scene as he watches Kakao fondle Gougouly, with fetishistic desire growing to maniacal proportions. The young lovers call for help. When Kakao strikes Fisch-ton-kan for insolence, momentary hysteria breaks out before all return trancelike to their earlier deliberation of the porcelain magots. Later, Fisch-ton-kan contemplates his identity: wretched wanderer, forgettable juggler, unloved and alone. But alas, this identity is a façade, he is in fact the prince of Tartary. Goulgouly delights in his legitimacy, they can now publicly celebrate their love. As in Vaucochard, the musical numbers of Fisch-ton-kan follow simple formal designs that are usually complicated by peculiar manipulations. But in general, the latter work is more outwardly conventional and is more consistently based on dance rhythms, as is characteristic of opérette. 198 196 Delage’s edition of the score identifies the unconscious body as that of “Pélikan;” Emmanuel Chabrier, Fisch- ton-kan, ed. Roger Delage (Paris: Éditions françaises de musique, 1974). Moore suggests this character is distinct from Fisch-ton-kan, whose other appearances are missing from the incomplete score, 309. However, we should recall that the opérette was performed under the alternate title Peh-li-kan, the change being motivated entirely by the presence of a well-known contemporaneous “chanson injurieuse” by Antonin Louis (text by Paul Burani) known by the name of Le Sire de Fish-ton-kan; see Delage, 110. It thus seems reasonable to speculate that the eponymous Fisch-ton-kan was replaced wholesale by the clown named “Pélikan” for this performance, and that the two characters are one and the same. 197 In Sauvage and Lurieu, Goulgouly is the daughter of the mandarin courtier Kaout-chouc (this character does not appear in Chabrier’s manuscript). 198 The opening number is a strophic piece for soprano and baritone chorus with brief interjections from Goulgouly. A lengthy introduction on G Phrygian feigns toward the dominant of C Major; the strophe that follows (beginning m. 25) is comprised of two three-measure phrases in C+ (AA); the refrain (two eight-measure phrases, BB) is in C Aeolian; this is followed by a twelve-measure perpetuum mobile extension. Poussah’s air is a jolly 6/8 dance paradoxically in the minor mode (the seventh degree of E minor is often lowered, adding modal ambiguity). It is a simple variation of strophic couplets beginning with the refrain. The trio is in two large parts separated by recitative, following the grand scena format: an allegretto in A minor (ABABA, the B section is a bourrée in the relative 120 The distribution of the five musical numbers is as follows. #1. Petit morceau de scène—Entrée du pitre, “Ah! Quel est ce bruit” (Goulgouly, SB chorus) #4. Air de Poussah, “J’engraisse, mon front brille d’allégresse” (Poussah) #6. Trio, “Ah! mon seigneur!” (Goulgouly, Fisch-ton-kan, Kakao) #8a. Air, “Qui je suis, qui je suis, qui je suis, qui je suis” (Fisch-ton-kan) #8b. Duo, “Ah! Fisch-ton-kan!” (Fisch-ton-kan, Goulgouly) A manuscript in Chabrier’s hand indicates that La Chanson du pal, a number now included in L’Étoile, was originally intended for this opérette.199 The document identifies “Le pal” as “Chant en solo du rôle de Kakao.” The indicated position of #11 would place it after the above listed numbers, but I would suggest that it was possibly intended as an interior number in an alternate, longer version of the opera. 200 In the song, Fisch-ton-kan is to be impaled for insubordination and he and Kakao debate the benefits and detractions of impalement, the form of torture “le plus fécond en délices” (the most fertile in delights).201 Readers of Chapter 2 will note many similarities between the plot outlines of these two opérettes and that of Offenbach’s Ba-ta-clan: a bizarre exotic locale ruled by a tyrant-clown, the latent threat of violence, ugly or degenerate characters, mistaken identities, and comically derived names posing as naive nonsense exotica. Fisch-ton-kan might even be interpreted as a major) is followed by a cabalette-contredanse that begins in an ambiguous mode but settles into a clear A major and ends with a strette coda. Fisch-ton-kan’s air is melodically a clear strophe-refrain (AABC) form, but again withholds the solid arrival of the tonic until the refrain and a declamatory recitative is heard between the strophes. The duo is a love duet, its main section a lyrical barcarolle with voices entwined in shifting points of imitation. 199 BnF Mus., MS 3909. 200 The work’s larger scope and the inclusion of more conventional numbers prompts this speculation. Also, Delage catalogues Fisch-ton-kan as an opéra bouffe, which also implies a larger, probably three-act work, 693. 201 Delage proposes an autobiographical element in the homoerotic sadism demonstrated by the emperor in Verlaine’s text, especially in his fixation on impalement and in Fisch-ton-kan’s identity crisis provoked by living a false life. Delage, 100-102. 121 direct parody of Ba-ta-clan. Parallels extend well beyond basics of plot synopsis and the generally transgressive aesthetic of the libretto. We find Verlaine reproducing some of Offenbach-Halévy’s favourite devices such as syllabified text distributed between the voices (for example, “ô-dou-leur” in the entrée du pitre), the use of familiar terms (for example, “les jolis magots avec leurs grelots me semblent moins sots que ce Kakao” is the basis of the dance refrain of the Fisch-ton-kan trio), 202 non-lexical vocables (“tra-lou-ï lou tra-lou-ï la” in the refrain of Poussah’s air), and there are instances of laughter, tears, and swooning (“Ah ah ah…”) throughout the score. The “Je suis” introductions of opérette also appear. For instance, the phrase “Je suis Poussah” appears at the end of the refrain of the courtier’s air and the refrain of Fisch- ton-kan’s “Qui je suis, qui je suis” begins “Je suis Fisch-ton-kan, je suis Fisch-ton-kan.” The irony of this emphatic pronouncement is immediately revealed: following this refrain is a declamatory passage that reveals this character’s true identity as “vingtième enfant de la Tartarie…” (twentieth child of Tartary…). More localized parallels with Ba-ta-clan can also be found in both of these Chabrier opérettes. For instance, Fé-ni-han’s “macaroni” gong-hat finds a counterpart with the “homme armé” of Vaucochard, who wears pompoms on his cap, and Fisch-ton-kan’s emphatic declaration of identity includes the line “Je suis Fisch-ton-kan, le seul, le vrai, l’unique,” almost an exact quote from Ba-ta-clan (recall: “Fé-ni-han, le vrai, le seul, l’unique”). The context of this phrase is similar in both pieces as both of these characters are imposters and will soon reveal their true identities. Fé-ni-han, to recall, is in reality a Frenchman; but Fisch-ton-kan, in contrast, is Tartar, a true indigen. This points to one of the many important aesthetic differences between the two operas: while Ba-ta-clan forces a rapprochement to Paris of 1850s by repeatedly 202 “These pretty grotesques with their little bells seem less foolish to me than this Kakao.” 122 introducing elements of the Parisian landscape into Fé-ni-han’s fictional “China,” Vaucochard and Fisch-ton-kan, in contrast, avoid such references to daily life, instead using Louis Napoléon’s Paris as a satirical point of departure. Many of the satirical jabs in these works seem elusive today and are arguably more subtle than the bêtises of Ba-ta-clan, speaking to a narrower and more erudite audience than did Offenbach’s works at the Bouffes. C.H. Moore unpacks the connotations of Vaucochard’s “bobêche” dynasty: The name ‘Vaucochard,’ inherently vulgar and stupid, suggesting as in its original spelling [Veaucochard] “tête de veau” and “veau d’argent” as well as one of Chabrier’s favorite oaths, “cochon d’argent,” finds its full sense in Verlaine’s “bobêchard.” Drawing on the ludicrous project of a “bobêche” factory, it hits the mark in recalling Bobèche, illustrious buffoon of the First Empire. The glabrous calf’s head and Napoleon III’s pale, listless face merge in Bobèche’s comical mask of lifeless stupidity. Taking on this identity, Vaucochard enters into the ‘clown’ theme of Verlaine’s poetry.203 Moore also points out the numerous layers attending Vaucochard’s proposal that Aglaé and Médéric pose as a couple and the adulation the king is given by the secret lovers as a result: “As well as from the underlying satire of Napoleon III’s amorous affairs, the comic arises from the ‘double entendre’ of flattery accented by Vaucochard’s gullibility and from the mere semblance of success attending his monumental stupidity.”204 It should be noted that another important dynamic, archetypal in opérette, also plays into this situation: that of confused identity. Do we ever know who is in disguise? Whose posturings can be taken at face value? It is not even entirely clear in the manuscript to whom Aglaé refers when she sings of her secret rendezvous in the forests, boudoirs, and carriages around town. 203 Moore, 306. In its similarity to the French noun “clochard,” “cochard” also suggests a vagrant or vagabond aspect to this character. 204 Ibid., 308. 123 The licentious suggestion of sexual role playing leaves behind the innocent “bon goût” of Offenbach’s G-rated buffoonery. Suggestive lyrics abound in these numbers, the following exchange from the trio of Fisch-ton-kan, using the verb “jouir” that in French refers specifically to sexual pleasure, being one of the cruder examples: Kakao: De ce spectacle immonde, ma Goulgouly tu vas jouir Goulgouly: Ah! j’en jouis d’avance205 The explicit sexuality that sets these opérettes apart is not entirely gratuitous. Genuine love always underpins actual sexual relationships. Love is an important theme in all Chabrier operas, romantic relationships motivate the actions of central characters, and, notably, love is the one theme the he routinely treats “seriously.” That is, ironic subtexts are generally absent in these relationships and expressions of love are the purest lyrical moments of the scores (for example, the barcarolle at the end of the duo between Fisch-ton-kan and Goulgouly). Exultant love, however, is ironized by its grotesque surroundings. 206 The grotesque, which undermines the assumed mutual exclusivity of seemingly opposite semantic categories specifically by combining the “ludicrous with the horrifying,” takes a markedly more pronounced role in these pieces than in the Second Empire works of Offenbach and Hervé. 207 For instance, the pure love relationship between Aglaé and Médéric—evidenced by the unison writing, expressive harmonies, and shared text in their duo, and their division of the main melody 205 Kakao: My Goulgouly, you will delight in this vile spectacle Goulgouly: Ah! I delight in advance 206 After D. C. Muecke: “To ironize something is [in the class of simple irony] to place it, without comment, in whatever context will invalidate or correct it; to see something as ironic is to see it in such a context” D.C. Muecke, The Compass of Irony (London: Methuen, 1969), 23. 207 In Esti Sheinberg’s words, the grotesque is “an unresolvable ironic utterance, a hybrid that combines the ludicrous with the horrifying,” explaining further that “juxtapositions of aesthetic units that form contradictory semantic pairs such as tragic/comic, terrifying/ludicrous or ugly/beautiful are interpreted… as unresolvable hybrids, or grotesques,” Esti Sheinberg, Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich: A Theory of Musical Incongruities (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 207. For a semiotic consideration of the grotesque in a late modernist work with many stylistic and thematic parallels to these nineteenth-century antecedents, see Yayoi Uno Everett, “Signification of Parody and the Grotesque in György Ligeti’s Le grand macabre,” Music Theory Spectrum 31 (2009), 26-52. 124 and frequent imitative entries in the trio—serves as the main agent of dramatic unity and gives the goofy and sometimes frightening antics of Vaucochard and his court a stable departure point. It can hardly be overlooked that the idyllic romance is nested amidst the clumsy king’s lustful extortion on the local level and the threat of violent attack on the more global level. Similarly, persons or objects are frequently identified by conflicting qualities. To take an example from the opening number of Fisch-ton-kan, the baritone coryphées successively describe Poussah as both “grand et laid” and as “joli, si joli.” In his charming and comic air, ironically in the minor mode, Poussah sings the praises of his most repulsive attributes. 208 Grotesque ironies also operate in broader instances as well in these opérettes: most notably, violent revolt as comedy is the basic subject matter of both works. In Vaucochard in particular, violence in a comic context is even more alarming than it is in Offenbach’s earlier works (or in nineteenth-century farce in general, of which it also characteristic) because the threat of violence is replaced by Death itself. The Chanson de l’homme armé likewise joins the horrifying with the ludicrous and this piece presents a singular instance in Chabrier’s comic operas where the music actually becomes frightening. A detailed analysis of this number seems warranted for several reasons. First, it exemplifies the significant musical departures from generic standards that are characteristic of Chabrier’s opérettes. Of particular note, the wild extravagance of the text extends to the music in these works, a feature distinctly not typical of the genre. Also significant is the ironic approach to standard generic procedures—Chabrier rarely uses structure as mere scaffolding for tuneful melodies, these opérettes privilege memorable effects over memorable tunes. As we have seen, Chabrier characteristically evokes conventional structural formulas in order to ironize or undermine them by introducing unexpected tonal relationships, unusual proportions, or 208 Elsewhere, Fisch-ton-kan describes his costume as a “grotesque habit.” Kakao’s bizarre relationship with his bobble-heads, whose dancing he describes as a “spectacle immonde,” also contributes to the overarching grotesque aesthetic of the work. 125 stylistically incongruent components—all of these are present in the Chanson de l’homme armé. Secondly, and of even more immediate interest to the present study, the musical humour in this piece is sophisticated and intricately designed. A variety of destabilizing mechanisms is present and the playful disjunctions that mark the discourse as humorous are calculated to invade different musical parameters independently, coming into focus only incrementally. Finally, many of the bold aberrations heard in this number can be considered fundamental to Chabrier’s mature humour technique—the ambiguities and enigmas of his mature style, exemplified in Le Roi malgré lui, are often elucidated when considered as sublimations of the more blatantly expressed multilayered play found here. The number begins with a drumroll ostinato, which brings military associations germane to the scene of impending battle (see Example 3.3). In piano-vocal reduction the formulaic vamp is unremarkable, the rhythm is stable and the pitches clearly establish a tonal center of D. This accords with the key signature of one flat, which, incidentally, is the key signature traditionally associated with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century settings of the famous “l’homme armé” song, after which this chanson appears to be elliptically based. 209 The orchestration, however, works against such regularity: Chabrier orchestrated each beat of the measure differently using a variety of brass and percussion instruments, which lends an excess of timbral colour and a grotesque eccentricity to the commonplace formula (see Figure 3.1). Using only the dimension of orchestration, Chabrier provokes disengagement from “normal” discursive procedures.210 This 209 Enigmatically, Chabrier never uses the famous “homme armé” melody. On the presence of Renaissance “l’homme armé” settings in nineteenth-century Paris, see Katharine Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). Ellis indicates references to Josquin’s Mass made by Fétis in 1832 (Ellis, 24) and that Tiersot spoke of chanson-based masses, including “l’homme armé” settings, in the 1890s (Ellis, 171-173). 210 Comic disengagement is central to philosopher John Morreall’s general account of humorous amusement: “the playful enjoyment of a cognitive shift is expressed in laughter.” John Morreall, Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 49. By “normalcy” I refer to the “bona-fide” use of musical language and procedure, whereby a listener might reasonably expect to interpret what he or she hears at “face 126 Figure 3.1. Vaucochard, opening of "Chanson de l'homme armé." Bibliothèque nationale de France, Musique (MS 20639). first signal to the listener that the ostensible earnestness of the scene is in jest establishes a “play frame” that prompts the disinterested interpretive stance required of “humorous amusement.”211 Soloist Douyoudou (whose name is an existential twist on the English greeting “How do you do?”) then enters with the melody, which is unaccompanied other than by the ostinato bass. value.” See Victor Raskin on the “non-bona-fide mode of communication” that is used in joke-telling, Semantic Mechanisms of Humor (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1985), 100-104. 211 The concept of “play frame” is central in William Fry’s classic study of humour. William Fry, Sweet Madness: A Study of Humor (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1968), 119-172. 127 This texture together with its unusually sculpted contour gives the melody the personality of a fugue subject. The eight-measure phrase displays numerous characteristics that depict the frightful appearance of the barbaric “homme terrible effroyable épouvantable” depicted in the text (mm. 5-12). 212 Beginning on the fifth scale degree the melody quickly plunges to the lower tonic, an unusually low tessitura for a female voice. Note the leap of a fifth, also associated with the Renaissance “l’homme armé” song. The whole-tone oscillation around the tonic that follows has been identified by Delage as something of a signature phrase for Chabrier. 213 After three complete measures in this low range, the melody quickly climbs a fifth for a registral accent and a lone melisma emphasizing the word “diable.” The melodic asymmetry is matched by an unusual rhythmic profile—the stability of the clichéd drumroll vamp, the opening sustained quarter in the melody and the ornamental grace of the following sextuplet turn are quickly replaced by choppy eighth notes and jagged dotted rhythms. No two measures repeat the same rhythmic pattern. 212 The text of this excerpt translates as: Douyoudou: The terrible, dreadful, appalling man, with a more than suspicious appearance, indeed has the look of a devil. Chorus: Be wary! Douyoudou: He has fangs, tail, and horns; his beard, from which floats a vapour, is [that of a sapper] 213 Delage traces the appearance of this motif throughout Chabrier’s oeuvre. See, for instance, Delage, 102-103, 195, 265, 292, 325, 394, and 396. 128 Example 3.3. Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé (mm.1-18). 129 130 131 A three-measure continuation (mm. 13-15) begins with the signature lament motif of descending Phrygian tetrachord. This is actually an echo in augmentation of the melodic segment sung by the chorus in the previous measure to the word “diable.” The words “sois circonspect” introduce the second important textual theme of the fifteenth-century “homme armé” song—fear and alarm. In measures 14-15, the “serious” subject matter, while first set to the serious lament motif, is given burlesque expression with histrionic slow appoggiaturas humorously emphasizing the “suspense” of the situation; note the bass exclamation “Ah!” with expressive dynamic marking. 214 To this point the harmony has alternated between tonic and dominant exclusively, with some superficial coloration in measures 9-10 whose greater significance will be realized retrospectively. Such harmonic stability in Chabrier is usually indicative of strangeness to come, whereby oddities (such as unprepared dissonances, unexpected progressions, and unorthodox modulations) are introduced one at a time, systematically becoming more inexplicable with respect to “normal” harmonic language and consequently ironizing the simplicity of the initial process. 215 Harmonic destabilization begins as the soloist presents a second entry of the opening melody (beginning m. 16). It now enters a fifth higher, much like a typical fugal answer, and with counterpoint moving in parallel with the melody—but the statement is now heard over a dissonant F pedal. Harmonically, this single glitch begins a process of gradual deterioration. This first indication of disengagement in purely harmonic terms is only understood as such in retrospect, unlike the more instantly perceived oddities of orchestration, melody, and rhythm. 214 Following the use of the term in Chapter 2, to “burlesque” is to treat an exalted subject with low or trivial means, or vice versa. 215 See the nocturne in Le Roi malgré lui for a large-scale manifestation of this principle. 132 Example 3.4. Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé (mm. 26-38). 133 134 135 Much more unusual is the third entry of the “subject” (beginning m. 27, see Example 3.4) where the melody is built on the notes of the French augmented sixth on D♭ that provides the harmonic basis of the phrase. The augmented sixth sounded in measures 27-28 belongs to the key of F (the B♮ is not heard until m. 28) and is approached chromatically from a harmonically distant E Major chord (as V of A minor). The unexpected and unprepared F tonality is all the more unusual for relying on this chromatic predominant chord for its implications towards a tonic that is not sounded even once in the twelve-measure phrase that it initiates. After eight measures the melodic unit is structurally complete, but the unresolved harmony forces a continuation whereby Chabrier introduces a new four-measure episode that resolves the augmented sixth to V 7 of F minor (mm. 35-38). A new melodic figure is heard in the accompaniment overlapping these last two units (mm. 28-38). This is a quotation from the famous military song (now known also as a children’s song) “La casquette du père Bugeaud.” The text of the quoted refrain, “As tu vu la casquette?” (Have you seen the cap?), refers the listener to the imagery of the warrior’s pompom-bearing cap. Rather than an element of authenticity or rapprochement, the intrusion of the martial tune from the “real world” lends an eerie effect to the scene serving as an uncanny reminder of the external reality that presupposes the dream world. The pure diatonicity of the bugle call also provides uncanny relief from the harmonic instability of the passage’s chromatic wavering between the inverted augmented sixth, with signature B♮ often in the bass, and seventh chords built on B♭. The E♭4/2 (m. 35) resolves the B♭7 that concluded the previous segment (m. 34), but this secondary process is merely an overlaid diversion complicating and interrupting the larger harmonic goal of resolving the augmented sixth to C, which finally occurs in measure 38. 136 Example 3.5. Vaucochard, from Chanson de l’homme armé, postlude (mm. 45-60). 137 Cleverly, the augmented sixth is heard resolving through the E♭ interference.216 This important harmonic resolution paradoxically marks an organizational point of no return and the clear structure of the number dissolves, surrendering the music to the process of becoming unhinged. The dismantling of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic normalcy already observed now extends to structure; the formal organization is reduced to episodic sequences of stylistically diverse exclamations. The postlude (Example 3.5)—saturated with chromaticism, ornamental figures (runs in the woodwinds are not indicated in the reduction), and incoherent fragments— seems to indicate a world gone berserk. With an extended G pedal the number appears to be moving towards closure in C minor (the root of which had been emphasized since the appearance of C 7 in m. 38 as the resolution to the augmented sixth on D♭) but the harmony veers suddenly back to the D tonic for an authentic cadence blemished by a jazz-age ♯7. The chaotic amalgam of incongruous idioms, topics, and intertextual references encountered in this number—martial drum topic, lament motif, contrapuntal idioms, modal inflections, references to a Renaissance song famous for its “inappropriate” use in sacred music, real-world military song—contributes to the out-of-control affect already noted in various musical parameters and in the text. From the perspective of humour analysis, the significance of these various elements is that their contrapuntal interplay is animated by the spirit of play. Taken as individual quirks they would merit note as eccentric singularities, but many are not particularly humorous in isolation. It is the excess of oddities with which Chabrier saturates the 216 The harmonic progression through this section—the fundamental movement is from German augmented sixth on D♭(see Example 3.4, m. 27ff.), to B♭ 7, to E ♭4/2, to C7—might also be analyzed as a sequential variant of the “échange des dominants,” also known as “omnibus,” progression described in French harmony texts of the early twentieth century. The “exchange” is between two chords of dominant seventh structure whereby two inner voices share common tones and the two outer voices move in stepwise contrary motion. I would like to thank William Benjamin for pointing this out to me. Chabrier’s manipulation of this progression invites further analysis, for even if his substitution of augmented sixth chord for the first V 7 and his camouflaging of the technique with various voice exchanges do not obfuscate the device entirely, his peculiar melody that relies on the notes of the German sixth pushes the application to the point of caricature. 138 piece, organizing the independently wayward elements into a trajectory of increasing hysteria that gives the pieces its strangely vital aesthetic and its undeniable humour. It has been fundamental to my argument that Chabrier’s systematic disengagement from conventional procedures in different musical parameters allows the listener to enjoy the excesses and transgressions as humour. Chabrier relieves his listeners of their interestedness by systematically pulling the pins of normalcy. This disengagement is in contrast to the courtiers who perform this ironic conglomerate naively accepting the monstrous “homme armé” at face value and in full earnestness. The ultimate paradox of this piece might then be the genuinely frightening effect provoked by the calculated humorous disjunctions. To return to generic opérette norms, we might recall Offenbach’s formulaic approach to text setting in Ba-ta-clan. The humour of the insensitive text-music relationship in Fé-an-nich- ton’s romance resulted from the text seemingly being grafted onto Offenbach’s invulnerable melodic structures with no allowance made for the French accent tonique or natural phrase rhythm of the spoken language (Chapter 2, Example 2.5). In Vaucochard and in Fisch-ton-kan, Chabrier often does the opposite, sculpting the melody and distributing the text in an overtly humorous manner. For example, in the refrain of Aglaé’s sérénade the steady oom-pah accompaniment depicts a trotting horse, which in turn generates the “pleasant” bumpiness of the lovers encounter in the carriage above that is humorously reflected in the young girl’s octave jumps (Example 3.6). 139 Example 3.6. Vaucochard, from sérénade (mm. 42-47) The Chanson de l’homme armé provides another vivid example of humorous text setting. In general, the long opening melody (mm. 5-12) with its jagged rhythms and jerking contour captures the wildness of the scene. More specifically, the fast patter and blustering turn on “homme terrible effroyable” suggests the grotesque physicality of the armed man. The humour is heightened by the semantically neutral “c’est” that opens the phrase on a sustained note giving the histrionic effect of one pausing to catch one’s breath before an exciting recitation. The low register and repeated notes in measures 6 and 8 capture the mock-horror of the vivid scene. When the main subject returns in measure 16 and again in measure 27 the increasingly grotesque image depicted in the text (“Il possède crocs, queue, et cornes, sa barbe où flotte une vapeur est 140 d’un sapeur, et son grand grand sabre est sans bornes” and “Sa voix fait un bruit de tempête et son regard n’est point capon, un gros pompom se balance sur sa casquette…”217) is reflected in the higher melodic register and the increasingly dissonant and unexpected harmonies. Unlike Offenbach, Chabrier makes no apologies for the barbaric excesses of the text, he instead employs numerous musical devices to hyperbolize its comic crudeness. In Vaucochard and in Fisch-ton-kan a single unifying style is far less likely to be present throughout a number than was typical in the examples by Offenbach (and also Hervé and Lecocq) discussed in Chapter 2. In marked contrast to the inoculating formulas that domesticated the wild gestures of the libretto of Ba-ta-clan, a mixture of topics and styles, which might include brief episodes based on dance rhythms, heightens the comic barbarie of Chabrier’s texts. The trio of Fisch-ton-kan demonstrates a mixture of topics and textures that is even more pronounced than that encountered in the Chanson de l’homme armé. As illustrated in Example 3.7, the ensemble includes passages of bourrée (7a), lyrical melody in counterpoint with comic patter (7b), declamatory recitative (7c), contredanse (7d), imitative fanfare above perpetuum mobile fiddle (7e), evocations of hysterical laughter (7f), and galop (7g). 217 “He has fangs, tail, and horns; a vapour floats from his sapper’s beard, and his huge, huge sword is without end,” and “His voice rattles like a storm and his look is not at all cowardly, a large pompom swings from his little cap.” Sappers were military engineers traditionally known for their large beards. 141 Example 3.7a. Bourrée topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 20-23). Example 3.7b. Layered counterpoint, lyrical melody with comic patter, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 36-39). 142 Example 3.7c. Declamatory recitative, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 123-125). Example 3.7d. Contredanse topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 133-137). 143 Example 3.7e. Imitative vocal fanfares with fiddle, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 148-151). Example 3.7f. Hysterical laughter, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 192-196). 144 Example 3.7g. Galop topic, Fisch-ton-kan, from trio (mm. 233-241). 145 Chabrier’s musical treatment of the exotic subject also stands in sharp contrast to the comic chinoiserie of Ba-ta-clan, very little of which is manifest in the music (even the most “exotic” numbers—the quatuor chinois and the march “Le Ba-ta-clan”—sound more comically raucous than exotic). Chabrier’s signature modal writing, which often extends to his harmonies, colours every number except for the two love duets. The orchestration of Vaucochard is generally quite sparse and makes limited use of strings, emphasizing instead flutes (for example, the chromatic runs in the Chanson de l’homme armé, m. 27 and m. 46), low winds, and percussion (the latter two are prominent in Aglaé’s sérénade). The timbres of these more “colouristic” instruments are typically associated with exotic evocations. The static harmonies, drone basses, dense chromatic passages, and frequent diminished and augmented intervals that can be found throughout the scores would all have been easily identified as exotic markers in the 1860s. A final noteworthy characteristic of these works is the degree of musical sophistication, which far exceeds the norms of their genre. This is true of all of Chabrier’s comic operas. Complex harmonic progressions, unusual key relationships, contrapuntal passages, sophisticated and irregular rhythms, stylistic mixture, modal inflections, vivid orchestration, and highly evocative melodies are indicative of a high art perspective that is atypical in the explicitly popular genre of opérette. Chabrier’s complex musical formulations and the risqué themes introduced in Vaucochard and in Fisch-ton-kan support the speculations that these pieces were intended for the elite audience of an intellectual salon—a type of venue that has been shown to be more receptive to avant-garde experimentation. 218 It might also be partially understood from 218 Ross, “Music in the French Salon,” 93. Although the Parisian salonnière as patron for light theatrical music is a subject that awaits rigorous study, it would appear that the artistic salon was a venue of considerable importance in the history of opérette: all three of Chabrier’s one-act opérettes were apparently destined for performance at a “cercle” or salon and we know that Éducation manquée was slated with two other one-act works at its premiere in 146 this perspective that the shocking transgressions, general crudeness, and almost chaotic amalgam of styles and procedures seen in these works are considerably toned down in L’Étoile, which was composed for the public Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens. L’Étoile The opéra bouffe L’Étoile (1877) was Chabrier’s first major work to be publicly performed. Chabrier was introduced to the established team of librettists Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo in 1875 by a mutual friend, the painter Gaston Hirsch. 219 Impressed by Chabrier’s musical and dramatic verve, the pair promptly agreed to furnish him with a text. 220 The scenario would incorporate adaptations of two numbers that Chabrier had included as part of his impromptu audition: the romance “O petite étoile” and a chorus on the subject of impalement. Chabrier quickly completed the score without any prospect for performance. Having agreed to an audition, Charles Comte, then director of the Bouffes-Parisiens, was treated to what must have been an impressive spectacle: with characteristic pianistic virtuosity and “sa mauvaise voix de compositeur, contre laquelle il pestait lui-même et qui, dans les notes élevées voisinait d’assez près avec le miaulement du chat ou le galoubet du canard,” Chabrier performed the entire score. 221 Comte was persuaded and the work was slated for fall 1877. 1879. Furthermore, there are numerous works in the opérette repertory of the mid- to late-nineteenth century that are designated “opérette de salon” in the printed score, including Lecocq’s Le Baiser à la porte and Liline et Valentin (both of 1864), and Un Billet de logement (1861) and Souvenirs d’enfance (1875) by one F. Mahoudeau. 219 Leterrier and Vanloo had achieved considerable success earlier in the decade with librettos for three opéras bouffes set to music by Charles Lecocq: Giroflé-Girofla (1874), La Petite mariée (1875), and La Marjolaine (1877). 220 Vanloo recalls his first impressions of Chabrier and the conditions surrounding the initiation of the collaboration in Albert Vanloo, Sur le plateau: souvenirs d’un librettiste (Paris: P. Ollendorff, 1913), 200-203; reproduced in Delage, 186-187. 221 Vanloo’s humorous description translates roughly as: “his awful composer’s voice, which he railed against with curses; in the high register his tone approached that of a cat’s meow or a duck’s chatter,” Vanloo, 203. Vanloo also discusses the performance negotiations with Comte and the details surrounding the rehearsals, 203-206; the lengthy passage is reproduced in Delage, 188-191. 147 The premiere (Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, 28 November 1877) garnered reviews in many major Parisian journals, exposing Chabrier to the attention of a wider musical community than was previously possible. The published reviews were mixed: most critics agreed that Chabrier’s talent set him apart from other opéra bouffe composers and that the score contained many inventive charms, but the praise was tempered by complaints of “Wagnerism,” inexperience, and forced originality based on excess and eccentricity. 222 Several composers, including Henri Duparc and Vincent d’Indy, recognized the quality and originality of the work with unqualified enthusiasm. 223 After a brief run of forty-seven performances troubled by casting difficulties, argumentative performers, and low receipts, the work was dropped in January of 1878. 224 Although L’Étoile would not be revived during Chabrier’s lifetime and the production did not procure him any future commissions, the score was published by the firm of Wilhelm Enoch thereby establishing a lifelong relationship between composer and editor. 225 L’Étoile continues in a similar aesthetic vein and engages many of the same themes as Chabrier’s earlier opérettes, though in general the crude extravagances of Vaucochard and of Fisch-ton-kan are camouflaged under a veneer of cheeky refinement. Like the earlier pieces, L’Étoile connects to the bouffe spirit of the Second Empire opérettes and opéras bouffes that was 222 Delage provides an overview of contemporary criticism and quotes excerpts of reviews from Le Figaro (20 November), Le Charivari (1 December 1877), Le Ménestrel (2 December), L’art musical (6 December 1877), and Paris-Théâtre (6-12 December), 197-200. Delage later cites an article from 1887 in which Chabrier is quoted as saying “L’Étoile was a flop,” 201. 223 Delage, 204-205. 224 The last performance was 13 January 1878. Rollo Myers indicates that there were forty-eight performances and that while the work was said to have been cancelled due to a performer’s illness. Myers, Emmanuel Chabrier and His Circle (London: J. M. Dent, 1969), 18. In reality the run was likely terminated due to a contractual stipulation that promised increased royalties to the artists after fifty performances. 225 The piano-vocal score, reduction by Léon Roques (conductor of the Bouffes), was published in 1877 by Enoch, père et fils (plate stamp E.P. et F. 258). All musical examples from L’Étoile that appear in this dissertation are taken from this edition. The libretto was also promptly published (Paris: A. Allouard, 1877). Chabrier’s full-score manuscript is located at BnF Mus., MS 8525. 148 no longer the primary trend in the 1870s (see Chapter 2). Likewise, it is a humorous portrayal of a fictional exotic kingdom, the primitive views and violent tendencies of which are treated with mock gravity. The plot is complicated with farcical twists (mistaken identity, misunderstandings, and coups de théâtre) that systematically derail the action and preclude any sense of natural denouement thereby lending the work a pronounced “funny nightmare” effect. At the dramatic center is a love relationship that, for all its earnestness, is not free from crude sexual suggestion. But in accordance with the more tempered aesthetic of L’Étoile, the “rough edges” of Vaucochard and Fisch-ton-kan are smoothed over. In particular, the violence is not as savage or as frightening, and the treatment of sexuality is far less crass and is usually veiled by metaphor. The libretto reproduces many situations and dramatic themes of Fisch-ton-kan and Delage has shown that L’Étoile is based, at least in part, on this work. As already indicated, Chabrier had originally composed the “couplets du pal” for the earlier opérette (though both text and music were revised for its inclusion in L’Étoile). In L’Étoile Fisch-ton-kan is reincarnated as Lazuli, Goulgouly as Princess Laoula, and Kakao becomes King Ouf. Numerous parallels will be evident from the detailed synopsis that follows. 226 Act I. King Ouf (tenor) customarily celebrates his birthday with a public execution, but, having no condemned criminal available for the task he steals about town incognito seeking a suitable victim. All are on guard. Meanwhile, a foursome is travelling from the neighbouring kingdom of Mataquin—the Princess Laoula (soprano); Hérisson de Porc Épic, ambassador of Mataquin (baritone); Aloès, his wife (mezzo-soprano); and Tapioca, his secretary (tenor)—disguised as travelling merchants of novelty products. Without her knowledge, the princess is being brought to marry Ouf. She is also inexplicably posing as Hérisson’s wife. Also en route to Ouf’s kingdom is the peddler Lazuli (mezzo-soprano), who has attracted the attention of the ladies. The young man 226 Reproducing the synopsis of the “parade chinoise” Fisch-tong-khan, the model for Verlaine’s libretto, Delage reveals parallels between L’Étoile and the earlier scenario that are not discernible from the fragments of Fisch-ton- kan that I have discussed above: not only are both Fisch-ton-kan and Lazuli condemned to death by impalement, but both narrowly escape death by a farcical turn of events that places them under the official protection of the court; the love interest of both heroes is coveted by the ruler, who in turn mandates his subjects to outrageous and sadistic ceremonies. Delage, 101-102. 149 sleeps under the evening star after singing a sentimental romance. The girls delight in tickling Lazuli, who playfully joins in a “tickling trio.” Laoula and Lazuli fall in love. Ouf arrives and succeeds in rousing Lazuli’s temper and the youth impetuously strikes him. A victim has been found—Lazuli will be impaled within the hour. All rejoice and celebrate the delights of impalement. However, the court astrologer Siroco (bass) interrupts the festivities announcing that the peddler’s fate is inconveniently linked to the King’s: the two will die within one day of each other (Siroco too is implicated in this predicament, for Ouf has stipulated in his testament that his astrologer is to join him in the afterlife within fifteen minutes). “Le pal” is promptly replaced by the king’s “palanquin” and Lazuli is ushered into the palace as an honoured guest. Act II. Lazuli luxuriates in the pleasantries of Ouf’s palace. Ouf and Siroco guard his safety and attempt to appease his impulses: his every wish is their command but his safety will be protected on all outings. Lazuli craves the freedom to be with Laoula and tries to jump out the window. Ouf and Siroco are aghast to learn that Lazuli’s beloved has a husband, no doubt a jealous lunatic! Not at all, Lazuli assures them, reflecting on the usefulness of husbands in extramarital excursions. But he will nevertheless attack if necessary. Ouf determines to imprison Hérisson (Laoula’s supposed husband) in order to avoid this calamity. Laoula and Hérisson enter; the latter explains to the princess that she is to marry Ouf. Hérisson is escorted away and Laoula faints. Lazuli revives her with kisses (Aloès and Tapioca join in for a “kissing quartet”). Laoula secretly reveals her true identity to Lazuli. They delight at the irony when Ouf arranges for the lovers to escape her “husband,” giving them an expense allowance, and laughing with them at the cuckold. They express their appreciation and Ouf basks in the recognition of his ingenuity. Ouf still believes Aloès to be his betrothed and the court prepares for the official presentation of the princess. Nobody appears… except for Hérisson who has escaped from prison. He clarifies the princess’s true identity to Ouf and commands Lazuli be shot in order to rectify the situation. Gunfire is heard. Laoula soon appears and narrates the idyllic tale of the two lovers at sea disrupted by Lazuli’s sudden submersion; the peddler is presumed dead. The chorus expresses condolences at the tragedy in exaggerated swoons. Ouf and Siroco despair. Act III. It is the next day and the body has not been found. Ouf and Siroco believe they will die within the hour. The chief of police arrives with the news that Lazuli’s clothing has been retrieved and pronounces him dead. Ouf and Siroco exit in search of a drink. Lazuli returns secretly, singing of his underwater adventures. Ouf and Siroco return inebriated and debate striking the clause that commands the astrologer’s death. They agree to have another cordial to strengthen their nerves: green Chartreuse this time. Laoula laments Lazuli’s death and Aloès consoles her with carefree couplets explaining that grief is as fleeting as a husband’s charms. Laoula calls out to her beloved, which prompts Lazuli to emerge from hiding. They celebrate his return and plan to meet up outside the city limits. Ouf returns in good spirits and determines to marry Laoula within the hour. She should be grateful that she will quickly be widowed and free to be with Lazuli, but Laoula reflects that a rose, once plucked, is not the same. The court orchestra begins a wedding hurdy-gurdy and the chorus welcomes the magistrate. Ouf gropes after Laoula, hoping to ascertain his legacy of “un petit Ouf.” Siroco reminds him that the time has come, and the wedding is forgotten. Ouf primps 150 himself to properly demonstrate the departure of an Ouf. Tunes are sentimentally recollected and the clock strikes the fatal hour. Nothing happens—Ouf and Siroco are surprised to find themselves alive and well. The police chief rushes in, having arrested Lazuli at the city gate. Ouf declares that the wedding ceremony will begin anew. Lazuli will surely die! In the final couplet, Lazuli, Laoula, and Aloès turn to the audience and, to the refrain of the “couplets du pal,” invite them to return for many future visits. In marked contrast to the playful structures of Vaucochard and of Fisch-ton-kan, many of the nineteen numbers of L’Étoile employ simple conventional forms with minimal manipulation. 227 Structurally the opera follows the Offenbachian model quite closely. It is even more conservative than Ba-ta-clan, whose strophic numbers used the AABC strophe with considerable flexibility and whose non-strophic numbers employed more complex formal schemes (as was seen in Chapter 2). Also following the Offenbach example, the most overtly humorous moments of L’Étoile use musical parody, travesty, or caricature to mock revered models. 228 For example, the chromatically descending melody line of Lazuli’s celebrated romance de l’étoile recalls Wolfram’s “O du, mein holder Abendstern” from Tannhäuser, also 227 I would speculate that this was due to the structure of Leterrier and Vanloo’s libretto, the larger scale of the work, and Chabrier’s desire to have the work performed at a public theatre. The overture follows the “potpourri” design with contrasting sections based on melodic highlights of the opera, accelerating incrementally towards a presto climax and including a galop as the penultimate section. Fourteen pieces are strophic, mostly in the style of couplets (numbers 1c, 2b, 5b, 6c, 7b, 8, 9, 10, 13b, 14, 15, 16a, 17; 19 contains only one strophe of a couplet). Most of these are close adaptations of the AABC + refrain template, employing the form either directly with symmetrical phrasing (such as numbers 6c, 8, 13b, and 19) or with simple variations similar to those found in Offenbach (in numbers 7b and 14 the C phrase functions as the refrain; in 15 the strophe is only two phrases, each with contrasting sub-phrases divided between the two voices; others show flexible or asymmetrical phrasing, such as numbers 5b, 9, 10, 16a, and 17). Two of the strophic pieces are more liberal in their variation of the model: in the chanson à 2 voix (1c), the repeated A phrase is three measures and a transition is inserted before the four-measure B phrase, which, instead of continuing the strophe, begins the refrain; in the chanson des employés de commerce (2b) the strophe is a simple AABC with an expanded B phrase, but a lengthy modulating digression is inserted before the refrain. Eight of the numbers and the first entr’acte are based on ternary forms (see numbers 1a, 1b, 3, 4, 5a, 13a, 13c, and 18). In several other instances a reprisal of music heard earlier in the scene acts as a framing device (see 2bis, 7bis, and the music following 1c, 5b, and 6c). The simplicity and balanced stability of these structures also extends to the remaining numbers (2a, 6a, 6d, 7a, 11, 12, 13d, and 16b), which are all for chorus or ensemble and generally comprise four- or eight-measure phrases with much repetition and homophonic writing. Four of these include brief phrases of flexible lyrical dialogue embedded in the larger, more regular structure (see numbers 2a, 6a, 11, and 16b). 228 Following the definition of these terms given in Chapter 1, I will employ Gérard Genette’s specific definitions as outlined in Genette, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, trans. Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 25 and 89-98. 151 an Ode to the Evening Star, as Steven Huebner and others have noted (see Examples 3.8a and 3.8b). 229 The romance reproduces the “enchanted” tone, atmospheric orchestration, and regularized accompaniment from this most conventional of Wagner’s famous passages. The horn countermelody and the string tremolo in the return of the A section also recall gestures from Wolfram’s aria and preceding arioso. However, the melody is rhythmically transformed and transplanted into a sentimental song in closed form with an exotic melody (particularly in the B section)—all antithetical to Wagnerian notions of music drama. Also travestied is the beneficiary of the heartfelt prayer: Lazuli, always the opportunist, entreats the heavens for riches, pleasure, and royal stature in contrast to Wolfram’s plea for Elisabeth’s virginal soul.230 Example 3.8a. L’Étoile, opening melody of Lazuli’s romance (mm. 11-14). 229 Steven Huebner, French Opera at the fin de siècle: Wagnerism, Nationalism, and Style (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 283; Delage also points this out, 187. The satirical treatment of Wagner brings to mind the often-quoted complaint of the frustrated orchestral musicians at the Bouffes, “we’re not at the Bouffes to play Wagner;” Vanloo, 205. Example 3.9b is taken from Richard Wagner, Tannhäuser (New York: Schirmer, 1895). 230 In conversation, Professor Huebner has suggested that the humorous deflation of Wagner manifested in this number (and similarly in such works as Chabrier’s Souvenirs de Munich or the Souvenirs de Bayreuth by Fauré and Messager) be described by the apposite term “desublimation.” 152 Example 3.8b. Opening of Wolfram’s “O du mein holder Abendstern” from Tannhäuser. Two other famous numbers, the Act II final and the duetto de la chartreuse verte (Act III), caricature Italian bel canto models. The humour of the Act II final derives from its burlesque treatment of a serious event: Lazuli’s apparent demise, of interest to the court solely for its supposed determining impact on the fates of Ouf and Siroco. The first section of the four-part finale is a chorus that begins with the apparently fatal gunshot followed by a sustained fff tremolo representing the shock of the court (see Example 3.9a). The chorus is essentially a protracted histrionic gasp, neatly contained within a clear ternary structure. Hushed exclamations and pp supplications (“Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!”) are juxtaposed with forte cries of “a retenti” (has resounded). 231 A brief transition consists of a statement by Ouf (“j’en demeure stupide,” mm. 11- 231 The passage reproduced in Example 10a translates as: Chorus: A shot, yes, without a doubt! A shot, incredible, unforeseen! Has resounded. My God! My God! A shot, a shot! 153 Example 3.9a. L’Étoile, from choeur, opening section of Act II final (mm. 1-20). Ouf: I remain without a thought! Siroco: It moistens my eye. Chorus: Is he slain? Or is he not slain? 154 155 156 Example 3.9b. L’Étoile, from Laoula’s couplets, second section of Act II final (mm. 11-24). 157 Example 3.9c. L’Étoile, from Laoula’s couplets, second section of Act II final (mm. 40-42). Example 3.9d. L’Étoile, from choeur des condoléances, third section of Act II final (mm. 11-28). 158 159 12) which is echoed melodically by Siroco (“mon oeil en est humide,” mm. 13-14). They take the situation very seriously, which is reflected in the recitative style and sober German sixth chords (see mm. 11 and 13, both are built on F♮ but are in different “inversions”), especially prominent in a chorus based entirely on I and V. Ouf then begins the choral B section, “Est-il occis?” (Is he slain?), which increases the suspense incrementally. Each entry of the head motif brings new textural layers, all over a staccato dominant pedal. After thirteen measures of contrapuntal buildup, the harmony changes 160 and the question is pounded out one last time in an emphatic fortissimo homorhythm followed by histrionic grand pause. The question proves rhetorical, its investigation is instantly abandoned as form dictates the return of the A section (not shown in Example). The chorus’s apathy will soon be openly acknowledged, drawing further meta-theatrical attention to the fact that the chorus is included merely to fill a necessary conventional role. The following sections reinterpret many of the distinctive features of this opening chorus and increase the burlesque misalignment of the serious subject and its comic expression. Laoula’s archaic couplets (#13b, see Examples 3.9b and 3.9c) also make prominent use of a German 6 th chord at an important structural junction (m. 12, again on F♮ and again inverted), degrade from a serious style to a comic one, this time shamelessly burlesque (see refrain beginning m. 17), and incorporate a shocked utterance from Ouf, shadowed immediately by Siroco (mm. 40-42, Example 4.9c). This instance is even more humorous than the previous one for the couplets adopt the burlesque refrain melody “Et puis crac” (And then crack) with melodramatic seriousness in a slow tempo, the second statement is accompanied by bassoon (note the performance indication “ahuri”). Etiquette demands that the chorus offer condolences: “Ma foi ça nous est bien égal/mais, néanmoins, à la princesses/faisons un compliment banal/ainsi le veut la politesse!” (#13c).232 Again an augmented 6 th chord is used prominently (much of the refrain is based on the French sixth, now on D♭, and its resolution, see Example 3.9d mm. 11, 13, 19, 20, 21, and 22) and right on cue, Ouf, echoed again by Siroco, punctuates the structure with an anguished reflection on his lamentable fate (mm. 24-28). By this point low comedy has supplanted all traces of seriousness: the choeur and final borrow numerous standard opérette techniques from 232 “My word, it’s all the same to us/yet, nevertheless, to the princess/we must offer a banal compliment/as politeness demands!” 161 Offenbach, notably the breaking up of text (“un épouvantable malheur, -pouvantable, - pouvantable”) and the multisectional interior finale based on homorhythmic dances in duple meter with endless repetition of text (ironized here by the assertion “puisqu’il est mort n’en parlons plus”) that accelerates incrementally to a frenzied galop. The number caricatures the overblown seriousness of operatic approaches to inevitable calamity as well as the transparent structural conformity with which such events are habitually expressed. The earnestness is satirically exaggerated before being subverted by the burlesque and coupled with an explicit acknowledgement of its own superfluousness. Similarly, the full impact of the humour of the Chartreuse duet is only achieved when the multiple layers of caricature are apprehended (the complete strophe and refrain are reproduced in Example 3.10). If visual clues do not relate the humour of the piece (Ouf and Siroco wobbling about the stage in full inebriation), the opening music surely does. A repeated broken triad is unremarkable in itself, and the 6/4 position, if somewhat unconventional, is commonplace for Chabrier. The use of triadic clarinet obbligato, however, is a clear reference to the bel canto cantabile. This figure is heard seven times before the voice enters, a few too many by normal operatic standards, satirizing, if rather subtly, the use of repetitive clarinet accompaniments in the works of Bellini and Donizetti. 233 The timbrally prominent trombone bass that is sounded on every beat beginning in measure 3 is far less subtle, giving the effect of belching. Musically representing the inebriated condition of the two buffoons, the misplaced trombone degrades the tragic death of the royal tenor and his loyal servant with a touch of burlesque. The heavily ornamented Bellinian turns decorating the simple triadic scaffolding of the melody are also unlikely to go 233 See, for instance, “Casta diva” from Norma or “Regnava nel silenzio” from Lucia di Lammermoor. 162 unappreciated. Drunkenness might also explain the static repetitions of the clarinet ostinato, the exaggerated melodic decoration, and Ouf’s sentimental dialogue with clarinet (mm. 6 and 8), adding another layer to satire of the ever-popular bel canto aesthetic, particularly its melodic filigree. The melody is especially contorted in the second phrase (mm. 7-10), which, with Siroco’s breathless sputtering octave descent, is now forced to break out of regular rhythmic pulse. The exhausting performance is clipped off with a glib pizzicato arpeggiated dominant. With the refrain comes another layer of caricature: the mock gravity of the royal situation is garnished with exaggerated Baroque pomposity. After a dramatic pause (m. 10), a Handelian ceremonial brass demonstration (mm. 11-12) introduces a refrain based on perky dance rhythms. 234 The burlesque, which I have suggested was anticipated in the trombone “belches,” now takes over completely and the humour derives from the maximal misalignment of the serious subject matter and its coarsely comic expression. The instrumental-like vocal phrases are chopped up with jagged rhythms and inter-syllabic rests and supplemented with histrionic bassline sighs. Chabrier withholds the second syllable of “verte” à l’Offenbach until the final downbeat. This final “-te” delivers extra comic punch for waiting nearly an entire bar of rest before finishing off the melodic sequence begun in measure 17. Only the final tone of the sequential figure is heard, highlighting the structural inconsequentiality of the melodic component. Not only does this gesture emphasize the artifice of the conventional enunciation of the e muet in sung French, and the forced rhyme of “petit verr’” and “ver(-te),” it sounds like a synchronized expectoration. The unfettered pageantry of the lushly scored final “Baroque 234 Jann Pasler provides an overview of Handel reception in Paris in the 1870s, and, following Katharine Ellis in Interpreting the Musical Past, emphasizes Handel’s privileged position as the Baroque composer most thoroughly assimilated into Parisian choral concert life, not the least for the “universal appeal” of his music. Pasler argues that Handel’s music was a symbol of grandeur, elegance, and cultural purity at this time, and was used ideologically to purify public taste from the perils of light music and other social contaminants. Jann Pasler, Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), 286-88. 163 ritornello” that follows (mm. 21-24) is unmitigated by text or worldly concerns, but is not without the satirical humour of what Roy Howat calls the “mock-courtly bow” (m. 24).235 Example 3.10. L’Étoile, from duetto de la Chartreuse verte (mm. 1-24). 235 Roy Howat, The Art of French Piano Music: Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Chabrier (New Haven and London: Yale Unviersity Press, 2009), 97. 164 165 A final example of intertextual humour, of yet a different type, is the seemingly modest musique de scène used as a backdrop for a spoken exchange between Ouf and Siroco who reflect on their lives in their final hour (#18bis, see Example 3.11a). The melody that opens the main strain is from Léonor and Fernand’s Act IV cabalette “Viens! je cède éperdu” from Donizetti’s La Favorite, still a major attraction at the Opéra (the tune is heard in the original key but in slow 166 tempo over Italianate clarinet triplets, see Example 3.11b). 236 Parallels in dramatic context underscore the humorous appropriation of the melody: it is heard in the final scene of both operas as the “soul mates” will soon be separated by death. A provocative and indeed subversive product of this borrowing is born from a striking dramatic difference between the reference and its referent: likening Ouf and Siroco to the lovers of La Favorite connotes a sexual component to their relationship (or perhaps merely confirms suspicions aroused by the flamboyant codependence that they have exhibited throughout the opera). Only a short fragment of this melody is heard, the continuation (mm. 3-4) is borrowed from the refrain of the “chartreuse duet,” which now takes on a wistful tone in slow tempo (recall Example 3.10, mm. 13-14). The juxtaposition of these contrasting fragments, particularly given the incompatible associations they bring, caricatures the widespread use of sentimental melodic reminiscence in the final-act death scene of mid-century serious opera. The contrived nature of this operatic cliché is further underscored by a forced modulation to E Major for the second four- measure phrase (beginning m. 5, Example 3.11a). This four-measure phrase is in turn followed by a return of the “Baroque ritornello” (m. 9) that, in its first appearance heard between the verses of the bouffe duet, was already humorous for its intertextual associations (see Example 3.10, mm. 21-22). Like the quotation of “Ein feste Burg” in the finale of Ba-ta-clan, in this example Chabrier debases a well-known melody from a successful grand opéra by quoting it in the incongruous context of a comic scene in an opéra bouffe. The meta-theatrical mode in which both Emperor Fé-ni-han and King Ouf quote their respective grand opera melodies is curious, and not only for evident commonalities. Indeed, both rulers cite well-known tunes from serious 236 Example 3.11b is taken from Gaetano Donizetti, La Favorite: opéra en 4 actes (Paris: Grus, [1840?]). 167 moments of famous opéras at the moment of death, and both acknowledge the appropriation with meta-theatrical intimations. Recall Fé-ni-han’s explicit declaration of appropriation “Que je Example 3.11a. L’Étoile, from Musique de scène, #18bis (mm. 1-9). Example 3.11b. Beginning of Act IV cabalette-duet for Léonor and Fernand from La Favorite. 168 voudrais m’échapper de ces lieux! Oui, dans les Huguenots! Mes amis, avec rage, chantons comme des furieux!”237 Ouf likewise announces that his death will be performed in proper fashion: the line immediately preceding Donizetti’s melody reads “préparons nous… mon manteau!… Et vous tous, regardez comment finit un Ouf!”238 But Chabrier does not blatantly betray Ouf’s imposture or explicitly identify his “real world” referent, increasing the sophistication of the joke by leaving the inference to the discovery of his listeners. The source of the humour is nevertheless fundamentally the same in the two instances: a grand opéra hit tune is irreverently held up as the barometer of high fashion. Indeed a rather coarse jest, but Chabrier masks the crudeness with characteristic understatement. The subtlety of the reference is matched by the expressive performance of the borrowed melody (only a brief fragment is heard, ppp, as the backdrop to an episode of mélodrame) and by Ouf’s poised comportment (which is also in complete contrast to Fé-ni-han’s panicked scampering), exemplifying Chabrier’s idiosyncratic paradox of coarseness refined. The intertextual component of L’Étoile, following opérette tradition, is overtly humorous and relies on the obvious appropriation of well-known material or procedures. But I have not yet addressed the Chabriesque stylistic features that depart significantly from the generic norms of 237 “How I would like to flee from this place! Yes, Les Huguenots! My friends, with rage, let us sing like lunatics!” Ludovic Halévy, Ba-ta-clan (Paris: Escudier, 1856), 32. 238 “Let us prepare… my overcoat… and all of you, witness the termination of an Ouf.” 169 opéra bouffe. Many of these departures are also in the direction of humour, albeit of a more subtle type, and are likely at the root of the mixed critical response to the work and the charges of eccentricity and excess it received. Chabrier’s unique style is exemplified in the chanson des employés de commerce where the incognito travellers are rehearsing their roles as shopkeepers (#2b, see Example 3.12). The introductory phrase begins “très vif et très gai” (very lively and very gay) with a typical opérette dance tune, brashly orchestrated and with a modal raised 4 th (this will be the basis of the refrain) only to be juxtaposed after four measures with a purely diatonic march topic (this will return as the C phrase, mm. 23-26). The strophe begins with an even more abrupt switch in style. The first vocal line reflects Chabrier’s performance direction “très naïvement, un peu bêtement” (very naively, a bit foolishly) and Hérisson’s melody is appropriately the very essence of simplicity, oscillating between the first and fifth scale degrees exclusively doubled in octaves by staccato winds with only open fourths and fifths for harmonic support. The result is an exaggerated simplicity suitable to the feigned naiveté of the aristocratic characters attempting to deflect the suspicion of the commoners whom they impersonate. The slightly altered repeat of the opening four-measure vocal phrase adds a new pitch, resulting in a I-IV progression that is still modally ambiguous without thirds (mm. 13-16). The B phrase (mm. 17-22) is an exercise in expansion: the four-measure phrase is expanded internally to six measures; the harmonic palette is vastly enriched with full sonorities, chromatic inflection, a temporary tonicization of V, and a full cadential progression. Even the temporal duration of the phrase is elongated with three written requests to decelerate and melodic notes sustained for the entire bar. A complete contrast is provided by the march-like C phrase (mm. 23-26) that represents the soldier-like obedience of the shopkeepers, adaptable and keen to comply with their orders. 170 Example 3.12. L’Étoile, from Chanson des employés de commerce (mm. 1-58). 171 172 173 Instead of leading directly to the refrain, Chabrier inserts a digression that essentially reinterprets the relatively unproblematic strophe, complicating much of its directness (see mm. 27-46). It begins with the same E-B oscillation that had clearly defined E as the tonal center, but it is now harmonized as iv-i in E minor (at first it sounds like A Dorian). The four-measure phrase is sequenced harmonically but with a new melody and new intervallic relationships (now in G major, but beginning as C Lydian). The following phrase (see mm. 35-38) reproduces the harmonic progression of the B phrase, now compressed to four measures and without the initial defining B Major tonic (the G♮ of the previous phrase is retained in the bass as a common tone). The fourth phrase of this section is yet another new topic (rather like a topical hybrid, combining rhythm and tempo of the contredanse with emphatic downbeat and sparse melody of the march) 239 and bears a four-measure slow extension that emphasizes an augmented sixth chord (m. 43). 240 Given the harmonic game of ironizing an overly simple passage, the delight in topical contrast, and the free mixture of modes notwithstanding—all continuations of techniques found in Vaucochard and Fisch-ton-kan—it should be clear from these observations that L’Étoile is governed by a different aesthetic than were Chabrier’s earlier works. The disjunctions, the unorthodox combinations, and the vulgar expressions of violence and sexuality, likewise are still present, but they have been smoothed over with neutralizing understatement. Effectively, the grotesque has been refined. The ultimate example of this is Laoula’s “rose couplets,” a 239 Leonard Ratner indicates that the bourrée, which is essentially a slower version of the contredanse, was often hybridized with march elements. Ratner, Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style (New York: Schirmer, 1980), 13-16. 240 Incidentally, this section of the chanson is also a good example of Chabrier’s obsession with performance markings: the tempo changes often and the passage is heavy with expressive markings (très naïvement, prétentieusement, en laïton, espress.). 174 harmonically rich and ambiguous metaphorical response to Ouf’s suggestion that succumbing to a quick marriage will come at the smallest price. This aesthetic of refinement is evident even in the names of characters—compare Kakao (implications of excrement), for example, and Fisch-ton-kan (from the argot “ficher le camp”) to Lazuli and Aloès, names that refer to a semi-precious stone and a plant with mysterious healing powers respectively. 241 With these “refined” associations, Leterrier and Vanloo are satirically extending the literary and operatic tradition of equating exotic characters, especially female ones, with their indigenous flora or natural landscape. Ouf, on the other hand is a throwback to the ridiculous onomatopeian onomastics of Fisch-ton-kan and of Ba-ta-clan. The French interjection “ouf” expresses relief and is akin to the English “phew.” Naming a king Ouf is in itself an oxymoron, and the undignified exclamation is exploited throughout the opera for humorous effect. In the opening scene (see Example 3.13), Ouf begins by proudly introducing himself directly to the audience, an opérette tradition. But the initial spoken utterance is humorously ambiguous, suggesting some physical danger narrowly avoided more than the name of a monarch. The ambiguity is instantly clarified with a qualifier: “Ouf! Ouf 1er!” He elaborates musically with clever quips, delighting in the facilitation of his own demystification. Ouf’s musical characterization is the quintessence of naiveté, but naiveté with delusions of refinement. With brief melodic chirps, echoed in octaves by various wind instruments in systematically increasing intervals, we learn that he is “Ouf, Ouf the First, the King, silent and mysterious.” Of course, audience and chorus are perfectly aware of the king’s identity and of the fact that he is “slipping and sliding” all about town in disguise seeking a subject for execution. Accordingly, the entire town is on guard. 241 Chantal Cazaux suggests that the doubled syllable “goule” (ghoul) in the name Goulgouly points to the Arabic “gul,” a man-eating female vampire. Cazaux, “Introduction au guide d’écoute,” L’Avant-scène opéra: L’Étoile 242 (January 2008), 10-11. 175 These four dainty measures constitute the self-contained opening section of a ternary form. In the B section (mm. 21-28) Ouf again elaborates on his current preoccupation, priding himself as the bestower of privileged “secrets of state,” ironically, for he is no more “silent” than he is “mysterious.” Sequentially derived non-functional chord progressions, rhythmic mannerisms, ornamental excess, and preciously colouristic orchestration flourish within a tightly controlled formal miniature, humorously depicting Ouf’s self-proclaimed cleverness as naively oblivious to the narrow circumscription of his world view. At the same time that Chabrier caricatures the superficial excesses of operatic exoticism, he perfectly captures the psychological character of the royal oaf. Example 3.13. L’Étoile, from entrée du roi (mm. 15-36). 176 177 Quite unlike the crushing gullibility of Goulgouly in Vaucochard, whose petrified and unhinged state of mind was transparently reflected in the melody, harmony, musical structure, and chaotic amalgam of musical styles in the Chanson de l’homme armé, Ouf’s naiveté acts to caricature tragic heroism. He accepts the codes of his predestination with rigid self-containment even at the cost of death. 242 Lazuli’s musical characterization stands in diametrical opposition. Instead of aestheticizing exotic clichés in comic earnestness, Lazuli’s five solo numbers (nos. 3, 4, 7b, 8, and 14; he also leads the quatuor des baisers and shares the lead in the trio de l’enlévement) imaginatively appropriate operatic and opéra bouffe procedures with virtuosic versatility and with a remarkable variety of surface nuance. He indulges his desires at every turn and with whatever means necessary. Ouf operates in only one mode; Lazuli thrives on novelty and disorder. He is the invincible shape-shifter, adaptable to any situation. In short, he is the comic hero par excellence. Lazuli poses a challenge to elitism and orthodoxy on numerous levels. Like so many comic masterminds before him, he defeats his social betters with his working class wits. His cleverness is revealed even before he is brought inadvertently into battle with his stolid titled opponent: see the rondeau du colporteur, “Je suis Lazuli, (Lazuli, Lazuli, Lazuli, Lazuli),” an introductory catalogue-type aria whose lively dance rhythms and acrobatic melody reflects the peddler’s nimbleness (Example 3.14a). The humorous prosody, rhythmically emphasizing a different syllable in three successive statements of the young hero’s name, likewise captures the confidant elasticity of this character. But this is not Lazuli’s only modus operandi, the characterization is immediately supplemented with the entirely more sophisticated fourth number, “O petite étoile,” whose sensitive enchanted tone is captured in the orchestral 242 On the mental rigidity characteristic of tragic characters as opposed to the flexibility of the comic, see Morreall, Comic Relief, 78-79. Morreall argues that comedy developed historically as a challenge to militaristic thinking, 79- 81. 178 introduction (see Example 3.14b). Other of Lazuli’s skills are displayed in his remaining solos: he is indulgent and sensuous in the brindisi; the couplets du mari is a statement of his opportunist philosophy; his childlike thirst for adventure is coupled with endearing physical vulnerability in the “sneezing couplets;” he leads the “kissing quartet” with a compelling passion that is the perfect embodiment of feigned naiveté; and in the “abduction trio” we find him playfully delighting in the role of invincible young lover. Comic heroism precludes emotion, and Example 3.14a. L’Étoile, from rondeau du colporteur (mm. 1-13). 179 Example 3.14b. L’Étoile, from Lazuli’s romance (mm. 1-14). accordingly Lazuli thinks his way through life’s challenges. Even the “sensitive” romance de l’étoile ultimately serves as a symbol of comic predestination more than as an emotional effusion, reflecting Lazuli’s trust in the unknown and in his faith that “it will all work out in the end” (not to mention that any seriousness is negated by the parody of Wagner). With utmost plasticity Lazuli shifts between multiple personas. For his infinite malleability, he effortlessly succeeds in all ventures, always avoiding the revelation of true emotion or any sense of his real self. Furthermore, his solos, for all their abundance and variety 180 of style, are the definition of structural conventionality. Unlike the bold aberrations realized by the characters of Vaucochard and Fisch-ton-kan, Lazuli undermines the codes from within, draping a surface coloured with paradox, stylization, and idiosyncrasy to the point of saturation over an overtly conformist foundation. He is a microcosm of the aesthetic of superficial excess that governs L’Étoile. Lazuli’s en travesti performance also plays into this dynamic of multiplicity and surface excess. The little peddler, literally “star-crossed and cross-dressed,” to borrow a phrase from Corinne Blackmer, is as successful in satisfying his libido as his other whims. 243 His erotic attraction to Laoula is his primary motivation throughout the opera (the impalement episode was merely a temporary distraction) and the audience at the Bouffes was treated to the tantalizing image of two women tickling, kissing, and swooning, their voices entwined in “sapphonic” rapture. 244 This quite exceeds the regular duties of the nineteenth-century operatic travesti: not one trouser role from the performed repertory of nineteenth-century opera demonstrates this degree of sexual prowess. One might think of Cherubino (whom Chabrier surely would have known) or Octavian (still thirty years in the post-decadent future), but Lazuli surpasses these erotically-charged young aristocrats in dramatic significance and centrality. A trouser mezzo as celebrated hero is simply unknown in nineteenth-century opera. 245 But this is categorically not 243 Corinne E. Blackmer, “Introduction,” in En travesti: Women, Gender Subversion, Opera, ed. Corinne E. Blackmer and Patricia J. Smith (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 9. 244 This rubric was coined by Elizabeth Wood to denote a “space of lesbian possibility;” Wood, “Sapphonics,” in Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology, ed. Philip Brett, Elizabeth Wood, and Gary C. Thomas (New York: Routledge, 1994), 27-66. 245 The one notable exception to this is Romeo of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (1830), whose casting connects with eighteenth-century opera seria tradition and was harshly criticized as old-fashioned throughout the nineteenth century. See Simon Maguire, Vincenzo Bellini and the Aesthetics of Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (New York: Garland, 1989). On the subject of trouser roles in French opera of the period, see Heather Hadlock, “The Career of Cherubino, or, The Trouser Role Grows Up,” in Siren Songs: Representations of Gender and Sexuality in Opera, ed. Mary Ann Smart (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 67-92. The article discusses Massenet’s Chérubin (1905), an opera that has numerous parallels with Chabrier’s Éducation (for instance, both operas center on a young noblemen in trouser, sexually frustrated, and dependent on his philosopher for guidance). 181 the case in opéra bouffe, a repertory with a preponderance of gender-bent central or title characters. 246 Whatever more political inferences lie in wait of argumentation, Lazuli’s misaligned vocal and dramatic personas are testimony to his fictionality and dissimulation. The surface excesses of L’Étoile are indulgences that betray, by placing in relief, the “tropes of nothingness” that are the essence of the opera. Recall the many instances of dramatic anticipation that come to nothing: the excitement leading to Lazuli’s impalement, the official presentation of the princess, the wedding ceremony of Ouf and Laoula, and Ouf and Siroco’s impending death are only the most prominent examples. Other more localized details of plot are superfluous and typically recognized outright as such: Hérisson and entourage indulge in their disguise as shopkeepers but the ruse is hardly relevant to their mission, particularly inexplicable is Laoula’s posing as his wife (we learn in the dialogue that is it for “reasons of diplomacy”), and there is also the Aloès-Tapioca encounter that spontaneously erupts in the “kissing quartet” merely to caricature the love duet tradition by making it à deux. As already noted, much of the humour in the Act 2 choeur des condoléances and final relies on the undisguised apathy of the mourners, made explicit in such statements as “ma foi, ça nous est bien égal…” and “puisqu’il est mort n’en parlons plus/Sur son sort pourquoi donc geindre davantage/Tous nos pleurs seraient superflus.”247 There are numerous musical instances of gratuitous decoration as well. The colourful juxtapositions, exotic orchestration, “perfumed” sonorities, and general opulence of the choeur 246 The male heroes of Chabrier’s L’Étoile and Éducation manquée and of Lecocq’s Le Petit duc are all cast for female performers, to name a few prominent examples. Recall that the role of Méphisto in Hervé’s Le Petit Faust (discussed in Chapter 2) was also a travesti. Despite the provocative challenges it poses, this prevalence has received virtually no comment in the literature. 247 “My word, it’s all the same to us…” and “Since he’s dead let us speak of him no more/why whine anymore about his fate/all our tears would be superfluous.” 182 that opens Act 2, where we find Lazuli nested in the lap of six exotic ladies (odalisques?), serve no dramatic purpose other than to represent the indulgence of Lazuli’s (sex-transgressive) hedonism in his newly privileged position. Ouf’s musical characterization, as we have seen, likewise demonstrates an elevation of style over depth. I have already noted the transparently formulaic repetition of augmented sixth chords in the Act 2 final and the strategic incorporation of this chord in #2b, that together with the abundance of augmented sixths of various types throughout L’Étoile also suggest an aesthetic that privileges superficial excess. The most convincing argument for an aesthetic of surface excess in L’Étoile, however, is found in the music associated with the présentation de la princesse (#12), whereby the court excitedly awaits the appearance of Ouf’s bride Laoula. The short text and festive fanfare figures are repeated obsessively and with little development in the two sections of this noisy ceremonial (see Example 3.15, “Nous allons donc voir, nous allons donc vois, nous allons donc voir, nous allons donc voir…”). Everyone knows that the princess is nowhere to be found, except for Ouf of course, the mastermind of her abduction. Chabrier drives this playful irony to the level of aesthetic credo by positioning this same music as the climactic central section of the ouverture. The overture bolsters the vacuous fanfare with a massive multi-sectional introduction (in the opening 124 measures the tonic is never heard in root position), and liquidates its festive energy with a largely diatonic, accelerating galop coda. Again, Chabrier’s subtle aesthetic point is paradoxically expressed through music of utmost coarseness. 183 Example 3.15. L’Étoile, from choeur, no. 12 (mm. 1-32). 184 185 Une Éducation manquée Une Éducation manquée is also to a libretto by Leterrier and Vanloo. Chabrier had been invited to stage a performance of a one-act opérette at a small salon, the Cercle international, and approached his former collaborators for a text. 248 The libretto is based on a three-act comédie- vaudeville by Eugène Labiche titled La Sensitive. 249 The piece premiered 1 May 1879 with Chabrier at the piano and seems to have received a mixed response: most commentators complained of a misalignment between the text (seen as ridiculous and puerile, or, at the very least “très legère”) and Chabrier’s music (interpreted as too sophisticated and “tourmentée”).250 As with L’Étoile, the score was promptly published by Enoch.251 After the premiere Chabrier orchestrated the score in hope of procuring a revival. Despite entreaties to friends and acquaintances he was unable to see the work mounted again, but the piece has been performed numerous times since his death, mostly at small or private venues. 252 The most noteworthy of these was certainly Diaghilev’s revival with the Ballets russes in 1924 conducted by André Messager, for which Darius Milhaud composed recitatives and orchestrated Chabrier’s early romance “Couplets de Mariette.”253 In 1938 the work was premiered by the Opéra-Comique. The detailed synopsis is as follows. 248 Vanloo recalls the initial details of the project, 206-209. 249 This play premiered at the Théâtre du Palais Royal, 10 March 1860. Eugène Labiche, Théâtre complèt de Eugène Labiche, 10 vols. (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1878), 6: 309-412. 250 For an overview of the work’s reception, see Delage, 211-212, and 214. 251 The piano-vocal score was published by Enoch in 1879 (E.P. & F. 407); the musical examples included from Éducation are from this edition. The location of the manuscript is unknown. 252 In 1899 it received a single production by the Cercle des escholiers de Paris, it later was seen at the Monte-Carlo (1910), at the Théâtre des Arts (eight performances in 1912, revived again in 1913), at the Vieux-Colombier (1918), and with Diaghilev’s Ballets russes at the Monte-Carlo (1924). Delage, 214-216. 253 The “Couplets de Mariette” (from the Neuf Mélodies pour chant et piano, 1861-62) was included in the production as a solo for Hélène. A new text was written by René Chalupt. 186 Louis XVI era; aristocratic apartments; it is raining. Young cousins Hélène de la Cerisaie (mezzo-soprano) and Comte Gontran de Boismassif (soprano) have been married and are entering their conjugal home for the first time. She has recently arrived from the convent; he has freshly graduated from a life devoted to academics. Amidst self-conscious banter Hélène observes that they have been left alone for quite a while. Suddenly Gontran is aware of his discomfort—when will his grandfather arrive, he had promised assistance in this delicate situation? Gontran is disappointed when footsteps turn out to be the tipsy stumblings of his tutor, Master Pausanias (bass). Pausanias explains that he could hardly resist a little bout of Rousillon in celebration of Gontran’s graduation (#1, chanson). He then informs the Comtesse that her aunt awaits her in her chamber. Hélène departs, to the relief of Gontran. Gontran precipitously asks after the whereabouts of his grandfather. Pausanias explains that the latter is indisposed but has sent his written recommendations; the tutor exits. Gontran has never been left alone before and is anxious for direction—he reads the letter (#2, lettre): indeed, in such a solemn occasion, guidance would be appreciated… but “Gontran, you little rascal, there is really nothing needing explanation.” What horror—his head stuffed with Latin and Greek, how could he be ignorant to such an important subject? Perhaps Pausanias can help. Gontran orders the tutor be presented, dead or alive. Hélène returns, ripe with her aunt’s advice. She tells Gontran that she will submit with tenderness to his wishes. To buy time and spare his dignity, Gontran launches a love duet (#3): they love each other, souls absorbed, they kiss, they swoon, it seems like there should be something more, there must be… Gontran fills the uncomfortable silence with clichéd conversation but Hélène’s morale is noticeably diminishing and she reluctantly retires to her chamber. Pausanias finally arrives and Gontran reprimands him for providing the youth with an incomplete education. Pausanias assures him that only the tiniest of details may have been overlooked. He recapitulates the thorough syllabus (#4, duetto bouffe): “Once saturated with Hebrew, Hindu, algebra, and chemistry, I crammed you full of Greek and trigonometry…” Gontran repeatedly protests that it was not enough. Pausanias is stumped—what could he had possibly omitted, geodesics? Gontran enlightens him to the subject in question. Pausanias never learned about that, he has, after all, been a very busy man. He bustles out to consult with a colleague. Awaiting the tutor’s return, Gontran is overcome with a strange sensation—he is flushed, his breathing constricted… it must be the thunderstorm. He reflects on his physical response to the storm (#5, couplets). He is about to turn in when a flustered Hélène rushes in for comfort, her sleepwear askew. She might not be very brave, but she certainly is pretty, muses Gontran. Suddenly he knows what to do: they must snuggle up very close together (#6, duo), suddenly their kisses seem so much sweeter. Pausanias clambers in. Gontran dismisses him; his lessons are no longer needed. But Pausanias insists on one final gesture: all three turn to the audience and request the indulgence of privacy (#6bis). Again we find an outward conventionality—a “potpourri” overture with six vocal numbers, three of which are solos in the standard form of couplets and the remaining three are duets clearly derived from standard aria templates, all with symmetrical phrasing and largely 187 based on dance rhythms—but the numbers are rich with stylistic nuance and ironic humour. The sexual play and “nothingness” trope of L’Étoile are again found in Éducation manquée but with an even higher degree of subtlety, and the modal touches fundamental to the exoticism of the earlier works is retained in the service of eighteenth-century colour. A paradoxical interplay of coarseness and refinement is central to the aesthetic of this opérette. Several variations of this dialectic are already realized in the ouverture, the first of which can be found in the eight-measure introduction (see opening of Example 3.16). A quiet horn call is the first sound heard, capturing the poetic ambience of the pastorale. A delicate response is sounded three octaves higher but with the unexpected timbre of the triangle. This echo-like effect is repeated six times, always squarely on the dominant, with ornamental changes providing the only relief from static repetition. The bucolic “call and response” of the distant- sounding horn, adorned with “unnatural” orchestration and progressively artificial ornamentation (the dotted rhythm introduced in m. 3 will be exposed as a calculated anticipation of the sicilienne rhythm of the main strain) is a microcosm of the out-of-placeness of nature domesticated that governs the opérette. As this brief analysis attests, the device is transparent, yet its understated expression detracts from its simplistic design. The overture proper is made up of two self-contained ternary parts. The first begins in measure 9 (see Example 3.16), its music is drawn from Gontran’s sicilienne couplets (the concluding phrases of the strophe are heard, see mm. 17-24 of #5). This sicilienne returns in Gontran and Hélène’s duo (#6, mm. 60-68 and 74-75); in both instances it is associated with the thunderstorm, the tool of Gontran’s sexual awakening. Appropriate to its pastoral associations, the tune is heard with wind orchestration, an open fifth drone bass, stable tonic harmony, and compound meter though is overloaded with four- and later five-voice counterpoint and chromatic 188 Example 3.16. Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 1-32). 189 190 nuance. The contrasting middle of this first part (mm. 17-32) is the antithesis of such unity and stability, exemplifying the bewildering effect of the storm. It juxtaposes contrasting fragments and shifts playfully between tonal centers. It begins with the phrase heard in the duetto bouffe (see #4, mm. 18-21, 38-41, and 105-108) that attends Gontran’s protest against Pausanias’s insufficient academics (“Je n’vous dis pas, Pausanias! mais ça ne suffit pas!”), which is juxtaposed with a continuation segment from the sicilienne. In both the overture and in the duet this “Je n’vous dis pas” fragment presents an unexpected stylistic shift that disrupts the stability Example 3.17. Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 54-77). 191 of the number. The context of the “ça ne suffit pas” connotation in the overture, however, is ironic: the storm (represented by the sicilienne, as unexpected as this association may be) is perfectly and completely sufficient, it will be Gontran’s only antidote to his civilizing erudition. The second part of the ouverture is also a ternary structure. It opens with a bombastic march-like dance in that is not drawn from the opérette proper (Example 3.17). This is then supplanted by music from the elegant “letter couplets” (m. 62ff.). The main tune (mm. 70-77) cleverly reproduces the pitches and contour of measures 56-57, but the opening gesture is now transformed into gavotte style. The following subphrase (mm. 74-77) likewise begins with a reinterpretation of a preceding gesture (cf. mm. 62-63). Such interrelationships and subtleties continue to infiltrate the remainder of the overture. With the contrasting middle of this second section (see mm. 141-189, the melody here anticipates #6) an overriding entropic process becomes apparent: the contrasts in dynamic, orchestration, texture, and style increase incrementally in boldness and the graceful posture of the sicilienne becomes a distant memory, its poise surrendering completely to the rowdy bouffe style. The unequivocal victory of the “low” style coincides with the return of the gavotte melody (m. 220, see Example 3.18a), now heard ff with pounding tutti accompaniment. The return of the opening section of the ternary now doubles as the stringendo coda, de rigueur in opérette overtures. This in turn morphs into an allusion to Bizet’s Carmen, a symbol of bravura pageantry utterly foreign to the genteel poetics of Éducation manquée as heard in the opening of this ouverture. (See Example 3.18b, from the conclusion of the allegro section of the Carmen prélude, which is drawn from the Act IV corrida scene—the allusion is most apparent in the 192 mode mixture and the similar orchestration of the two excerpts, which is not evident from the example.) 254 Example 3.18a. Éducation manquée, ouverture (mm. 219-238). 254 Examples 3.18b and 4.6b are reproduced from Georges Bizet, Carmen: Opera in Four Acts (New York: Schirmer, 1895). 193 Example 3.18b. Carmen, prélude (mm. 114-120). Pausanias’s “wine couplets” (#1, “Ce vin généreux”) maintain the regular phrasing and cadential structure associated with the strophe-refrain form, but, appropriate to the tutor’s drunken state, the syntax is confused, the rhythm is unusually fluid, and the prosody permits a rambling effect. The six-measure introduction (the head motif of which is borrowed from the refrain) caricatures the “beginning, middle, end” functionality fundamental to the structures of late eighteenth-century Viennese classicism, here rendered as three two-measure units contrasting in register, orchestration, and topic: bold opening sweep, ornamental filler, cadential gesture (see Example 3.19). 255 Example 3.19. Éducation manquée, chanson (mm. 1-14). 255 Similar play with functionality can be found in such canonical humorous works such as Mozart Ein Musikalischer Spaß, K. 522 and Haydn’s Op. 33 String Quartets. 194 Gontran’s “letter couplets” are set as a gavotte (highlighted in the ouverture). The strophe follows the AABB’ layout with consistent four-measure phrases, but, following the chanson des employés de commerce in L’Étoile, a reinterpretation of the strophe is inserted before the refrain (mm. 21-37, refrain begins m. 38). Chabrier’s characteristic modal writing, used throughout Éducation manquée to denote the eighteenth-century setting, is remarkably sophisticated in this number, demonstrating a modal-tonal synthesis with its own interior logic. Again the brief 195 Example 3.20. Éducation manquée, Lettre (mm. 1-9). orchestral introduction is something of a microcosm (Example 3.20). The four-measure phrase begins and ends squarely on G Minor chords, but the harmonic simplicity that these bookends might suggest is deceptive. The fauxbourdon opening gesture, using the lowered seventh, indicates modal harmonic inflections. The F Major chord is emphasized in the rhythmically 196 displaced repetition of the gesture, falling on the downbeat in the second measure. It is further highlighted with a half cadence in B♭ in measure 3, which sounds like the natural conclusion to the three-measure phrase. Adding another layer to the modal-tonal ambiguity, the bassline of this opening three-measure unit is a diatonic B♭ Major scale. As curiously conclusive as the cadence in measure 3 sounds, Chabrier furthers the tonal ambiguity by repeating it up a whole step for a closed cadence in G Minor. The result is a passage clearly centered on G, but with a subversive modal ambiguity that undermines the logic of functional harmony with a ludic imitation of pre-tonal modality. The F♮-F♯ cross relation heard in measures 3-4 is reproduced several times in the first half of the strophe (AABB’, mm. 5-20) due to the participation in the bass ostinato of the raised seventh in contrast to the melody’s faithful use of the lowered seventh. In measure 6 (repeated as m. 10), F♮, F♯, and G are sounded simultaneously—a modern sonority posing as naive modalism. The F♮ against F♯ then appears in a more puzzling context: the opening fauxbourdon gesture of the introduction, which was already reproduced in a different metrical context (m. 2), is again reinterpreted in measure 7 where it functions as the middle of the phrase. Revisiting this twice heard motif provides a kind of unity to the piece, but the primary unifying agent over the course of the strophe is rhythmic: each phrase, including the introduction, proceeds from faster melodic figuration (first two measures) to sustained chordal tones (third and fourth measures), a shift which underlines the cadential function of the phrase ending. Note the humorous concurrence of the plagal cadence on the word “solennel” (mm. 7-8) with tierce de Picardie, that endemic marker of Baroque tonality, over the obliviously busy bass ostinato. 197 Example 3.21. Éducation manquée, Lettre (mm. 32-47). 198 The text of this number points to a significant characteristic of the opérette, and one that I privileged in my reading of L’Étoile: the gratuitous celebration of a void. The grandfather’s letter is a preambling profusion of polite niceties, but is notably of no substance. In particular, to Gontran’s horror, the purported subject of the letter is evaded just as grandfather appears to be getting to the point. Losing his train of thought, he veers off in nostalgic reverie: Ce que je ne puis te dire, Il faut bien mon cher Gontran Me résigner à l’écrire, Lis donc et profites-en! Dans la chambre nuptiale Quand vous serez seuls tous deux… Mais pas besoin de morale… Ah, de jeunes amoureux… Ta femme est jolie et tendre Et je sais bien petit vaurien Que je n’ai rien, rien, rien, rien à t’apprendre.256 Underlining the digression is a shift in musical style to that of a Gounodian romance at the refrain (Example 3.21, m. 38), and the words “rien, rien, rien” are emphasized with an ironic cadential gesture to C in the middle of the phrase (note the orchestration and mocking dissonance that not coincidentally repeats the F♮ /F♯ cross relation, mm. 42-43). 256 “What I cannot tell you/I must, my dear Gontran/resign myself to write/So read and benefit! In the nuptial chamber/when you find yourselves all alone/But not in need of /Ah! Young love! Your wife is beautiful and gentle/and I well know/you little rascal/ that I have nothing, nothing, nothing to teach you!” 199 Example 3.22. Éducation manquée, duetto (mm. 1-13). 200 The duet (#3) uses the double aria form in an overtly ironic and humorous manner that further emphasizes the returning “nothingness” trope. The cantabile section is a binary form minuet, a paradoxically formal and public dance for the intimate post-nuptial moment. The false poise is betrayed in the introduction, which begins with a three-measure tonicization of the subdominant key (D Major); an awkward attempt to correct the blunder results in the insertion of an isolated fragment in the tonic (m. 4 see Example 3.22). Gontran’s unease is further reflected in the staggered vocal entries with each phrase beginning on different beats and the misalignment between the voice and the accompaniment. The tempo di mezzo section in the operatic cantabile-cabalette form bears the explicit responsibility of advancing the dramatic situation in order to justify the ensuing cabalette. Here, Chabrier mocks the transparency of this convention and the ridiculousness of the bel canto reliance on such inherently undramatic contraptions by doing precisely the opposite. The section begins with a frantic contrapuntal passage in quasi-courante rhythm (m. 73, see Example 3.23) that gradually loses momentum over the course of the section and reaching a complete stall by the end. The text makes the joke explicit: Hélène: Ensuite! Gontran: Ah! Mon Dieu que j’enrage! Ensuite! Ensuite! Eh bien! C’est tout! Hélène: Eh quoi! C’est tout! Gontran: J’ai beau chercher partout… Oui, c’est bien tout… Hélène: Hélas! C’est grand dommage… Que ce soit tout. Eh quoi c’est tout… Gontran: Oui, c’est bien tout. Hélène: Oui, c’est bien tout. Gontran: Oui, c’est bien tout. Hélène: Tout. Gontran: Tout. Hélène: Tout. Together: Tout. 257 257 Hélène: And then? Gontran: Ah, my Lord! How annoying/And then, and then? Well, that’s all there is! 201 Example 3.23. Éducation manquée, duetto (mm. 70-96). Hélène: What? That’s all? Gontran: I have searched all around/Yes, that’s all… Hélène: Alas! What a shame…/that this be all… Gontran: Yes, this is all there is… 202 203 Nothing happens and the lovers literally have nothing to sing about. The subject of the cabalette is its own superfluousness: Gontran/Hélène: Non! Ce n’est pas tout, je suppose, Non! Ce n’est pas tout, je suppose, Un semblable commencement Attend un meilleur dénouement…258 The fourth number is the requisite duetto bouffe. It is sectional with Gontran’s modal phrase “Je n’vous dis pas Pausanias! Mais… ça ne suffit pas” serving as a kind of ritornello: A (orchestral)—A (vocal)—ritornello—B—ritornello—C—B—ritornello—C. The A section is Example 3.24a. Éducation manquée, duetto bouffe (mm. 18-26). 258 “No, this cannot be all, I don’t suppose/No, it is not all, I don’t suppose/Such a beginning/deserves a better outcome…” 204 Example 3.24b. Éducation manquée, duetto bouffe (mm. 38-44). based on a fanfare motif; the vocal portion draws on the introduction and forms a complete couplet with regular two-measure phrasing. B and C are vocal dances, a scherzando waltz and a gigue respectively. The song catalogues Pausanias’s tutorial syllabus, the excess of subject matter humorously paired with an abundance of verbs describing the philosopher’s inflictions upon his hapless student (saturer, bourrer, entamer, panacher, aborder, faufiler…). Gontran’s repeated assertion that “it is not enough” is a slogan for the entire opérette: erudition, no matter 205 how complete, cannot replace the force of nature. Musically, the ritornello prompts a shift to a more excited rhythm, first to a scherzo (Example 3.24a, beginning m. 21) and then to a patter- song styled gigue (m. 41, Example 3.24b). The philosopher’s text in no way necessitates the change in style, as in the third number the stylistic shift is gratuitous and humorous for its lack of justification. The stylization and incremental acceleration also characterizes Pausanias, basso buffo, as a mechanically rambling pedant. Gontran’s solo (#5, couplets) is an astute psychological portrait fashioned as a sicilienne. Again, this music is associated with the storm and was the basis of the first part of the overture. The hesitant dotted rhythm captures the bewildering effect of the storm on the uncertain young man, as does the number’s palindromic structure: instrumental—A—A’—B—A—A— instrumental—A—A’—B—A—A—instrumental. With no refrain, an extra phrase whose melody is the exact repetition of the first vocal phrase, and a repetition of the orchestral introduction between the strophes, the music folds back upon itself in a circular fashion. The contrasting middle phrase begins with a lyrical melody in fluid eighth notes. An enharmonic modulation up a semitone to D Major (using an enharmonically reinterpreted D♭ as common tone to shift to V of D Major, and a German 6 th on D♮ in m. 16 to return to D♭) creates a destabilizing effect that is matched by hesitant melodic fragments separated by rests (see Example 3.25). Little Gontran still cannot figure out what is happening, through he is consciously aware of the storm’s effect on his physical body. The second strophe draws a parallel with the young gardener’s chastity, also a victim of the storm. 206 Example 3.25. Éducation manquée, couplets (mm. 10-18). The final duo is in two parts. A rondo in duple meter (ABACAD), where a playful dance refrain that borrows the ostinato bass figuration from the second number alternates with lyrical dialogue. This is interrupted by a reprise of the sicilienne music (always a metaphor for the storm), which is now set with vocal parlante (Example 3.26). Gontran’s transfixed monotone reflects the awakening of the youth’s natural instincts. This is followed by a waltz (instrumental introduction—A—B—B—A—Coda) which makes excessive use of appoggiaturas and rhythmic 207 play. The waltz, already established in 1870s opérette as the archetypal symbol of sexuality and celebration, brings consummation. Emasculated by his aristocratic refinement the little trouser finally realizes that his education’s preclusion of nature is only apparent. The “transfixed monotone” that attends the reprisal of the sicilienne is more than the young man’s response to the stormy Example 3.26. Éducation manquée, duo (mm. 57-65). 208 weather. His shock is primarily a reaction to the defining moment—albeit brought on by the storm—whereby M. de Boismassif lives up to his name. (I will leave it to non-French speakers to determine their own translation of the term.) The resounding chirps in measures 57-58 accompanying the lovers’ embrace are a subtle illustration of his newfound manliness; Hélène’s exclamation “Qu’avez vous?,” less so. Hélène de la Cerisaie, whose family name is also crudely suggestive of her sexual function, will finally learn the proper “dénouement,” represented metaphorically in the waltz. But actually, the waltz is not the consummate achievement of the opérette—recall that Pausanias bursts in on the scene. Despite his earlier humility (“souvent la présence d’un tiers…,” scene vi), the philosopher opts to join in for a “trio” (final, 6bis). In conclusion, Une Éducation manquée is a salon opérette with many characteristics that position it clearly in the tradition of opérette bouffe: six vocal numbers separated by spoken dialogue, strongly typecast characters singing conventionally designed arias and ensembles. A pronounced element of humour is largely generated through lowbrow topicality and allusions to high opera and its conventions. Like the big popular hit of the 1870s, Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot, it employs various musical devices to elicit eighteenth-century colour. In Éducation manquée the eighteenth-century tone is derived primarily from Chabrier’s characteristic modal writing and the fashioning of opérette’s emblematic vocal dances into something of a stylized Baroque suite. The subject matter, the coming of age of a young aristocrat, makes the work a quasi-Bildungsroman, contributing to a multilayered ludic bouleversement of genre—life experience here is humorously reduced to a single defining sexual encounter. 209 Unlike many works in the bouffe tradition, including Vaucochard, Fisch-ton-kan, and L’Étoile, Éducation manquée is set in a realistic historical locale and populated by “ordinary” French humans. The poetics of genteel respectability and conformity, indeed entirely alien to the exotic absurdity of Chabrier’s earlier works and that of many of Offenbach’s pieces, is nevertheless offset by coarse suggestions and destabilizing musical gestures. Éducation manquée continues the unjustified celebration of style and musical surface, and the musical games of generic paradox, incongruous mixture of topics and styles, and enigmatic interconnections found in Chabrier’s earlier comic operas but with an unprecedented level of subtlety and sophistication in musical language. The musical humour is usually expressed with a paradox that can be easily overlooked: coarse gags and allusions are delivered with delicacy and sophisticated nuance, or, alternately, subtle humorous jokes and interconnections are embedded in music that is raucous or bombastic. 210 4 Excess and Refinement on the National Stage: Le Roi malgré lui In a letter to his wife, Chabrier’s close friend Paul Lacome reported that the 1887 opening-night production of Le Roi malgré lui was “un four” (a flop) and that the audience response was categorically not of the same spirit that greeted a triumphant dress rehearsal the night before. 259 He indicated that only the simplest numbers were received warmly and that only two bouffe couplets and the chanson tzigane, certainly among the most accessible of the score, were encored. Two clear themes emerge from personal epistolary communications and from the numerous reviews that promptly appeared in Parisian periodicals: the music was celebrated as inspired and innovative, but was often described pejoratively as “trop raffinée” (too refined) and generally “excessive;” the libretto was almost unanimously judged to be contrived and overly complicated. 260 These charges of excess and refinement speak to evolving aesthetic principles that are central to Chabrier’s art and that were considered in some detail in Chapter 3. The complications cluttering the libretto find defense in Chabrier’s own correspondence: “Je trouve 259 This often-quoted letter is one of many included in La Vie sincère de Paul Lacome, unpublished manuscript by the composer’s son Jean-François d’Estalenx. It figures among those excerpted in Jean-François d’Estalenx, “Lacome, Chabrier, Messager,” Littératures 21 (1974), 27-55. Quoted in Roger Delage, Emmanuel Chabrier (Paris: Fayard, 1999), 386-88; and Steven Huebner, French Opera at the fin de siècle: Wagnerism, Nationalism, and Style (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 263. 260 Louis de Fourcaud, in a review for Le Gaulois (19 May 1887), for instance: “de l’extrême raffinement, il passe, sans crier gare, aux procédés les plus grossiers de l’opéra-bouffe, et il revient de nouveau, à l’improviste aux raffinements délaissés” (without warning he passes from extreme refinement to the crudest gestures of opéra bouffe and then back suddenly to the forsaken refinements); Auguste Vitu of Le Figaro (19 May 1887) speaks of “une partition très copieuse” (a very copious score); in the review in Le Gaulois following the November re-opening Fourcaud continues: “l’oeuvre est cahoteuse, déconcertante et—tranchons le mot—fatigante, en ses excessifs raffinements comme en ses vulgarités” (the work is jagged, disconcerting, and, to speak plainly, as tiresome in its excessive refinements as in its vulgarities); and Paul Lacome, in the letter cited above, describes the music as “si travaillée, si ciselée” (worked, chiseled). D’Estalenx, “Lacome, Chabrier, Messager,” 46. For a succinct survey of the critical reaction to Le Roi in the Parisian press, see Delage, Emmanuel Chabrier, 399-402. Excerpts of letters written by Vincent d’Indy and by Pierre de Bréville on the night of the dress rehearsal and from Charles Bordes, Julien Tiersot, Gabriel Fauré, Ernest van Dyck, Gabriel Pierné, and Catulle Mendès in the days following the premiere are included in Emmanuel Chabrier, Correspondance, ed. Roger Delage and Franz Durif with Thierry Bodin (Paris: Klincksieck, 1994), 394-396, and are likewise discussed in Delage, 388-393. Numerous reviews also appeared following the November re-opening; Delage, 409. See also Huebner, French Opera, 263-265. 211 Le Roi malgré lui très bien; c’est très machiné; très quiproqué, ça m’intéresse beaucoup de faire ça.”261 It is clear from this statement that Chabrier was attracted to the outlandish contrivances and many farcical aspects of the plot. 262 The analyses in this chapter reveal that Chabrier replicated this quality in his music, unapologetically producing a musical surface overloaded with a variety of curious turns, a multiplicity of styles, and intertextual references—an aesthetic that indeed might at times be described as excessive. The present chapter introduces basic stylistic features of Le Roi malgré lui, the composer’s only opéra comique, and provides an interpretation of its musical humour. The line between comic and serious is problematic in this opera, deliberately so, and any interpretation of its humour is an intricate intellectual exercise that far surpasses its correlatives in the bouffe works whose comic gags seem amateurish and even vulgar in comparison. Some aspects of these bouffe pieces certainly remain present in Chabrier’s later comic works—a general esprit pétard, an abundance of humorous references, and stylistic and structural incongruities inform all of these works, but even more than in the popular works, a pretense of conservatism joins with a forward-looking aesthetic to challenge traditional processes through humour in Le Roi. Much of the humour in the work depends on the perception of isolated components in misalignment, and appreciation hinges even more fundamentally than before on the perception of finely nuanced details. Far surpassing its forerunners, Le Roi also demonstrates a rich palette of exoticisms, 261 “I find Le Roi malgré lui fine, it is very crafted, full of misunderstandings; this appeals to me greatly.” Letter to Georges Costallat, dated by the editors to 29 (?) August 1884, in Chabrier, Correspondance, 239-240. 262 Around the same time Chabrier expresses a similar sentiment in a letter to Gaston Hirsch: “Je suis sollicité surtout par le genre archicomique, un peu deluré et outrancier. J’aime, en un mot, à ce que ça pète” (I am drawn above all to the hypercomic, a little cheeky and outrageous. In a word, I like that it farts). Letter dated by the editors to 3 August 1884 (?), in Chabrier, Correspondance, 236-237. Chabrier’s interest in details of the libretto of Le Roi can also be observed in his correspondence with his librettists, where he voices a pressing concern for issues of prosody and repeatedly requests extreme character types and situations. See, for example, the numerous letters to Burani and Najac in June and July 1886 (Correspondance, 346-347, 348, 360-362, 368-370). Around this time Burani writes to Najac of receiving a sixteen-page letter from Chabrier regarding particulars of the second act (Correspondance, 362-363). 212 structural ludics, and hypertextual interactions that this chapter will elucidate through a detailed and multilayered analysis. Therefore, after a brief historical overview and a summary of the plot, elements of humour production will be discussed according to the following categories: Chabrier’s manipulation of conventional syntactical and stylistic procedures, including idiosyncratic distortions introduced on the levels of strophic structure, harmonic procedure, rhythm, and musical reiteration; the engagement with generic opéra comique framing devices; and the use of exotic tropes and intertextuality as generic play. The final section will adapt concepts from linguistic theories of humour to reassess and conceptualize the analytical findings, thus shedding new light not only on Chabrier’s subtle aesthetics of humour, but also on how musical humour in general might be approached. Historical Background Explicit mention of a project based on the comedy Le Roi malgré lui by François Ancelot (Palais-Royal, 19 September 1836) 263 first appears in Chabrier’s correspondence in the summer of 1884. 264 The work was initially conceived as a three-act opéra bouffe with text by Paul Burani. 265 As with L’Étoile, Chabrier composed much of the music before establishing a contract for performance. After it was declined by directors of the Bouffes and the Renaissance, Léon Carvalho of the Théâtre national de l’Opéra-Comique showed interest in Le Roi but required considerable revisions to both text and music to reconcile the work’s style and aesthetic with the 263 Jacques-Arsène-François-Polycarpe Ancelot, Le Roi malgré lui: comédie en 2 actes, mêlée de couplets (Paris: Magasin théâtral, 1836). 264 Letter to Enoch et Costallat dated by editors to 31 July (?) 1884, in Chabrier, Correspondance, 233. 265 Delage and Huebner both address the complicated genesis of Le Roi, particularly its transformation from opéra bouffe to opéra comique. Delage draws heavily on autograph sources, Chabrier’s correspondence, as well as articles published by Théodore Massiac (Gil Blas, 29 September 1886) and Victorin de Joncières (Le Gaulois, 11 March 1899) to document its various stages of development. Delage, Emmanuel Chabrier, 364-375. Huebner reads various revisions to the Ancelot play and to the original “opérette” conception as elevations necessary to reconcile the work’s dramatic aspirations with the aesthetic of the Opéra-Comique. Huebner, French Opera, 286-289. 213 agenda of the official house. On Carvalho’s recommendation librettist Émile de Najac joined the project to oversee the reworking of the text. 266 In May 1886 Le Figaro announced that the opera would be produced the following season. 267 Le Roi malgré lui premiered on 18 May 1887 at the Opéra-Comique and the vocal score was promptly published by Enoch et Costallat. 268 On 25 May 1887, after three performances of Le Roi, the Salle Favart was destroyed by fire. 16 November 1887, one month after the Opéra-Comique reopened (its temporary home the Salle des Nations), Le Roi was revived and a further seventeen performances were mounted before the end of the 1887-1888 season. 269 Having already cut a first-act air for Alexina and made numerous minor changes after the premiere in May, Chabrier worked with Burani during the summer closure to make revisions to the unpopular libretto. Enoch et Costallat ran a second printing of the vocal score in November to reflect these changes; 270 the orchestral score appeared in November 1887, conforming to this second version. 271 Likewise, two versions of the libretto were printed by Librairie Théàtrale (the first in 1887, the second in 1888), according to the 266 We know from Chabrier’s correspondence and personal papers that Jean Richepin also participated briefly in the libretto project. The manuscript containing his revisions, evidently penned between mid-November 1886 and January 1887, is now lost. Joncières reported in 1899 (Le Gaulois, 11 March) that Armand Silvestre also made contributions, though evidence of his involvement is corroborated in neither Chabrier’s papers nor his surviving letters. 267 Le Figaro, 9 May 1886. 268 Emmanuel Chabrier, Le Roi malgré lui: opéra comique en actes. (Paris: Enoch frères Costallat, 1887); plate number E. F. & C. 1348. Enoch had partnered with Costallat in 1880. The vocal-score examples reproduced in this chapter are drawn from this first edition. 269 There were a total of twenty performances in these first two seasons: three in May 1887 (18, 21, and 23 May), eleven in November and December 1887 (16, 18, 21, 23 November and 6, 8, 11, 16, 19, 24, 29 December) and six in spring 1888 (13 and 24 March and 18, 25, 27, 29 April). 270 This edition also appeared with plate stamp E. F. & C. 1348. The first edition ran 433 pages and included an air for Alexina in the first act, “Pour vous je suis ambitieuse” (#6), the last three numbers of the score were 19. rondeau à deux voix (Alexina, Henri), 20. duo (Minka, Nangis) and 21. final. This second printing, 423 pages, includes twenty numbers, Alexina’s air having been cut and the rondeau à deux moved to the first act (#6) and retexted for Alexina and Fritelli. 271 Chabrier, Le Roi malgré lui: opéra comique en 3 actes (Paris: Enoch frères Costallat, 1887); E. F. C 1365. Excerpts from this orchestral score appear in this chapter as Examples 4.14 and 4.15. 214 premiere and the November versions. 272 Le Roi would be produced in Toulouse (9 March 1892) and in various cities in Germany during Chabrier’s lifetime—Karlsruhe (2 March 1890); Baden (5 March 1890); Dresden (26 April 1890); and Cologne (15 October 1891)—but did not enjoy a Parisian revival until 6 November 1929 after Albert Carré, retired director of the Opéra- Comique, undertook a complete overhaul of the livret. 273 Plot Synopsis The following synopsis narrates the main events of the opera, following the 1887 printing of the libretto. It is streamlined for the sake of clarity and is intended to serve as a guide for the reader unfamiliar with the storyline. Published vocal scores and the one available recording of Le Roi do not include the full text of the libretto and a detailed account of the actions and motivations of the characters is almost impossible to determine from readily available sources. 274 In the interests of clarity, a detailed breakdown of dramatic events including the distribution of the text into spoken and sung components is included as Appendix 1. Act I. Winter of 1574. A castle near Krakow. Henri de Valois, Duke of Anjou (baritone), is in Krakow to be crowned King of Poland as ordered by his mother. 275 He is accompanied by his confidant Count Nangis (tenor) and by French lords. Polish Grand Palatine Laski is backing the Austrian Archduke’s interests, and he leads a conspiracy against the French claim to the throne. Aware of the plot, Henri will remain incognito until the coronation which is to take place the next day. Henri’s chamberlain, Duke of Fritelli (bouffe baritone), is preparing plans for the procession. 272 E. de Najac and P. Burani, Le Roi malgré lui (Paris: Librairie théâtrale, 1887); and E. de Najac and P. Burani, Le Roi malgré lui (Paris: Librairie théâtrale, 1888). The editions contain 138 and 128 pages respectively. 273 Albert Carré, Le Roi malgré lui (Paris: Librairie théâtrale, 1928); the score was reissued in 1929, again as E. F. & C. 1348. Huebner details Carré’s changes to the libretto and purports to demonstrate how these “clarifications” served Carré’s goal of “unearth[ing] the ‘opéra comique spirit’ of Chabrier’s work;” French Opera, 291-300. 274 Chabrier, Le Roi malgré lui, conducted by Charles Dutoit (Paris: Erato. Radio-France, 1985) is the only commercial recording of the opera: The 1887 printing of the libretto has recently been made available on Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k58035136 (accessed 1 July 2011). 275 Following Ancelot, the events of the opera are based loosely on an episode in the life of Henri de Valois, who later ruled France as Henri III (r. 1574-1589), whereby the young nobleman was elected King of Poland. 215 He conceals his connection to Laski—Fritelli’s wife Alexina is the conspirator’s niece and the couple is involved in the resistance. Nangis, while out recruiting soldiers for the king’s guard, had fallen in love with the gypsy slave Minka (soprano). She too is in the service of Laski, but her loyalty will be to Nangis and the French court. Minka and Nangis share a passionate exchange and agree to meet later that night. In an effort to maintain Henri’s incongnito, Nangis rushes Minka out as Henri approaches. The recollection of his prior love affair with a beautiful Polish princess softens Henri’s misery slightly, but he nevertheless begs Nangis to help him escape back to France. Alexina and Fritelli discuss their roles in the conspiracy and also Alexina’s premarital Venetian romance with a French nobleman, who, as Fritelli has deduced, was Henri. Alexina explains that the libertine who abandoned her had concealed his identity, and that the French retinue will suffer her scorn in his stead. As Fritelli and Alexina exit, Minka confesses her love for Nangis to Nangis’s “friend” Henri, always incognito. She reveals details of the conspiracy against the new king, including Fritelli’s participation. With this new information, Henri forces Fritelli to present him at the conspirator’s ball, threatening death should Fritelli reveal his true identity—he demands to be introduced as “Nangis,” the king’s disgraced former favourite. Henri then orders Nangis, who is not yet aware of the ruse, imprisoned. When Alexina arrives (Fritelli neglects to mention that his accomplice is also his wife), Henri and the Duchess recognize each other. Minka calls to Nangis in an offstage song and Nangis escapes from prison. Henri delights in his new role as “Nangis” the conspirator, confidant that King Henri’s removal will succeed with his help. Act II. Ball at Laski’s palace. Henri (as Nangis), Fritelli, and Alexina attend the conspirators’ ball and Henri learns of Fritelli and Alexina’s marriage. In the second scene, Minka sings a gypsy song celebrating love and is ecstatic to hear Nangis’s voice outside her window. Henri and Fritelli enter claiming to be protecting French interests as undercover agents in the conspiracy, and Minka agrees to join them. Minka soon suspects that Henri (as “Nangis”) has a genuine interest in the success of the conspiracy and accuses him of treason. Henri has her locked up in an adjacent room. Henri is alone with Alexina (who believes Henri to be “Nangis”) and seduces her anew with a barcarolle. Fritelli returns with the conspirators and all swear an oath of allegiance to the Austrian cause. Henri releases Minka and orders her to summon Nangis to the scene where the latter learns of his new role as king elect. Henri prepares to escort “the king” across the border but the conspirators vote that the king should instead be assassinated. Henri reveals his true identity but no one believes him. “Nangis” is chosen by secret ballot to be the assassin. Nangis (as king) escapes. Amidst general confusion Henri (as Nangis) reaffirms his commitment to unseat the incoming king. Act III. A countryside inn, the next morning. Preparations are underway for the coronation. Fritelli informs the innkeeper that Laski’s conspiracy was successful and that the Austrian Archduke will be crowned. Henri regrets Alexina’s absence and hastens to leave Poland alone. He hears someone approaching and hides; it is Alexina searching for him. She reveals that the Archduke’s treachery has been exposed and that he has fled. The throne will belong to the French king. Fritelli deceives Alexina, wishing to keep her from reuniting with Henri, with the story that “Nangis” (Henri) 216 has been outlawed for regicide and convinces her to assist in his escape. Minka arrives searching for her lover, “the king,” and Alexina explains that he has been assassinated. Alexina encounters Henri. They realize Fritelli’s ploy and decide to flee together. Minka laments the death of her beloved and prepares to commit suicide but Nangis appears and the lovers share another joyful reunion. Minka exits to gather support for the king. Fritelli ushers Henri away, not recognizing his wife in disguise as the driver. The French suite arrives and Fritelli is accused of regicide. Fritelli explains that the king is alive and is currently en route to France. Nangis and the guards then return with the fleeing fugitives. Identities are revealed, lovers rejoice, and Henri resigns himself to rule over Poland. All celebrate the new king. Structure, Syntax, and Style: Opéra comique Conventions and their Manipulations Just as Chabrier’s L’Étoile connected to the “bouffe” aesthetic of a previous generation, so too did Le Roi malgré lui embrace the “comique” that prevailed in opéras comiques of an earlier era. Most new works of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique retained conventional generic elements through to the late 1880s, but the traditional model was gradually eclipsed in favour of newer forms. A trend towards “elevation,” begun at least as far back as the early 1860s, saw the introduction of features incompatible with the traditional opéra comique aesthetic: comedy was relegated to subplot or abandoned altogether, as was the requisite happy ending, simple conventional numbers gave way to larger scene complexes and sophisticated musical language, the number of strophic pieces was diminishing, and even the definitive parlé was replaced by mélodrame, sung recitatives, and eventually a through-composed idiom. 276 The shift was more pronounced after the Théâtre Lyrique, known for its experimental initiatives, closed in 1870. Although some retained the official subtitle “opéra comique,” most new works of the mid- 1880s adhered to the newer styles of so-called opéra lyrique or drame lyrique. The former designation refers to a hybrid genre which, in the words of Morton Achter, “occupied a middle 276 On “elevation” of opéra comique see Mary Jean Speare, “The Transformation of opéra comique: 1850-1880” (Ph.D. diss., Washington University, 1997). 217 ground between grand or serious opera and opéra-comique.”277 Following Gounod’s Faust (called “opéra” by the composer; prem. Théâtre Lyrique, 1859), widely considered the generic prototype, many of these operas are based on literary antecedents. The major works of Massenet are of this type, as is Bizet’s Carmen. “Drame lyrique” designates works with continuous music and typically styled to some degree in the Wagnerian idiom. 278 Saint-Saëns Proserpine (prem. 16 March 1887) and Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys (prem. 7 May 1888), the two works that flanked Le Roi on the ledger of Opéra-Comique premieres, are both of this type. The bulk of the Opéra-Comique repertory was nevertheless made up of older works, many in the true opéra comique mold. 279 New pieces were rarely retained for more than one or two seasons, and numerous successful pieces from the 1830s through the 1850s continued to average ten or more performances a year in the decade 1880-1890. 280 Of the thirty-three works performed at the Opéra-Comique in 1887, the year Le Roi was created, only six premiered after 1870, and only two more were from the period 1865-1870. 281 So when Chabrier conceived Le 277 Morton Jay Achter, “Félicien David, Ambroise Thomas, and French opéra lyrique” (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1972), 4. Most of the big Opéra-Comique premieres between Mignon (1866) and Manon (1884) were in the opéra lyrique style. Many works of this type premiered at the Théâtre Lyrique before 1870, then directed by Léon Carvalho, including works by Gounod (Faust and Roméo et Juliette) and Bizet (Les Pêcheurs de perles and La Jolie fille de Perth), several of which later entered the repertory of the Opéra-Comique. 278 Mary Jean Speare traces the gradual transition from number opera with parlé dialogue to through-composed opéra in the works of Delibes as an exemplification of this transformation. Speare, 304-314. 279 In the “Introduction” to French Opera, Huebner provides an overview of repertories and reportorial programming of the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique in this period, emphasizing the experimental programming of the latter theatre and its contribution to the project of renewal; Huebner, French Opera, 1-11. 280 These works include Auber’s Fra Diavolo (1830), Hérold’s Zampa (1831) and Le Pré aux clercs (1832), Adam’s one-act Le Chalet (1834), Auber’s Le Domino Noir (1837), Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment (1840), Massé’s one-act Les Noces de Jeannette (1853), Maillart’s Les Dragons de Villars (Théâtre Lyrique 1856); earlier works with a strong presence through the 1880s are Grétry’s Richard Coeur de Lion (1874), Rossini Le Barbier de Séville (Rome 1816, entered the repertory of the Opéra-Comique in 1884), and Boieldieu’s La Dame Blanche (1825). Albert Soubies, Soixante-neuf ans à l’Opéra-Comique en deux pages (Paris: Fischbacher, 1894). 281 Thomas, Mignon (1866); Gounod, Roméo et Juliette (Théâtre Lyrique, 1867, acquired by the Opéra-Comique in 1873); Bizet, Carmen (1875); Poise, L’Amour médecin (1880); the three works preceding Chabrier’s Le Roi proved ephemeral, the two-act Juge et partie (1886) by Edmond Missa and Gaston Salvayre’s Egmont (1886) received only three representations each, and Saint-Saëns’s Proserpine (1887), ten. Ibid. 218 Roi as “opéra comique au sens vrai du mot” (opéra comique in the truest sense of the word)282 with its Scribe-like libretto, conventional set pieces and character types, traditional forms, dance- based numbers, and spoken dialogue, its obvious similarities with the older form could hardly be overlooked. 283 In Le Roi, this overt generic conservatism is plainly evident on the large structural level. However, idiosyncrasies are present in the formal, harmonic, and rhythmic dimensions, and also in the treatment of melodic reminiscence, which routinely challenge this outward conventionality. At times subtle, these peculiarities are often immediately humorous, but in other instances their participation in humour production only becomes apparent when considered collectively. Strophic Forms There are the nine instances of self-contained strophic song in Le Roi,and all are based on the AABC + refrain form that was identified in Chapter 2 as common to French light operatic forms. Most, however, demonstrate creative humorous structural deviations from the four-squre template. The three numbers indicated as couplets are, predictably enough, structurally the most 282 Letter to Paul Lacome, dated 15 June 1886, in Chabrier, Correspondance, 354-355. 283 The majority of the numbers follow simple structural designs that carry long histories in French light opera traditions. There are nine instances of self-contained strophic song (numbers 2, 4, 5, 11b, 14b, and 17 are for solo voice; 12 and 18 are duets; the couplets of number 10 have an ensemble refrain), another ten follow ternary or “rondeau”-type patterns beginning and ending with a self-contained section with stable phraseology and tonality that frames one or more contrasting episodes (1a, 1b, 1c, 6, 7, 11a, 13, 16, and the rondeau à deux and the final from Act 3); there are no slow ternary cavatines of the type found in Gounod’s Faust or Massenet’s contemporaneous works and none of the major solos are written in ternary form. The remaining numbers (numbers 3, 8a-b-c, 9, 14a, 15, and the last two numbers of Act 3) all follow familiar operatic forms and are generally comprised of four- or eight-measure phrases with much repetition and homophonic writing. With the exception of Minka’s entrée these are all pieces for chorus or ensemble. Most contain multiple movements or sections that contrast as the action progresses and are similar in design and scope to the Act 2 finale of L’Étoile. The three exceptions are somewhat more complex: the duo for Nangis and Minka follows the familiar four-movement duet format of bel canto ancestry; this format is overlaid with strophic aspects and elements of the solo grand air (slow strophes—transition—cabalette) in the entrée de Minka; and the celebrated choeur dansé, frequently excerpted under the title Fête polonaise, is the longest stand-alone number of the score and is organized according to sonata principle. Also significant is the four-voice instrumental fugue that appears at the dramatic apex of the opera embedded in the otherwise conventional Act 2 final. 219 straightforward. 284 The simplest are the two solos for Fritelli, Italian buffo and incorrigible simpleton. The unaltered conventional structure of these couplets fittingly characterizes Example 4.1. Le Roi malgré lui, scène et couplets, mm. 1-29. 284 Couplets, the most common type of strophic piece in nineteenth-century opéra comique, are a usually a fast, light song in major mode with short poetic lines; each of the two strophes carries the characteristic refrain. 220 221 Fritelli and inconspicuously supports the humorous texts and word painting of these numbers. 285 The couplets in Act 2 for Henri beginning with the text “Bien souvent, seigneur Laski” (from #10; see Example 4.1 m. 15 ff.) are also organized AABC with regular four-measure groupings, but conventional structural expectations are undermined for humorous effect. The AABC organization is writ large across the strophe and the refrain (as was seen in two numbers of Ba- ta-clan), and the number demonstrates an unusual systematic lengthening of successive syntactical units. The first phrase consists of a repeated two-measure “basic idea” and the four- measure B phrase is then something of a continuation, making the strophe sentence-like. Alexina, Fritelli, and Laski then join in for the expanded transition (5 measures) that leads to an ensemble refrain of sixteen measures (based on a new melodic idea, C): Henri’s glib reflection 285 The strophe of “Je suis du pays des gondoles” (Act 3, #17) employs a clear AABC melodic structure with consistent four-measure phrases and the refrain is a series of four-measure units. A common variant is found in his other couplets, “Le Polonais est triste et grave” (#2), where B and C function together as the refrain and the instrumental opening recurs as a ritornello between the strophes and again at the end. 222 on the habitual betrayal of one’s intimates is paralleled by a nonchalant melodic style and a relaxed succession of four-measure phrases. The relatively loose organization of this number is accentuated by the contrast it offers to the clear-cut AABC structure of the preceding “scène” for Alexina, “Rien n’est aussi près de la haine” (opening of #10; see beginning of Example 4.1). Here, the habitually volatile duchess brings her best manners to deliver a pithy pronouncement on hatred and treachery that not only conforms rigorously to a standard form, but is also presented in a French baroque declamatory style complete with alternating measures of duple and triple meter and dignified rhetorical pauses on the downbeats. 286 Other strophic pieces contribute to the development of a character or scenario through more individualized structural manipulations. Minka’s two strophic pieces—the sprawling chanson tzigane (Act 2, #11) and the romance “Hélas! à l’esclavage” (Act 1, #4)—challenge structural constraints to reveal facets of her character and betray Minka’s resistance to easy categorization. 287 Nangis’s chanson française, “Je suis le Roi” (Act 2, #14B), is one of the
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Riddled constructs : a study of musical humour in Emmanuel Chabrier's comic operas Paulson, Jennifer Ellen 2011
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