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Libretto by Ludovic Halévy; new German version by Frank Harders-Wuthenow (F,G)

Scoring

S,2T,B;
2(II=picc).1.2.1-2.2.1.0-timp.perc(2)-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
29/12/1855
Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris
Company: unknown

World premiere of version
19/10/2001
Opéra national, Lyon
Caio Gaiarsa, director
Conductor: Olivier Reboul
Company: Opéra national de Lyon

Roles

FÉ-NI-HAN Tenor
KÉ-KI-KA-KO Tenor
KO-KO-RI-KO Bass
FÉ-AN-NICH-TON Soprano
Time and Place

A small Chinese-speaking state

Synopsis

Anastase Nourisson (= suckling) from the small French town of Briève-La-Gaillarde finds himself to be the ruler of a small state whose language is Chinese. Without knowing the language, he skilfully governs under the name of Fé-Ni-Han (Fr. fainéant = idling). However, serious communication problems between government and subjects soon lead to disaster when Fé-Ni-Han has a number of the highest dignitaries impaled instead of decorating them for their merits as demanded by the court. A revolt is threatening to break out. Ko-Ko-Ri-Ko (Fr. = cock-a-doodle-do), captain of the guards, plans to overthrow the sovereign. The song of the rebels is already resounding through the city and the corridors of the ruler's palace. Thanks to a sensational discovery, the attention moves away from Fé-Ni-Han: two Chinese people from his entourage, the mandarins Fé-An-Nich-Ton (Fr. fée à micheton = a kind of fairy for customers of a prostitute, cocotte) and Ké-Ki-Ka-Ko turn out to be French people from Paris. One has gone to the Far East as a singer with a travelling company, the other was driven there by bankruptcy. Together with Fé-Ni-Han they plan their escape – which is thwarted by Ko-Ko-Ri-Ko. But – lo and behold – Ko-Ko-Ri-Ko turns out to be a Frenchman as well and plans to seize Fé-Ni-Han’s throne in order to spend his time idling about in his place…

Moods

Comic

Subjects

Politics




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