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New edition of Offenbach's Grande-Duchesse published

(July 2012)

The latest publication in the acclaimed Offenbach Edition Keck is a new vocal score of La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, the composer’s entertaining satire on politics and militarism.

The new edition of Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein, recently published on sale, is the result of many years of research by Jean-Christophe Keck, including on-stage trials in numerous productions over the past decade. The staging by Laurent Pelly in Grenoble and Paris, conducted by Marc Minkowski with Felicity Lott in the title role, was also recorded on an award-winning CD and DVD by Virgin Classics. Most recently, Grande-Duchesse has been staged in the OEK edition at the Staatsoperette in Dresden, with further performances running through the 2012/13 season. 

The new edition combines the four possible versions of the opéra-bouffe, respecting both detailed scholarship and practical performance issues. It draws upon the complete autograph score manuscript, sketches, printed copies, copyists’ manuscripts and the original orchestral material. Many Offenbach treasures are restored, including the original finale of Act I with the Carillon de ma grandmère – described in Opera International as “an incredible madcap and galloping firework” – the Grand Duchess’s Méditation and the original Conspiracy Scene.

Grande-Duchesse has long been a favourite for audiences with a subversive streak. Librettists Meilhac and Halévy didn’t fight shy of poking fun at contemporary politicians and generals, even when the censor threatened to moderate their attacks. Statesmen flocked to attend performances in Paris, wary that they might themselves become the next victims of ridicule. The ongoing topicality of the rise and fall story has helped the piece retain its dramatic relevance, aided by Offenbach’s sparkling and characterful music.

The first complete critical edition of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, one of the composer’s greatest stageworks, but one that suffered cuts and unwarranted revisions right from its premiere, is close to completion. The new edition, a collaboration between Michael Kaye and Jean-Christophe Keck, and between Schott Music and Boosey & Hawkes, will restore the work to the composer’s original intentions, while providing full documentation detailing performing options.

> Offenbach Edition Keck website

> Más información sobre la obra: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (OEK critical edition)

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