Lecocq: La fille de Madame Angot / Rouland, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
La Fille de Madame Angot, an opéra-comique in three acts, was premiered at the Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes in Brussels on 4 December 1872 before scoring a similar triumph in France on 21 February 1873. In the Paris of the Directory period, Clairette Angot, an orphan raised by the people of Les Halles market, falls in love with the songwriter Ange Pitou. But, after many amorous and political plot twists, she resigns herself to marrying the wigmaker Pomponnet. Lecocq’s score, with its succession of hit numbers, created such enthusiasm that it enjoyed a run of more than four hundred performances at the Folies-Dramatiques, before conquering the French provinces and then the whole world in various translations. The work is still a relatively popular staple of the light operatic repertory even today. The Palazzetto Bru Zane here presents the first recording of the original version, with its unusual orchestration and several numbers that have fallen into oblivion.
La Fille de Mme Angot is a delightful show; and this new recording, which includes some changes from other recordings, is outstanding. It has been recorded before, but the earlier recordings were edited or shortened. Bru Zane’s new recording is the first of the original 1872 Brussels version using the operetta’s original orchestrations and contents.
The libretto (by Charles Clairville, Paul Siraudin, and Victor Konig) is set in the regime of post-revolutionary France, in the period before Napoleon and after Danton and Robespierre. Those intervening years were nostalgic for the 1872 audience, and the action was far enough in the past for a comic operetta. There are some allusions to this political tension when some of the characters support opposing sides. This is all lightened by LeCocq’s ingratiating score, and the proceedings are kept buoyant. The operetta was extremely popular and had almost 1000 performances in Brussels and Paris in its initial runs. Eventually it proved to be the most popular operetta of late-19th Century French theatre.
The new recording is simply delightful, the singing and playing effervescent. The cast is exceptional. Standouts include Veronique Gens as Mlle Lange and Anne-Catherine Gillet as Clairette. These ladies carry the show and their acting and singing is first-rate. The men are just as fine, with Mathias Vidal’s ripe tenor as the fickle Pitou, Artavazd Sargsyan as the fussy Pomponnet, and Matthieu Lecroart as the deceived Larivaudiere. Conductor Rouland leads the spritely orchestra, and the chorus is lively.
Bru Zane’s luxurious bound-in book includes a complete French and English libretto, track listings, notes, photos, drawings, and commentary. I would suggest purchasing this outstanding recording as soon as possible. My review copy is number 2426 of a limited edition of 4500.
-- American Record Guide
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Catalog Number: BZ1046
Label: Bru Zane
Composer: Charles Lecocq
Conductor: Sebastien Rouland
Orchestra/Ensemble: Concert Spirituel Chorus, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
Performer: Veronique Gens, Matthieu Lecroart, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Antoine Philippot, Flannan Obe, Matthias Vidal, David Witczak, Artavadz Sargsyan, ingrid Perruche
La fille de Madame Angot
Composer: Charles Lecocq
Ensemble: Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Concert Spirituel Chorus
Performer: Matthieu Lécroart, Anne-Catherine Dillet, Antoine Philippot, Flannan Obé, Mathias Vidal, David Witczak, Artavazd Sargsyan, Ingrid Perruche, Véronique Gens
Conductor: Sébastien Rouland