The Postilion Of Longjumeau





In three acts by ADOLPHE ADAM.



Text by LEUVEN and BRUNSWICK.





This charming little opera is well worthy of being named among the best

of its kind, both on account of its delightful music and because the

text is so entertaining and funny as entirely to captivate the hearer's

interest.



The whole opera is essentially French in the best sense of the word and

we scarce can find a more graceful and witty composition. Its subject,

written originally in good French verse is as follows:



Chapelou, stage-driver at Longjumeau is about to celebrate his marriage

with the young hostess of the post-house, Madelaine. The wedding has

taken place and the young bride is led away by her friends, according

to an old custom, while her bridegroom is held back by his comrades,

who compel him to sing. He begins the romance of a young

postilion, who had the luck to be carried away by a Princess, having

touched her heart by his beautiful playing on the cornet. Chapelou has

such a fine voice, that the Superintendent of the Grand Opera at Paris,

the Marquis de Corcy, who hears him, is enchanted, and being in search

of a good tenor, succeeds in winning over Chapelou, who consents to

leave his young wife in order to follow the Marquis' call to glory and

fortune. He begs his friend Bijou, a smith, to console Madeleine, by

telling her that he will soon return to her. While Madeleine calls for

him in tenderest accents, he drives away with his protectors and Bijou

delivers his message, determined to try his fortune in a similar way.

The desperate Madeleine resolves to fly from the unhappy spot, where

everything recalls to her her faithless husband.



In the second act we find Madeleine under the assumed name of Madame de

Latour. She has inherited a fortune from an old aunt, and makes her

appearance in Paris as a rich and noble lady, with the intention of

punishing her husband, whom she however still loves. During these six

years, that have passed since their wedding-day, Chapelou has won his

laurels under the name of St. Phar and is now the first tenor of the

Grand Opera and everybody's spoilt favorite. Bijou is with him as

leader of the chorus, and is called Alcindor. We presently witness a

comical rehearsal in which the principal singers are determined to do

as badly as possible. They all seem hoarse and instead of

singing, produce the most lamentable sounds. The Marquis de Corcy is

desperate, having promised this representation to Mme. Latour, at whose

country-seat near Fontainebleau he is at present staying. As soon as

St. Phar hears the name of this lady, his hoarseness is gone and all

sing their best. We gather from this scene, that Mme. Latour has

succeeded in enthralling St. Phar; he has an interview with her, and,

won by his protestations of love, she consents to marry him.



St. Phar, not wishing to commit bigamy, begs his friend Bijou to

perform the marriage-ceremony in a priest's garb, but Mme. Latour locks

him in her room, along with Bourdon, the second leader of the chorus,

while a real priest unites the pair for the second time.



St. Phar enters the room in high spirits, when his companions, beside

themselves with fear, tell him that he has committed bigamy. While

they are in mortal terror of being hanged, Mme. Latour enters in her

former shape as Madeleine, and blowing out the candle, torments St.

Phar, assuming now the voice of Mme. Latour, now that of

Madeleine.--After having sent her fickle husband into an abyss of

unhappiness and fear, the Marquis de Corcy, who had himself hoped to

wed the charming widow, appears with the police to imprison the

luckless St. Phar, who already considers himself as good as hanged, and

in imagination sees his first wife Madeleine rejoicing over his

punishment. But he has been made to suffer enough and at the

last moment Madelaine explains everything, and Chapelou obtains her

pardon.





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