May 11 (7:00 p.m.), 14, 16 and 18 (8:00 p.m.), 2013
Guest conductor: Jean-François RIVEST
Stage director: Alain GAUTHIER
Baronne de Gondremarck
Frick and Prosper
Monique PAGÉ, soprano
Marc HERVIEUX, tenor
Nathalie PAULIN, soprano
Pascale BEAUDIN, soprano
Éric THÉRIAULT, tenor
Hugues SAINT-GELAIS, tenor
Patrick MALLETTE, baritone
Judith BOUCHARD, soprano
Le Chœur de l’Opéra de Québec
L’Orchestre symphonique de Québec
Original French version
The Western Railroad Station
Two rival suitors are standing on opposite sides of the train station, waiting for their girlfriend, Métella, who is returning from the seashore, but she appears holding Gontran’s arm. She appears to recognize neither Raoul de Gardefeu, nor Bobinet. Faced with this treason, the two rivals reconcile and decide to go hunting for women of the world. Bobinet undertakes to court a countess, and Gardefeu disguises himself as a tourist guide attached to the Grand Hotel to shepherd the Baron and Baroness Gondremarck, a Swedish couple thirsty for the experience of “Parisian Life”.
A group of travelers arrives, including a Brazilian with a weakness for Parisian follies, who is prepared to give all he has in his quest for love.
A Living Room in the Gardefeu residence
Gabrielle, a glover, and Frick, a boot maker, appear to deliver gloves and boots. Gardefeu has installed the Swedes in his own home, making them believe that they are in an annex of the Grand Hotel. Baron Gondremarck does not deny that he came to Paris to have the time of his life, especially considering that he had received a letter that highly recommends a certain Métella.
But first, to get off to a good start, the Baron wants to take full advantage of the hotel’s dining room to avoid dining alone with the Baroness. Gardefeu, who had not anticipated this situation, asks the glover and the boot maker to disguise themselves as the widow of a colonel and as Major Edouard, and to bring ten friends, all émigrés.
Métella’s arrival complicates the situation. When she sees the Baroness installed in Gardefeu’s home, a jealous Métella demands an explanation. Gardefeu then shows her a letter of introduction from Baron Frascata, a Swede who had once known Métella, wherein he recommends his friend, Gondremarck, to her. Gondremarck presents himself to her, and she says that she will give her answer in a few days.
The guests arrive and the party begins!
The great hall of the Quimper-Karadec Hotel
Everyone is busily occupied in preparing to receive foreign dignitaries. Bobinet inspects his servants, who will soon be disguised as colorful personalities. The Baron Gondremarck is the first to appear, followed by General Malaga de Porto-Rico and the Prince of Manchabal. All the guests have bombastic, grandiose titles.
The major-domo announces the arrival of the admiral…none other than Bobinet who was unable to get into his too-small costume, which unfortunately split down the back. This mini-drama sets the stage for the evening’s culinary pleasure. Everybody forgets his cares and a general exhilaration falls over the assembly.
The Café Anglais, midnight
The Brazilian has ordered supper in one of the salons. While waiting, the waiters receive instructions from the Maitre d’: Here, in this restaurant, you must be prepared to close your eyes…. Baron Gondremarck has reserved a private nook in preparation for a delicious tête-à-tête with Métella. She suggests that he should dine, not with her, but with one of her masked friends, who has just arrived. This “friend” is actually the Baroness in disguise. The Baron recognizes his wife and, after having installed her in the nook and having ordered supper for her, he leaves her to seek Gardefeu and demand an explanation.
Revellers interrupt. The Baron demands redress from Gardefeu. Everyone has his say, and the Baron must admit that, after all, he has eaten, drunk and laughed quite heartily. The Baroness pardons the Baron’s weaknesses and all eat joyfully in honor of the glory of Parisian life!
For a better understanding and appreciation of the opera
The Opéra de Québec offers conferences presented by Irène Brisson, a well-known musicologist. Ms. Brisson will introduce the productions of the Opéra de Québec, and will use excerpts from appropriate DVDs to illustrate her commentary.
La Vie parisienne
Friday, May 3, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Foyer Louis-Fréchette du Grand Théâtre de Québec
Opéra de Québec subscription holders pay only $12 for one conference, $20 for two.
All others: $17 for one conference, $30 for two.
(All taxes included)