Penny Gore presents a rare chance to hear Offenbach's comic farce Le roi Carotte in a performance given by Lyon Opera. With Julie Boulianne and Yann Beuron.
Penny Gore presents today's Thursday Opera Matinee - a rare chance to hear Offenbach's comic opera Le roi Carotte (King Carrot), performed by Lyon Opera. Originally over six hours long with a cast of hundreds, the price of putting productions on persuaded Offenbach to simplify the work into the more manageble three-act version we'll hear today.
Prince Fridolin has to marry a rich widow to support his kingdom's finances, when really he wants to marry Rosee du Soir, who has just escaped from a witch after ten years in captivity. The angry witch calls on King Carrot and his court of root vegetables to depose Fridolin. Undeterred, Fridolin gets a magician on side, and they embark on a series of adventures including tricking gladiators in Roman Pompeii, and triumphing over the kingdom of insects.
Robin-Luron.... Julie Boulianne (mezzo-soprano)
Fridolin XXIV.... Yann Beuron (tenor)
Le Roi Carotte....Christophe Mortagne (tenor)
Truck...Boris Grappe (baritone)
Piepertrunk.... Jean-Sébastien Bou (baritone)
Rosée du soir.... Chloé Briot (soprano)
Princesse Cunégonde... Antoinette Dennefeld (mezzo-soprano)
Sorcière Coloquinte....Lydie Pruvot (actress)
Baron Koffre.... Brenton Spiteri (tenor)
Maréchal Trac....Romain Bockler (baritone)
Comte Schopp.... Jean-Christophe Fillol (baritone)
Ladislas / Dagobert....Thibault De Damas (bass)
Lyon Opera Chorus
Lyon Opera Studio
Lyon Opera Orchestra
Victor Aviat (conductor).
Prince Fridolin is a lousy sovereign, seeking nothing but amusement. The treasury is empty. A marriage with Princess Cunégonde from the neighbouring kingdom shall release him from this precarious situation. He cherishes hopes for a dowry, but will only marry her if he takes a liking to her. Robin-Luron, a good spirit with magic powers who first comes into play disguised as a student, wants to get him back on the straight and narrow and make him a good regent. His opponent is the evil witch Coloquinte who was humiliated by Fridolin’s ancestors and has therefore set her mind on getting rid of Fridolin as the kingdom’s ruler. In the tower of the old royal palace she holds captive Rosée-du-soir, a count’s daughter, and makes her work as her servant. Rosée is desperately in love with Prince Fridolin.
In order to get to the bottom of Princess Cunégonde’s true nature, Fridolin appears incognito for their first encounter. Being a man-about-town himself, he is enchanted by the unashamed and worldly manners of the lady. He informs his cabinet – consisting of good-for-nothing necromancer Truck, chief of police Pipertrunck, treasurer baron Koffre and a few others – that he will marry the princess even though she comes without the desired endowment. A festive reception in her honour finds a sudden end by the entrance of King Carrot and his entourage of various vegetables. Coloquinte has brought the royal garden’s vegetables to life. By means of deliberate confusion King Carot dethrones the prince and expels him from town. Fridolin’s forefathers’ suits of armour which have been sold inconsiderately by the young regent also suddenly spring to life and take vengeance for his lack of respect by putting a curse on him. In the meantime, Rosée-du-soir has escaped from her prison with the help of Robin-Luron. Dressed up as a young fellow she follows Fridolin and lets herself be hired as a knave.
The most helpful piece of advice for Fridolin comes from Quiribibi, an ancient wizard. If Fridolin can manage to come into possession of King Solomon’s ring, there is still hope for him. In search of it, the prince and his few loyal companions get to ancient Pompeii by means of time travel – and onwards to an underground ant colony, into the realm of insects and a Caribbean monkey island. There he recognizes Rosée-du-soir’s true identity, falls passionately in love with her and vows to prove himself worthy of her.
Meanwhile, King Carrot’s good days on earth are numbered. He has proven to be an even worse sovereign than Fridolin. He is withering away. The town’s citizens stir up a revolution against him. However, the witch Coloquinte reassures him: No human hand could ever take him off the throne. But Robin-Luron interferes with her plan by bringing a monkey into play. With his help, the witch, King Carrot and all of his vegetable court are banished back below ground. Prince Fridolin returns as a better human being, takes his rightful throne and marries Rosée-du-soir.