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Barbe-bleue TV-Operetta France 1956 Raymond Amade, Mireille Lacoste, Jacqueline Chambard

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Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: INA  
  • Date Published: 1956  
  • Format: Broadcast
  • Quality Video: 3 Audio:3
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from:     FULL VIDEO

Barbe-bleue (French pronunciation: [baʁb blø], Bluebeard) is an opéra bouffe, or operetta, in three acts (four scenes) by Jacques Offenbach to a French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy based on Charles Perrault’s 1697 story.

Act 1
SCENE: A small rural village with the castle of Squire Bluebeard prominent

King Bobèche, not wanting a girl as his heir, abandoned his daughter Hermia when she was three years old. Now aged eighteen and living as a shepherdess under the assumed name Fleurette, she is in love with the young and attractive shepherd boy Saphir but is not happy that he has not yet proposed marriage to her. The King’s chamberlain Oscar discovers that the shepherdess “Fleurette” is really the Princess Hermia and requires her to return to the King’s court, which however means she must leave the boy she loves. Squire Bluebeard has recently lost his fifth wife and sends his alchemist Popolani to the village to find a virginal young peasant girl to become his sixth wife. Popolani decides to choose a wife for the squire by holding a raffle, but the winner turns out to be the anything but virginal Boulotte. Bluebeard is delighted with his new wife.

Act 2
SCENE ONE: The royal palace

King Bobèche wants to increase his glory and is practicing court etiquette. He is delighted to welcome his long lost daughter back to his side and to find her a royal bridegroom. Fleurette resists any thought of marriage until she discovers, to her joy, that her intended mate is Saphir, not a shepherd boy as she had thought, but a prince who had disguised himself as such to be near her, since he was madly besotted by her. Squire Bluebeard comes to pay King Bobèche a visit and to show off his new wife Boulotte, but is instantly smitten by Princess Hermia.

SCENE TWO: Popolani’s dungeon

Bluebeard orders Popolani to dispose of his new wife Boulotte as, he thinks, Popolani has disposed of all his previous wives by poisoning them, so that Bluebeard can marry Hermia. But Popolani has only been pretending to kill Bluebeard’s wives, in fact he has only been giving them sleeping pills, not poison, and they have all been living in comfortable apartments. Bluebeard witnesses, in the midst of a storm, what he thinks is the murder of his latest wife Boulotte, but after she wakes up from the sleeping potion, the feisty young lady leads the other “dead” wives in a march on the castle.

Act 3
SCENE: The chapel in the royal palace

Hermia and Saphir are entering the chapel for their marriage when Bluebeard interrupts the procession and demands by force of arms, having the palace surrounded by his military forces, that Hermia be surrendered to him as his seventh wife, Boulotte, as he thinks, having died. But he is embarrassed by the selfsame Boulotte turning up leading in a furious procession of his other “dead” wives. They are accompanied by five lords who were also supposedly put to death for having flirted with Queen Clémentine. The solution is found- the “dead” lords will marry the “dead” wives, Bluebeard will stay with Boulotte and the marriage of Hermia and Saphir can proceed.

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