Jean De Paris
In three acts by ADRIEN BOIELDIEU.
Text by St. JUST.
After a lapse of many years this spirited little opera has again been
put upon the stage and its success has shown, that true music never
Next to the "Dame blanche" Jean de Paris is decidedly the best of
Boieldieu's works; the music is very graceful, fresh and lively, and
the plot, though simple and harmless is full of chivalric honor and
The scene takes us back to the 17th century and we find ourselves in an
inn of the Pyrenees.
The young and beautiful Princess of Navarre being widowed and her year
of mourning having passed, is induced by her brother, the King of
Navarre, to marry again. The French Crown-Prince has been selected by
the two courts as her future husband, but both parties are of a
somewhat romantic turn of mind and desire to know each other, before
being united for life.
For this purpose the Prince undertakes a journey to the Pyrenees, where
he knows the Princess to be.
In the first scene we see preparations being made for the reception of
the Princess, whose arrival has been announced by her Seneshal. In the
midst of the bustle there enters a simple Page to demand rooms for his
master. As he is on foot the host treats him spitefully, but his
daughter Lorezza, pleased with his good looks, promises him a good
dinner. While they are still debating, the numerous suite of the
Prince comes up and without further ado takes possession of the house
and stables, which have been prepared for the Princess and her people.
The host begins to feel more favorably inclined towards the strange
Seigneur, though he does not understand, how a simple citizen of Paris
(this is the Prince's incognito), can afford such luxury.
By the time "Monsieur Jean de Paris" arrives the host's demeanour has
entirely changed and seeing two large purses with gold, he abandons the
whole house to the strange guest, hoping that he shall have prosecuted
his journey before the arrival of the Princess. But he has been
mistaken, for no sooner are Jean de Paris' people quartered in the
house, than the Seneshal, a pompous Spanish Grandee arrives, to
announce the coming of the Princess. The host is hopelessly
embarrassed and the Seneshal rages at the impudence of the citizen, but
Jean de Paris quietly intimates, that the house and everything in
it are hired by him, and courteously declares, that he will play the
host and invite the Princess to his house and dinner.
While the Seneshal is still stupefied by such unheard-of impudence, the
Princess arrives, and at once takes everybody captive by her grace and
loveliness. Jean de Paris is fascinated and the Princess who instantly
recognizes in him her future bridegroom, is equally pleased by his
appearance, but resolves to profit and to amuse herself by her
To the Seneshal's unbounded surprise she graciously accepts Jean's
In the second act the preparations for the dinner of the honored guests
have been made. Olivier the Page shows pretty Lorezza the minuets of
the ladies at court, and she dances in her simple country-fashion,
until Olivier seizes her and they dance and sing together.
Jean de Paris stepping in, sings an air in praise of God, beauty and
chivalry and when the Princess appears, he leads her to dinner, to the
unutterable horror of the Seneshal. Dinner, service, plate, silver,
all is splendid and all belongs to Jean de Paris, who sings a tender
minstrel's-song to the Princess; she sweetly answers him, and telling
him, that she has already chosen her knight, who is true, honest and of
her own rank, makes him stand on thorns for a while, lest he be too
late,--until he perceives that she only teazes in order to punish him
for his own comedy. Finally they are enchanted with each other,
and when the people come up, the Prince, revealing his true name,
presents the Princess as his bride, bidding his suite render homage to
their mistress. The Seneshal humbly asks forgiveness, and all unite in
a chorus in praise of the beautiful pair.