Offenbach - Keck
Oyayaye ou La Reine des îles (OEK critical edition) (1855)Opéra-bouffe in one act
Libretto by Jules Moineaux (F)
available in a version for voices, piano and obbligato double bass (orchestration in preparation)
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
|The Queen OYAYAYE|
Time and Place
Racle-à-mort, a double-bass virtuoso, has missed his solo at the Paris Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique, so he gets the sack and takes to the sea. He eventually finds himself on a South Sea island where he is caught by the indigenous people. They threaten to boil him in a soup when he fails to entertain them. When Oyayaye, the ogre queen, enters with her retinue, he passes her a note which is stuck in his boot: he tells her it is a poem he has set to music (in fact, it is a bill from his washer-woman). Oyayaye, however, loses her patience, and even a song accompanied by the double bass only strengthens her desire for the ritual cooking ceremony. In his distress, Racle-à-mort begins to accompany the ceremony on self-carved cane flutes. The cannibals are enchanted, throw their arrows away and take the flutes to accompany their wild dance. Racle-à-mort, unobserved, collects the arrows and rides his double bass to the coast, raising his handkerchief as a sail.