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Offenbach - Keck

Mesdames de la Halle (OEK critical edition) (1858)

(Die Damen auf dem Markt / The Ladies of the Market)
Duration: 50 minutes
Opérette-bouffe in one act

Libretto by Armand Lapointe; new German version by Gunter Selling (F,G)

3S,5T,B; chorus; 2(II=picc).1.2.1- .
Abbreviations (PDF).

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Salle Choiseul, Paris
Company: unknown

World premiere of version
Esplanade des châteaux, Bruniquel
Frank T’Hézan, director
Conductor: Jean-Christophe Keck
Company: Isabelle Fleur / Jean Louis Meunier / Till Fechner et al.


MADAME POIRETAPÉE, vegetable and fish dealerTenor (or Soprano)
MADAME MADOU, fish dealerTenor (or Mezzo-soprano)
MADAME BEURREFONDUE, vegetable dealerTenor (or Alto)
RAFLAFLA, drum majorTenor
CROÛTE-AU-POT, a young cookSoprano (or Tenor)
CIBOULETTE, a young fruit dealerSoprano
An inspector Bass
A hot waffle dealerSoprano
A worn clothes and shoe dealerTenor
Market people, customers, policemen, drummers, carriers

Time and Place
Ballard's market hall, Place des Innocents with fountain; Paris 1873

The elegant drum major Raflafla, though no longer that young, still makes an impression on the market women of the Paris halls. However, he has got a rival: Croûte-au-pot, the cuddly cook, to whom Mme Poiretapée, Mme Madou and Mme Beurrefondue would happily give the love of their second spring. Croûte-au-pot, meanwhile, is in love with a fresh fruit dealer, Ciboulette, who was born among the potatoes and celery and knows only the market, not even her parents. When a quarrel about the favour of Croûte-au-pot ends in a salad battle that can only be stopped by the police, Mme Poiretapée tries to talk Croûte-au-pot out of courting Ciboulette. If she herself were the girl's mother, she argues, she would never agree with the liaison. This leads to a discussion about Ciboulette's parents. Mme Madou and Mme Beurrefondue declare themselves potential mothers, but a sealed letter which Ciboulette has faithfully worn at her bosom for several years and whose content she at last reveals to the public, leaves only two alternatives. Raflafla and Mme Poiretapée both faint at the same time, thereby removing any doubt.


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