OP3195. LA PRINCESSE DE TRÉZIBONDE, recorded 1966, w. Cariven Cond. Lina Dachary, Joseph Peyron, Nicole Briard, Gaston Rey, René Lenoty, Aimé Doniat, Raymond Amade, Robert Destain, Germaine Duclos, etc.; MONSIEUR CHOUFLEURI, recorded 8 March, 1963, w.Blareau Cond. Michel Sénéchal, André Balbon, Line Clément, Mathilde Casadesus, Renée Dennsy, Toinou Coste, Gérard Chapuis, etc. (both Offenbach). [Particularlty memorable are the performances of the exquisite and inimitable Aimé Doniat and the delightful Joseph Peyron! An irresistible offering!] (France) 2-Malibran 794. - 7600003777942
“Jacques Offenbach’s LA PRINCESSE DE TRÉBIZONDE premiered in 1869 in the fashionable spa town of Baden Baden in their wonderfully opulent glitter-and-gold theater that’s like a miniature version of the Paris Opéra.
The show set in a 19th century amusement park in Paris, where Zanetta, the daughter of an actor, turns herself into a wax figure and becomes the ‘Princess of Trébizonde’ who is lucky enough to win the heart of a real prince and a ticket to live in a real palace, was conducted by Offenbach himself at the world-premiere in the summer of 1869. In December of that year, Offenbach presented the work in a slightly adapted version at his theater, the Bouffes-Parisiens. There, it was seen again in 1871, 1875 and 1876. In 1888 it was also presented at the larger Théâtre des Variétés. And though reviews were excellent, the title disappeared from the operetta repertoire after that, though there had been international performances in Bruxelles, London, Madrid and Copenhagen in 1870. A year later, the work was seen in Naples, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Stockholm, Prague and Berlin."
- Kevin Clarke, Operetta Research Center, 20 March, 2015
“M. CHOUFLEURI RESTERA CHEZ LUI LE... (Mr. Cauliflower will be at home on... ) is an opéra bouffe, or operetta, in one act by Jacques Offenbach. The plot provided many opportunities for Offenbach to indulge in his lighthearted musical parodies of well-known opera melodies and formulas, especially a grand trio in which Italian belcanto is imitated and a comic solo for the manservant. Also, the young lovers secretly communicate using musical quotes.
M. CHOUFLEURI was first performed privately at the Présidence du Corps Légistlatif, Palais Bourbon, Paris on 31 May 1861 in the presence of Napoléon III. The first public performance was given at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, Paris on 14 September 1861.
The one-hour work is still performed, especially by amateur companies, since it is not particularly challenging vocally. M. CHOUFLEURI RESTERA CHEZ LUI was performed as part of a triple bill entitled ‘Vive Offenbach’ with POMME D'API and MESDAMES DE LA HALLE at the Paris Opéra-Comique in December 1979, revived the following year and in 1983.
The newly-rich but culturally ignorant M. Choufleuri invites the upper crust of Paris to a private party and ‘musical soirée’ (at his bourgeois drawing-room, furnished in vulgar taste) by celebrated real life Italian opera singers: soprano Henriette Sontag, tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, and baritone Antonio Tamburini. All three become indisposed at the last minute.
In the meantime, Choufleuri's daughter, Ernestine, has been secretly seeing a young basoonist, composer and singer, Chrysodule Babylas. When she asked her father to invite the young man to the soirée, Choufleuri had refused, saying that a poor musician is not a worthy suitor for her. Now, Ernestine saves the day by impersonating Sontag and insisting that Babylas impersonate Rubini, and that Choufleuri himself masquerade as Tamburini (after all, the young couple explain, baritones don't need to speak much, they just oom-pah-pah - but Choufleuri should try to stay on key).
Despite Choufleuri's lazy and incompetent Flemish servant, Petermann, the deception works - the guests are impressed by the great ‘Italian’ singers (who all speak in Italian accents and sing in pig-Italian), and Choufleuri rewards Babylas with his daughter's hand in marriage (especially since Babylas has demanded this, plus 50,000 Francs dowry, in order to keep quiet about the fraud).”
“Following studies at the Paris Conservatory, Sénéchal made his début in 1950 at La Monnaie in Brussels. Under contract there for three seasons, he sang the lyric tenor repertory, as he continued to do later at both the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique and in other theaters through France. His sophisticated sense of makeup, stage movement, comic timing, and seizing each element of irony and rendering it unforgettable all are built upon the underpinnings of a handsome light tenor voice, well-trained and always pleasant to hear. So dominant has this supporting artist become, the catalog reveals multiple recordings of his core repertory. His roles grew to include Rossini's Almaviva and Comte Ory, Hylas in Berlioz's LES TROYENS, Paolino in Cimarosa's IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, Georges Brown in Boieldieu's LA DAME BLANCHE, and three of Mozart's leading tenor parts: Tamino, Ferrando, and Don Ottavio. At Aix-en-Provence in 1956, Sénéchal sang the travesty role of Rameau's PLATÉE, a curious creature of heart-stopping homeliness who believes herself to be beautiful. The role is both a leading one and a character study. His success in the role was so great, he was called upon to perform the part in Amsterdam, at the Monnaie, and later, the Opéra-Comique.
For Sénéchal's Metropolitan Opera début on 8 March, 1982, he was engaged for LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, performing the four comic tenor roles, a turn that by then had all but become a signature assignment. Other roles following at the Metropolitan were Guillot in Massenet's MANON and Mozart's Don Basilio. Sénéchal has, in addition to established repertory stage works, undertaken contemporary operas. At Toulouse, he sang Fabien in the premiere of Marcel Landowski's MONTSÉGUR in 1985. The same year, he appeared as Pope Leo X in Boehmer's DOCKTOR FAUSTUS at the Paris Opéra.
Sénéchal's mastery of the tenor character repertory has repeatedly brought him into the recording studio. His four comic characters in Hoffmann have been preserved on disc three times, while in James Levine's recording of ANDREA CHÉNIER, Sénéchal appears together with his greatly respected Italian counterpart, Piero di Palma, and supporting principals Scotto, Domingo, and Milnes. In addition to Offenbach's HOFFMANN and a near-definitive ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS recorded under Plasson in 1978, Sénéchal appears with Dame Felicity Lott in a recording of LA BELLE HÉLÈNE released in 2000.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“When Aimé Doniat left the Conservatoire (with a first Bassoon Prize), he was engaged in an orchestra. After only three months, and having made the acquaintance of a small traveling troupe, he was hired to accompany it during its tour in Algeria, and then joined with it in Marseilles. From there, he joined the National Radio. The Radio Orchestra and its chorus returned to Paris in March 1943. Doniat became a soloist and was frequently called upon to replace singers in lyrical performances on various Parisian and provincial scenes. As early as 1944, he decided to take a big risk and became soloist for the various radio programs: operettas, comic operas. His new activity also led him to participate in several casts in various operettas performed in concert halls.
Doniat worked extensively for Véga, Decca, RCA, Erato, Saphir, Le Chant du Monde, Musidisc, EMI, Pathé, Vox, Visadisc, Philips and recorded over 160 LPs. After the disappearance of the LP, more than fifty reissues were released before the end of the twentieth century, in discs, cassettes and compact discs. He won 10 Grands Prix du Disque. He sang Delmet, Botrel, Scotto, and many others. He resurrected medieval songs and French provinces. He wrote lyrics on ancient mélodies he loved to discover. He translated into French the booklets of a few German-language operettas.
Beside his recordings, Aimé Doniat remained one of the essential pillars of the Lyric Service of the RTF, then of the ORTF. For many years, before the taste of the French public for classic lyric art faded, he recorded a dozen operettas a month (which left very little time for rehearsals) with Jany Sylvaire and Lina Dachary, his most faithful female partners, and under the direction in particular of Jules Gressier and Marcel Cariven. The number of these recordings was reduced to two per month during the last ten years of its life, as broadcasting programs had shrunk considerably on national radio. They were heard more on the Belgian and Swiss radio channels. Doniat taught singing for a long time on a private basis, for a few selected pupils, ultimately teaching at Versailles.”