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Offenbach, Pépito and the Théâtre des Variétés: Politics and Genre in the First Year of the Second Empire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 June 2021


Offenbach's first commercially performed dramatic work, the opéra comique Pépito, premiered in Paris at the Théâtre des Variétés on 28 October 1853. This article examines it from historical and musical perspectives. First, I argue that its production at the Théâtre des Variétés is an example of what Mark Everist has called ‘the politics of genre’, in this case the attempts by managers of Parisian boulevard theatres to circumvent the hierarchical system of genre imposed on them by the government. Offenbach may have been directly complicit by offering an opéra comique to a theatre that was legally not allowed to perform the genre and by supplying a musical element – ‘local colour’ – as part of the political strategy by which the manager of the Variétés sneaked the opéra comique past the authorities. The subterfuge did not work, however: I argue that Pépito was recognised by audiences as an opéra comique primarily through the character of its music. A discussion of the score, and the musical competence of the original cast and orchestra of the Variétés, allows a partial reconstruction of the actual sound of the first performance of Pépito. Finally, I consider the later history of Pépito, and in a postscript suggest that a faint memory of Offenbach's Spanish opéra comique may have resurfaced twenty-two years later when Georges Bizet, who became part of Offenbach's circle in the late 1850s, was composing his own Spanish opéra comique, Carmen.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Richard Sherr, Smith College, Northampton, MA, USA;

Parts of this article were presented in a paper given at the Colloque Jacques Offenbach, musicien européen, Paris, Opéra-Comique, 21–22 June 2019. I am grateful to the anonymous readers of this journal and to Ralph P. Locke for many helpful comments and suggestions.


1 ‘Manuelita passe sa vie à penser et à regretter son fiancé Pepito, soldat depuis trois ans et dont elle voudrait rater le retour en rachetant, au prix de ses économies, les quatre années de service qu'il lui reste encore à faire, Un voisin, hôtelier comme elle, espèce de figaro grotesque, perd son temps à lui faire la cour. Mais survient le jeune Miguel, ami d'enfance de Manuelita, qui se prend aussi d'amour pour la belle hôtelière; il parvient, à force de tendresse et de dévouement, qu'il pousse jusqu’à vouloir aller remplacer Pepito à l'armée, à gagner peu à peu le cœur de Manuelita qui finit par se trouver heureuse d'apprendre le mariage de son fiancé infidèle et de pouvoir, de son côté, donner sa main à Miguel.’ Taken from the report of the censors: Paris, Archives nationales (hereafter F-Pan), F21 989, Extrait Type 2, Procès-verbaux de censure, Variétés, 1850–67: N.o 1953. Paris le 8 octobre/Théâtre des Variétés/Pepito/Vaudeville en un acte.

2 Number 8 in the musical sources (see later discussion), a duet between Manuelita and Vertigo, was performed on opening night (it is mentioned in some reviews) but dropped soon after (it is crossed out in all the parts and is not in the published piano-vocal score).

3 Everist, Mark, ‘The Music of Power: Parisian Opera and the Politics of Genre, 1806–1864’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 67 (2014), 687736CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Before Pépito Offenbach had composed a few musical numbers for Pascal et Chambord: a vaudeville first performed at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 3 February 1839; L'alcove, a one-act opéra comique, which had one performance at the Salle Moreau-Sainti on 24 March 1847; La duchesse d'Albe, a three-act opéra comique, which was scheduled to be performed at Adolphe Adam's Opéra-Nationale but the performance was cancelled due to the revolution of 1848 and the work only survives in fragmentary sources; Marielle oder Sergeant und Commandant, a German version of L'alcove, which had one performance at the Kölner Theater on 1 September 1849; and Le trésor à Mathurin, a one-act opéra comique whose music is presently available only in its revision as Le mariage aux lanternes of 1857, which had one performance at the Salle Herz on 5 July 1853. See Jean-Claude Yon, Jacques Offenbach (Paris, 2000).

5 Jacobo Kaufmann, Isaac Offenbach und sein Sohn Jacques, oder, ‘Es ist nicht alle Tage Purim’, Conditio Judaica 21 (Tübingen, 1998).

6 Alexandre François Auguste Vivien and Edmond Adolphe Blanc, Traité de la législation des théâtres ou exposé complet et méthodique des lois et de la jurisprudence relativement aux théâtres et spectacles publics, 2nd edn (Paris, 1830), 362–9.

7 This last theatre soon closed and over time other theatres were added to the list.

8 There has been very little study of the vaudeville in general and of the music of vaudevilles in particular. Theatre historians who deal with the genre always mention music, but it has not been the focus of any study until relatively recently. See Lothar Matthes, Vaudeville: Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und literatursystematischem Ort einer Erfolgsgattung (Heidelberg, 1983); Terni, Jennifer, ‘A Genre of Early Mass Culture: French Vaudeville and the City, 1830–1848’, Theatre Journal 58/2 (2006), 221–38Google Scholar; Mary S. Woodside, ‘Intertextuality in the Nineteenth-Century French Vaudeville’, in The Pop Palimpsest, ed. Lori Burns and Serge Lacasse (Ann Arbor, 2018), 190–212; Olivier Bara, ‘La revue de fin d'année à Paris au XIXe siècle: chambre d’écho de la culture musicale’, in Musical Theatre in Europe 1830–1945, ed. Michaela Niccolai and Clair Rowden (Turnhout, 2017), 3–21; Richard Sherr, ‘Comets, Calembours, Chorus Girls. The Music of the revue de fin d'année for the Year 1858 at the Théâtre des Variétés: A Preliminary Evaluation’, in Musical Theatre in Europe 1830–1945, ed. Niccolai and Rowden, 23–48. On the genre known as the féerie, see most recently, Tommaso Sabbatini, ‘Music, the Market, and the Marvelous: Parisian Féerie and the Emergence of Mass Culture’ (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2020).

9 See Terni, ‘A Genre of Early Mass Culture’.

10 ‘A prose play with interspersed songs.’ Talin (Henri Meilhac), ‘Comment se fait un vaudeville’, Le journal pour rire (9 July 1853). See Ralf-Olivier Schwarz, ‘Operette und Vaudeville im Vorfeld der Bouffes-Parisiens’, in Jacques Offenbach und das Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens 1855: Bericht über das Symposium Bad Ems 2005, ed. Peter Ackermann, Ralf-Olivier Schwarz and Jens Stern, Jacques-Offenbach Studien 1 (Fernwald, 2006), 51–98, at 77–80.

11 ‘petites pièces dans le genre grivois, poissard ou villageois, quelquefois mêlées de couplets également sur des airs connus’. Vivien and Blanc, Traité de la législation des théâtres, 364.

12 David Hillery, The Théâtre des Variétés in 1852, Durham Modern Language Series 1996 (Manchester, 2012). Nonetheless, Meilhac specifically associated the Variétés with Le vaudeville pastoral campagnard. See Talin, ‘Comment se fait un vaudeville’.

13 The financial records of the theatre from 1847 to 1855 reside in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, UK. I am extremely grateful to Judith Phillips, former archivist of the museum, and to Jason Hynes, the museum's photographer, for supplying me with copies of records for 1853.

14 The details are in F-Pan, F21 1133: Folder: Direction Carpier: Subfolder: Th. Des Variétés. D.on Carpier: Représentations: Danses Espagnoles. On the rage for Spanish dance troupes in Paris, see Lacombe, Hervé, ‘L'Espagne à Paris au milieu du XIXe siècle (1847–1857). L'influence d'artistes espagnols sur l'imaginaire parisien et la construction d'une “hispanicité”’, Revue de musicologie 88 (2002), 389431CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 The documents are F21 1133. These performances were basically entr'actes, and did not replace the usual programme of vaudevilles that the theatre put on every evening, nor did they conflict with the repertories of the grands théâtres.

16 It had fifteen performances from 6 to 22 January 1852. Napoleon III's coup d’état had occurred on 2 December 1851 so it is possible that the authorities had other things on their minds in January 1852.

17 Charles-Simon Favart, Soliman Second ou les trois sultanes, Comédie en trois actes et en vers, first performed at the Comédie Italien on 9 April 1761; music by Paul-César Gibert.

18 The uncle of the composer Jules Creste (1857–1907), with whom he seems to be constantly confused. See Annales des Basses-Alpes: Nouvelle série, vol. 10 (1901–2), 446.

19 It is clear from the extensive correspondence on this matter in F-Pan, F21 1133 that the text was the main motivation for Carpier to contact the authorities.

20 Everist, ‘The Music of Power’, 715–16.

21 Letter to Fould, dated 16 July 1853: ‘Au mépris des intentions de Votre Excellence, il parait constant, Monsieur le Ministre, que la pièce des Trois Sultanes dans laquelle doit débuter Ugalde comportera un développement musical tout aussi complet que celui d'un vrai opéra comique. Il ne s'agit plus seulement de morceaux ou d'airs détachés & intercalés mais de morceaux d'ensemble & de scène. L'engagement de quelques autres artistes de chant, les choristes du Théâtre Italien recrutés, l'orchestre renforcé, la mise en scène même de l'ouvrage qui comportera en même temps un certain développement chorégraphique—, tout constate un empiétement réel volontaire sur le domaine des théâtres lyriques & sur le privilège de l'Opéra Comique.’ (‘In defiance of the intentions of Your Excellency, it appears certain, Mr. Minister, that the play Les trois sultanes, in which Mme Ugalde is to debut, will include a musical component as elaborate as that of a real opéra comique. It does not merely concern a few musical numbers and isolated interpolated airs, but involves ensembles and whole scenes. The engagement of several other singers, the recruitment of the chorus of the Théâtre Italien, the enlargement of the orchestra, the very mise en scène of the work which will include a certain choreographic element – all this is a real and purposeful impingement on the domain of the lyric theatres and on the privilege of the Opéra-Comique.’)

22 Of course, this does not mean that the documents did not exist, but if they did, they were not archived, or if they were archived, they were then lost or removed.

23 Theatres were required to send two copies of the texts of every work they wished to produce to the censors of the Bureau des Théâtres. The censors marked up both copies, sent one back to the theatres and archived the other. The livret de censure for Pépito is in F-Pan F18 797. On 28 August 1853, the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris reported that rehearsals were in progress.

24 For the myriad designations of theatre works with music, see the ‘Music in Second Empire Theatre Database’ compiled by Mark Everist,

25 I have consulted nineteen reviews of the first performance. They are available at France: Musiques Cultures under ‘Collections/Offenbach: Pepito’,

26 ‘le théâtre des Variétés vient d'aborder résolûment l'opéra-comique, sous le titre modeste de PEPITO, pièce en un acte, mêlée de chant. Son privilège, qui procède d'un décret de la Convention, nous le croyons du moins, comme celui du Vaudeville de la rue de Chartres en procédait avant l'incendie de 1838, lui permet la chose, mais non pas le mot. Qu’à cela ne tienne! L'hypocrisie est la loi de ce monde; à bas le mot vive la chose!’ (‘the Théâtre des Variétés has resolutely moved into the realm of opéra comique with PEPITO, with the modest title of “play in one act with music”. We believe its licence (which comes from a decree of the Convention), like that of the Vaudeville of the rue de Chartres which preceded the fire of 1838, at least permits the thing if not the name. Let it continue! Hypocrisy is the law of the land; down with the word, long live the thing!’) Le siècle (1 November 1853).

27 F-Pan, F21 1133. ‘Paris le 3 9.bre 1853/Monsieur le Ministre et Cher Collègue, je suis informé que l'on joue en ce moment aux Variétés sous le titre de Pépito, pièce mêlée de chant, un ouvrage lyrique entièrement composé de musique nouvelle, et qui en s’écartant du genre spécialement attribué à ce Théâtre de vaudevilles, a l'inconvénient d'empiéter sur le domaine de l'Opéra Comique. Le maintien des genres intéressant à un égal dégré la prospérité de tous les Théâtres de Paris, soit qu'ils dépendent de votre administration, soit qu'ils se rattachent à la mienne, je vous serais reconnaissant pour ma part, de vouloir bien, au nom de cet intérêt commun, faire en sorte que les Directeurs du spectacle soient retenus à l'avenir dans les limites que les cahiers des charges imposent, comme une garantie réciproque, à chacune des entreprises dramatiques. Agréez, Monsieur le Ministre et Cher Collègue, l'assurance de ma haute considération. Le Ministre d’État’.

28 Everist, ‘The Music of Power’, 717; Yon, Jacques Offenbach, 119.

29 ‘Cette semaine, probablement mercredi [12 October], les artistes des Variétés donneront au château de Compiègne, devant LL. MM., la première représentation d'un petit opéra-comique, paroles de M. Léon Battu, musique de M. Offenbach. Cet ouvrage à trois personnages sera joué par Leclère, Biéval et Mlle Larcena.’

30 Morny had performed a similar service for Hervé (Florimond Ronger) when he arranged an advance private performance at the Tuileries Palace of Les folies dramatiques, vaudeville en cinq actes, by Dumanoir and Clairville (theatrical premiere at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 2 March 1853), which included Gargouillada, opera seria, an opera parody with music by Hervé. See Martens, Frederick H., ‘Musical Mirrors of the Second Empire: Part I’, The Musical Quarterly 16 (1930), 415–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 422.

31 The marriage took place on 30 January 1853.

32 Offenbach's wife's family, the Alcains, were merchants, while the Montijos were members of the high nobility. But it should be pointed out that his wife and Empress Eugénie shared two things: while their fathers were Spanish, their mothers were not ( his wife's mother was French and Eugénie's mother was Scottish), and they were born in the same year, 1826.

33 Eugénie was born in Grenada but had received most of her education in France and spoke French (and English) fluently. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Eugénie spoke French with a Spanish accent. For example: ‘Eugenie was complaining once at St. Cloud that she still spoke French with a Spanish accent. The emperor gallantly observed: “N'est-ce pas l'amour qui vous a appris le Français?” Eugenie looked at him, and quickly answered: “Non, c'est le Français qui m'apprit l'amour”.’ Napoleon III and his Court, by a Retired Diplomatist (London, 1875), 235; ‘She spoke French with a marked Spanish accent, and to my surprise, her voice had the harsh guttural sounds so frequent among Castilians, but which seemed strangely foreign to that sweet face, so delicate in its loveliness.’ Anna L. Bicknell, ‘Life in the Tuileries under the Second Empire, by an Inmate of the Palace’, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 50 (1895), 715.

34 Bibliothèque nationale de France (hereafter BnF), Département des Arts du Spectacle, fonds Théâtre des Variétés, 4-COL-106(1247). The set contains, besides the Répétiteur (containing the melodic lines of all the numbers, used for rehearsals and by the conductor), folders for flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinets, bassoon, horns, cornets, percussion (timpani, tambour de basque, castanets, triangle), strings. They are full of corrections and additions, many in Offenbach's hand.

35 ‘Exoticism’, Grove Music Online, See also Locke, ‘Les formes de l'exotisme: intrigues, personnages, styles musicaux’, in Histoire de l'opéra français. Du consulat aux débuts de la IIIème république, ed. Hervé Lacombe, 3 vols. (Paris, 2020), vol. 2, ch. 17, sec. 4.

36 There is a large bibliography on exoticism in Western music and on evocations of Spain in French music. See Jonathan Bellman, ed., The Exotic in Western Music (Boston, 1998); Ralph P. Locke, Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections (Cambridge, 2009) and his many articles on the subject; Lacombe, Hervé and Glidden, Peter, ‘The Writing of Exoticism in the Libretti of the Opéra-Comique, 1825–1862’, Cambridge Opera Journal 11 (1999), 135–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On Spanish elements in French music, see Bourdays, Christiane Le, ‘L'Hispanisme musicale français’, Revue internationale de musique française 6 (1981), 4152Google Scholar; Celsa Alonso, ‘La réception de la chanson espagnole dans la musique française du XIXe siècle’, in Échanges musicaux franco-espagnols XVIIe–XIXe siècles: actes des rencontre de Villecroze 15 au 17 octobre 1998, ed. François Lesure (Villecroze, 2000), 123–60; Hervé Lacombe, ‘L'Espagne à l'Opéra-Comique avant Carmen. Du Guitarrero de Halévy (1841) à Don César de Bazan de Massenet (1872)’, in Échanges musicaux franco-espagnols XVIIe–XIXe siècles, 161–93; Rodriguez, Francisco J. Giménez, ‘El Hispanismo musical francés: Hacia una revisión de la españolada’, Revista de musicología 28 (2005), 1365–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar; James Parakilas, ‘How Spain got a Soul’, in Exoticism in Western Music, ed. Bellman, 137–93; Isabelle Porto San Martin, ‘Le discours sur l'Espagne dans la presse musicale française: le filtre de l'opéra-comique (1833–1843)’, Médias 19,

37 Pierre Capelle, La clé du caveau à l'usage des chansonniers français et étrangers, des amateurs, auteurs, chefs d'orchestre et de tous les amis du vaudeville et de la chanson, 4th edn (Paris, 1851), no. 915.

38 Pépito, opéra comique en un acte…Paroles de M. Léon Battu et J. Moineaux, Musique de Jacques Offenbach (Paris, 1853).

39 A tuba-like instrument used to accompany plainchant in local churches.

40 See the discussion of this aria in Schwarz, ‘Operette und Vaudeville’, at 69–72, and Ralf-Olivier Schwarz, ‘Offenbach zitiert Rossini’, La Gazzetta, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Rossini Gesellschaft 17 (2007), 29–39.

41 ‘(Parlé sur un point d'orgue.) Ah! c'est à dire, non … je me trompe … pas Figaro … Vertigo.—Quoique si je voulais bien, je vous trousserais tout aussi bien que lui une petite serenade …—Non? … Eh! bien, jugez-en!’ (‘(Spoken after a fermata.) Ah! I mean, no … I made a mistake … not Figaro … Vertigo.—Although if I wanted to, I could concoct a little serenade as well as he could … No? … Well then, judge for yourselves!’)

42 The lyrics for this duet are in the livret de censure.

43 ‘Lorsque tout le monde eut fini de manger, des musiciens basques se firent entendre et leurs tambourins résonnèrent joyeusement sur ce beau plateau d'où s’étendait déjà une vue superbe. Alors l'Impératrice Eugénie, entendant un fandango, ne put résister au désir de danser aux sons de cette musique entraînante et prenant des mains d'un des musiciens basques une paire de castagnettes Sa Majesté esquissa avec une grâce et une élégance dont je n'ai jamais rien vu d'approchant, cette danse de Son pays natal!’ Pauline von Metternich-Sandor, Éclairs du passé (1859–1870) (Zurich, 1922), 12.

44 There is an outside possibility that the Overture was composed before Numbers 6ter and 7, but this is highly unlikely. Opera overtures are usually the last thing to be written.

45 Ralph Locke, ‘Spanish Local Color in Bizet's Carmen: Unexplored Borrowings and Transformations’, in Music, Theatre, and Cultural Transfer: Paris 1830–1914, ed. Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist (Chicago, 2009), 316–60, at 337.

46 The first three notes of the Overture, a, b, c♯, also echo the rising major third of the Garcia melody.

47 Le constitutionnel of 24 and 27 October 1853 reported that two vaudevilles, Les saltimbanques and Riche d'amour, were performed, but does not mention Pépito. See also Alphonse Leveaux, Le Théâtre de la Cour à Compiègne pendant le regne de Napoléon III (Paris, 1882–5), 14–16, which also does not mention Pépito.

48 L'indépendance belge (6 November 1853): letter from Paris dated 4 November.

49 Gazette des beaux arts, vol. 1 (23 January 1853–15 December 1853), 276–7.

50 Everist's database records two productions at the Variétés in the period 1853–64 that could be classified as opérette or opéra comique: L'Amour et Psyché, text by Paul Aubry, music by Auguste Pilati, first performed at the Variétés on 13 December 1856; and Méphistophélès, text by Michel Delaporte, music by ‘Ruytler’ (Pilati), first performed at the Variétés on 13 March 1858. Neither was advertised as an opéra comique or opérette: the first was designated a vaudeville, and the second a saynète or scène comique.

51 ‘Pepito ne serait qu'un joli vaudeville, si les auteurs avaient employés tous les airs en vogue depuis un demi-siècle, mais grâce à la musique nouvelle de M. Jacques Offenbach, Pepito est un charmant petit opéra-comique’. Le charivari (30 October 1853).

52 Auguste Lireux, Le constitutionnel (31 October 1853).

53 Jules Lovy, Le ménestrel (30 October 1853); Adolphe Adam, L'assemblée nationale (8 November 1853).

54 ‘Ce petit drame à trois personnages est bien coupé pour le chant et pur le chant, et le musicien s'en est donné à cœur-joie! Ainsi les couplets, les duos, les romances, les chansons, les trios! S'il n'y a pas de quatuor, c'est que véritablement ils ne sont que trois à chanter cette agréable partition’. Le journal des débats (31 October 1853).

55 ‘cette surabondance de notes de tout genre qui s’élèvent de l'orchestre pour étouffer les motifs du chant’.

56 Brisset and Thierry, like Lireux, were authors and theatre critics, much more interested in text than in any music that might accompany it.

57 Not in the piano-vocal score.

58 Major cuts were made in this number after the first performance. They are restored in the piano-vocal score.

59 Not in the piano-vocal score.

60 Not in the piano-vocal score.

61 Included in the piano-vocal score as the beginning of Number 7. See previous discussion.

62 Not in the piano-vocal score.

63 This entire number was cut after the first performance and is not in the piano-vocal score.

64 Major cuts were made in this number. They are restored in the piano-vocal score.

65 The basic structure of the ensemble is as follows (piano-vocal score, 42–79): bars 1–15, Introduction, Allegro, 3/4, C major; bars 15–77, Trio, Moderato quasi andante, G major; bars 78–203, Transition, Allegro, 3/8, E major–b minor–F♯ major–B♭ major–g minor; bars 204–391, Drinking Song (couplets), Allegretto, 2/4, G major; bars 392–441, Transition, Moderato, , C major; bars 428–60, Modified Reprise of the Drinking Song; bars 461–542, Transition (no tempo indication), 2/4, E major (no change of signature)–G major–modulating suddenly to E♭ (V of A♭ major); bars 543–650, Ensemble, Allegro moderato, 2/4, A♭ major; bars 651–71, Transition, Andante, , diminished seventh modulating to G major (V of C major); bars 672–703, Ensemble, Andantino très doux, , C major.

66 The performing sources for Un homme de cinquante ans are in BnF, Département des Arts du Spectacle, fonds Théâtre des Variétés 4-COL-106(1145).

67 See F-Pan AJ37 211: Conservatoire National de Musique et de Déclamation: Régistre N.o 3 De M.r Auber, Directeur: Pour les Examens généraux des classes, des Aspirants Par les Comités d'Enseignement. For instance: 17 June 1851, Chant, Ponchard, ‘le contraire existe chez celui-ci, dans un corps solide et bien portant il n'existe qu'une voix mesquine et sans la moindre mérite’ (‘opposites exist within this one, in a solid and healthy body there exists only an insignificant voice without the slightest merit’); 18 June 1851, Opéra Comique, Moreau-Sainti, ‘sera plus comédien que chanteur’ (‘will be more of an actor than a singer’). On vocal instruction at the Conservatoire in the nineteenth century, see Pierre Girod, ‘Les mutations d'un ténor romantique, contribution à une histoire du chant français à l’époque de Gilbert Duprez (1837–1871)’ (PhD diss., Université Rennes 2, 2015).

68 Constant Pierre, Le Conservatoire nationale de musique et de déclamation (Paris, 1900), 801.

69 She had previously appeared in Les trois sultanes.

70 See F-Pan AJ37 211.

71 Pierre, Le Conservatoire nationale, 788.

72 Le constitutionnel (25 May 1852); F-Pan, AJ37 211, 18 June 1850, ‘Classe de chant de M. Garcia (suppléant M. Barbot): de contralto elle devient mezzosoprano’ (‘she is changing from contralto to mezzo-soprano’); 19 December 1850, Giuliani, ‘mezzo soprano. Sa voix et son intelligence donnent de l'espoir, mais il lui reste à corriger des défauts contractés prochainement dans l’émission de la voix et dans le mécanisme en général’ (‘mezzo-soprano. Her voice and her intelligence give hope, but she needs to correct her recent mistakes in voice production and the general mechanism of singing’).

73 Pay lists for 1848 and 1853 exist in F-Pan, F21 1137 and F21 1044; Hillery, The Théâtre des Variétés in 1852, 96–106, lists the members of the orchestra in 1852.

74 In Number 6ter the first violins are muted. At the end of Number 7, the first violins are instructed to play the final a2 as a natural harmonic.

75 ‘L'orchestre des Variétés, qui a le défaut d'accompagner trop fort dans le vaudeville, s'est piqué d'honneur et a rendu avec une grande délicatesse les diverses nuances de cette musique, dont l'exécution est très-minutieuse.’ L'assemblée nationale (8 November 1853).

76 Two further performances were announced for 6 December and 13 December, but in both cases Pépito was replaced with a vaudeville. See Bowes Museum JB/7/6/1, which contains nightly receipts and royalty payments for all performances at the Variétés in 1849–55.

77 It is possible to estimate Offenbach's royalties for the twenty-six performances as 693 francs 49 centimes: hardly a fortune, but still more than two-thirds the average yearly salary of any member of the orchestra of the Variétés. Bowes Museum JB/7/6/1.

78 I have been unable to locate the Chaillot parts.

79 The part is in Offenbach's hand. At the bottom of Number 5 there is a note: ‘Je prie le graveur de gravir deux fois le couplet de la chanson à boire au lieu de faire une reprise’ (‘I ask the engraver to engrave the couplet of the chanson twice instead of using repeat signs’).

80 Yon, Jacques Offenbach, 119.

81 Reported by Henri Blanchard in La revue et gazette musicale de Paris (2 April 1854). See also, Le nouvelliste (4 April 1854 and 9 April 1854).

82 Everist, ‘The Music of Power’, 717.

83 Entitled Das Mädchen von Elisonzo, first performed on 18 December 1858. The German libretto (which may not have been printed) was probably prepared by Karl Treumann, who played Vertigo. Various changes were made for this production. Three of the characters were renamed (Pépito became Fernando, Manuelita became Marguerita, Miguel became Vasco). Miguel/Vasco was changed from a tenor to a trouser role. The Carltheater did not make use of Offenbach's printed orchestral parts, but commissioned a new orchestration from its music director Carl Binder (the score is in Vienna, Östereichisches Nationalbibliothek, Mus.Hs. 25685). The first Offenbach operetta to be performed in Vienna at the Carltheater, on 16 October 1858, was Die Hochzeit bei Laternenschein (Le mariage aux lanternes), also with a new orchestration by Binder.

84 The piano-vocal score for the Berlin production entitled Das Mädchen von Elizondo (German libretto by J.C. Grünbaum) was published by Bote & Bock. It includes the spoken dialogue in German and the lyrics in German and French.

85 Le monde illustré (14 September 1861), 589.

86 Mark Everist is preparing a study of the history of opéra bouffe and opérette. I thank him for sharing some unpublished research with me.

87 Pépito, opéra comique en 1 acte, paroles de L. Battu et J. Moineaux, partition conforme au théâtre, paroles et musique sans accpt. BnF, Département de Musique, VM5-3594.

88 BnF, Département de Musique, VM26-455. Presumably the source of the orchestra parts was the Chaillot publication. It seems unlikely that Grus consulted the parts in the archive of the Variétés. The BnF has the string parts of the Grus publication. There were probably parts for the winds, brass and percussion that have not survived.

89 Announcements of a performance of Pépito for the opening of the Théâtre Athénée Saint-Germain appeared in the press in April–May 1899, but there were delays in opening the theatre and a change of management, and when it finally opened in November 1899, Pépito was no longer on the programme.

90 I am aware of three recordings of Pépito: a CD of a French radio production in 1975 with Mady Mesplé, Albert Voli and Yves Bisson, a CD of a 1949 recording of the German version with Bettina Bruckner, Franz Fehringer and Sanders Schier, and a CD of a radio performance in English broadcast by the BBC in 1980 with Fiona Dobbie, Alan Opie and Adrian Thompson, which appears to be unavailable.

91 Sherr, Richard, ‘Notes on Offenbach's Interesting In-laws’, The Jacques Offenbach Society Newsletter 91 (2020), 21–6Google Scholar.

92 Archives Bordeaux Métropole, Registre des actes de naissance de Bordeaux, Section 1, 1828–1828, 1 E 147, fol. 96v–97r: Number 716 dated 26 June 1828.

93 José Bernardo de Alcain died in Paris on 30 June 1854.

94 ‘Je suis né à Elizondo’ (‘I was born in Elizondo’) are José's first words as he begins the narration of the Carmen story, Carmen, ch. III.

95 ‘La jour qu'il est tombé au sort, il me donna cette petite fleur de cassie qu'il venait de cueiller dans la montagne, en me promettant de m'aimer toujours. Depuis, la pauvre fleur s'est fanée sur mon cœur, mais, dedans, l'amour est resté frais comme le premier jour.’ Although ‘fleur de cassie’ is often translated as ‘acacia blossom’, it was actually an entirely different flower from the Senna plant. I thank Richard Langham Smith for sending me a description of this flower and plant, which appears in his Bizet's Carmen Uncovered (Boydell & Brewer, 2021).

96 Carmen, ch. III: ‘Et prenant la fleur de cassie qu'elle avait à la bouche, elle me la lança, d'un mouvement du pouce, juste entre les deux yeux. Monsieur cela me fit l'effet d'une balle qui m'arrivait … Je ne savais où me fourrer, je demeurais immobile comme une planche.’ (‘And taking the cassia blossom that was in her mouth, she flipped it at me with her thumb so that it hit me just between the eyes. Sir, I felt as if a bullet had struck me. I didn't know which way to turn. I sat stock-still, like a wooden board.’)

97 Macdonald, Hugh, Bizet (Oxford, 2014), 28Google Scholar. The Bizets were living on the rue de Laval (now the rue Victor Massé). When Larcena married Léon Sibert in 1855, her address was given as rue Trévise (29). The Offenbachs lived in the Passage Saulnier. All these streets in the 9th arrondissement are within easy walking distance of one another.

98 Macdonald, Bizet, 23–5.

99 As in the ‘fate motive’.

100 Locke, ‘Spanish Local Color in Bizet's Carmen’, 355.

101 Elizondo is mentioned as José's birthplace in the dialogue between José and Carmen in Act I scene 10.

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