Les Bavards, Jacques Offenbach

Title Les Bavards
English Title
Composer Jacques Offenbach
Librettists Charles Nuitter
Language French, Dutch translation available
Genre Opéra-bouffe (light opera). Two acts
First performance December 2, 1863, Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens
Time of action 16th or 17th century; or, if desired, any later period
Place of action

A Spanish town

  1. A street
  2. Indoors, in a courtyard.
Main parts
  • Roland (trouser-rôle), soprano (or tenor)
  • Béatrix, soprano
  • Inès, (coloratura) soprano
  • Sarmiento, baritone
  • Cristobal, comic baritone (or tenor)
  • Torribio, comic tenor
Prominence of chorus Several lively choral scenes
Orchestra 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani/percussion, strings
Special demands

The parts of Roland and Béatrix both require a nimble tongue, musically as well as in the spoken passages. Especially Roland’s pattersong is quite taxing. Apart from this, the work is not particularly difficult to perform. The spoken passages are lengthy; a shortened version is available

Full score and orchestral parts Available
Length Two acts; together approx. 1½ hour

A work of great musical beauty. Outstanding numbers: the two duets, the creditors’ song, the elegant women’s trio, the farcical chorus "Ah, la chaleur est accablante!" (This heat is intolerable!), the catchy drinking-song, and of course Roland’s brilliant pattersong, an interminable stream of words at breakneck speed.

Note: Roland’s part may be sung by a tenor, but this implies considerable adaptation of the ensembles

The story is about people who talk too much. A rich gentleman is afflicted with a constantly chattering wife, and hits on the brilliant idea of inviting a penniless young man to outtalk her. The plan succeeds, but in the end the one who really profits is the young man

Costumes Just one costume for the chorus; no changes of dress
Pictures Brussels Operette Theater, December 2015
Link Wikipedia

< El Barberillo de Lavapiés | Track | La Belle Hélène >

Tags: Offenbach | Fransen