Opera: La Fille De Madame Angot – Charles Lecocq

“La Fille de Madame Angot” or “Madame Angot’s Daughter,” an opera bouffe in three acts, the words by Clairville, Siraudin and Koning and the music by Charles Lecocq, was first presented at the Fantaisies Parisiennes, Brussels, in November, 1872.

CHARACTERS

Mademoiselle Lange, an actress, favorite of Barras. Clairette Angot, betrothed to Pomponnet. Larivaudiere, friend of Barras and conspiring against the Republic. Pomponnet, barber of the market and hair-dresser of Mlle. Lange. Ange Pitou, a Poet in love with Clairette. Louchard, police officer at the orders of Larivaudiere. Amarante, Javotte, market-women. Hersillie, a servant of Mlle. Lange. Trenitz, a dandy of the period, officer of the Hussars. Babet, Clairette’s servant. Cadet, Guillaume, market-men. Buteaux,

The scene of the opera is laid in France just after the revolution of 1793. The directorate has been established and Barras is at its head. The characters are semi-historical. The heroine is a charming flower-girl called Clairette, daughter of the famous Madame Angot, who has been educated better than most of her associates and has been adopted as ” Child of the Market.” A marriage with Pornponnet, a hair-dresser, has been arranged for her against her will, for she is in love with Ange Pitou, a satirist and writer of political songs, who is continually getting into trouble on account of his revolutionary effusions. His latest composition has been in disclosure of the relations between Mlle. Lange, the actress and the favorite of Barras, and one Larivaudière. The latter has bought him off. Clairette gets possession of the song and, to avoid her marriage with Pornponnet, sings it publicly and is, as she expects, arrested and her wedding unavoidably postponed. Mlle. Lange summons the girl to her to learn the reason of her attack and is surprised to recognize in her an old schoolmate. Pomponnet loudly protests her innocence and says that Ange Pitou is the author of the verses. Mlle. Lange already knows of this Ange Pitou and is not unmindful of his charms. He has been invited to her presence and comes while Clairette is present and the interview is marked with more than cordiality. The jealous Larivaudière appears meantime and, to clear herself, Mlle. Lange declares that Ange Pitou and Clairette are lovers and have come to the house to join in a meeting of conspirators to be held at midnight. The conspirators arrive in due time, but in the midst of proceedings, the house is surrounded by Hussars ; the crafty Lange hides the badges of the conspirators, ” collars black and tawny wigs,” and the affair takes on the appearance of nothing more dangerous than a ball. The Hussars join gaily in the dance but before the impromptu function is ended, Clairette and Mlle. Lange make the discovery that they both are fond of the poet. Clairette schemes to ascertain whether the other is playing her false and succeeds also in proving to herself that Ange Pitou is untrue. The actress and the poet receive public disapproval and Clairette consents to marry the faithful Pomponnet.

The music is of so graceful and melodious character as to make “La Fille de Mme. Angot” one of the most beloved light operas France has ever known. It also won great popularity throughout Europe and the United States. Among the prominent numbers are Clairette’s romance, ” Je vous dois tout” (” I owe you all”); Amaranthe’s song, “Marchande de Marée” (” A beautiful fisherwoman “) ; Ange Pitou’s plaint, ” Certainement j’aime” (“‘Tis true I love “) ; the political “chanson” which causes the arrest of Clairette, ” Jadis, les rois, race proscrite” (” Once kings, a race proscribed “) ; Pomponnet’s “Elle est tellement innocente” (” She is so innocent “) ; the duet of Clairette and Mademoiselle Lange, ” Jours fortunés” (” Happy Days”); the conspirators’ chorus, “Quand on conspire” (” When one conspires”); Clairette’s songs, “Vous aviez fait de la dépense” (” You put yourselves to great expense “) and “Ah! c’est vous, Madame Barras” (“Ah! ’tis you then, Madame Barras”).