LA VIE PARISIENNE
Offenbach and Vienna – that was a creative combination. The composer was a frequent visitor to the city on the Danube, where he presented his operettas soon after their world premiere and sometimes even conducted them himself. “La vie parisienne” – Parisian Life – likewise went on stage in Vienna, in early 1867, three months after its sensational debut in the French capital. The young actor and theatrical jack-of-all-trades Karl Treumann wrote the German text and persuaded impresario Johann Nestroy to add the work to the theatre’s programme. The Dresden State Operetta will be performing this Viennese version – the “original Treumann” lyrics, delightfully contrasted with new dialogues by Jasmin Solfaghari. The music follows the much-lauded Offenbach critical edition by Jean-Christophe Keck. The story goes as follows. Gardefeu and Bobinet are awaiting the same lady at the railway station: Métella. But Métella gives these rivals the cold shoulder – whereupon they swear to henceforth focus their efforts on wealthy society ladies. Opportunity soon arises for Gardefeu. His erstwhile servant Joseph is expecting Baron and Baroness Gondremarck from Sweden on behalf of the Grand Hôtel. Gardefeu slips into the role of tourist guide and puts on a show of “genuine” Parisian life for the visitors from Northern Europe just to approach the lovely Swedish woman. The baron and baroness are more than happy to enjoy themselves independently of one another. A Brazilian, well-known around town, is meanwhile fuelling emotions at the station.
Gardefeu leads his Swedish guests to believe they are in an annexe to the hotel when actually they’re in his apartment. At the baron’s request, Gardefeu tries to organize a social dinner on short notice. Out of the blue Métella shows up and runs into the Swedish baroness, who has since made herself at home. Métella learns from the letter of an ex-lover that she should “look after” the Swedish baron. She flirts with the baron before the eyes of Gardefeu and holds out the prospect of more. The first evening runs its course. The story continues at the house of Bobinet’s aunt, Quimper-Karadec. Attendants and relatives join forces on the second evening to play the part of “polite society” under Bobinet’s lead. While the baron is being offered an impromptu party, the meanwhile rather stressed-out “tour guide” Gardefeu tries to beguile the baroness in private after her visit to the opera. The intimate dinner for two of Gardefeu and the baroness is foiled by Madame Quimper-Karadec and her niece Folle-Verdure, who took Bobinet and Co. by surprise at their party and asks her friend, the baroness, for lodging. Gardefeu (the baroness is on to him by now, thanks to a hint from Métella) is not the least bit pleased by this arrangement, but has to stick to his role as “tour guide.” The three women vow to take “revenge” against the world of men.
The third day of our story. The Brazilian – who has meanwhile hooked up with the glovemaker Gabrielle – has organized a masked ball which Gondremarck, now in the know about Gardefeu’s swindle, attends as well. He still wants to meet up with Métella, oblivious to the fact that his wife, Madame Quimper-Karadec and her niece have made common cause with Métella and are trying their best to put him in an awkward situation. Gardefeu – challenged by the Swede – gets into trouble as well, before the baroness sets things straight. The Parisian life of the last few days may have just been theatre, it is true, but it’s been a long time since they’ve had such fun.
shorttime changes in the evening’s cast possible due to illness and force majeure