Opera Scotland

Amour Masqué L'Amour Masqué; Love Masked

Music

André Messager (born Montluçon, 30 December 1853; died Paris, 24 February 1929).

Text

Sacha Guitry (1885-1957).

Source

Original

 

Premières

First performance: Paris (Théâtre Edouard VII), 15 February 1923.

First performance in UK: Edinburgh (Festival Theatre),  1 September 2005.

First performance in Scotland: As above.

Scottish Opera première: N/A.

 

Background

Messager  is remembered in Britain largely for his early ballet score The Two Pigeons, the basis of one of Sir Frederick Ashton's most successful works, and for the fact that he conducted the premiere of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Even the fact that he was director of Covent Garden for several seasons is largely forgotten. Perhaps one or two pieces from his operetta Véronique are occasionally played, but most of his music is preserved only in France. This is a great pity, because he was an extremely talented and versatile composer. He has a charming sense of melody, and his orchestration is suave, sophisticated and utterly charming.

L'amour masqué was a late work and a great success in Paris, but it was never produced in Britain, perhaps the subject matter being "too French" for consumption this side of the channel, even in the twenties. It was a lovely surprise.

 

Plot Summary

She is twenty, and beautiful. Benefitting from the generosity of a Baron and a Maharajah, she is also rich. She loves neither of these suitors, having succumbed to the charms of the image of a young man in a photograph. This paragon comes to visit in an attempt to recover the photo, and She thinks that he is the young man's father, since the image is twenty years old. Through him, she invites his son to a Burmese-themed ball she is hosting that evening.

At the ball, She has arranged for two servants to be dressed identically to herself, to keep the Baron and Maharajah occupied. She may thus concentrate on captivating her youthful amour.

One of the servants duly spends the night with the Baron. The second, unable to captivate the Maharajah, makes do with his Interpreter. She has succeeded in her conquest of He, and is not at all disappointed to find that she has been deceived by the older man - she can now happily imagine herself to have two lovers of different ages.

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