Opera Scotland

Véronique

Music

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

Text

Albert Vanloo and Georges Duval.

 

Premieres

First Performance: Paris (Bouffes-Parisiens), 10 December 1898.

First Performance in UK: London (Coronet Theatre), 5 May 1903.

First Performance in Scotland: tbc (1905/6).

 

Background

Véronique was one of the most successful of the run of charming operettas composed by Messager. It had particular success in Britain, perhaps because he had an association with Covent Garden, both as conductor, and from 1901-1907 manager of the Grand Opera Syndicate. The 'Donkey' and 'Swing' duets remain justifiably popular highlights.

One of his earlier pieces, La Basoche, was chosen by D'Oyly Carte to follow on after Sullivan's Ivanhoe at his Royal English Opera House. A much later work, Monsieur Beaucaire, was extremely popular in the years after the First World War.

 

Main Characters

Hélène de Solanges, disguised as Véronique (soprano)

Countess Ermerance, her aunt, disguised as Estelle (mezzo-soprano)

Florestan, Vicomte de Valaincourt (baritone)

Coquenard, a florist (baritone)

Agathe, his wife (soprano)

 

Plot Summary

Florestan suffers from acute poverty, and desperately needs to find a rich heiress to marry. A suitable match has been arranged, and his fiancée, Hélène, arrives from the country incognito, to inspect her intended. In Coquenard's flowershop she finds Florestan carrying on an affair with the florist's wife, at the same time revealing that the proposed marriage is only for his convenience, to get his hands on Hélène's money. She decides to teach him a salutary lesson.

She and her aunt adopt disguises and go to work for Coquenard. Flirtations ensue, and Florestan is very attracted to 'Veronique', who is clearly attracted to him. An attachment also forms between the jealous Coquenard and 'Estelle'. When the two women disappear Florestan is left bereft. His creditors close in and he is imprisoned. Hélène eventually settles his debts to permit his release, and they are at last formally introduced. Florestan now realizes he has been the victim of a trick, and admits his previous faults. Agathe, previously estranged, returns to her husband and her happy life as a florist. All ends well.

The Cast

Agathe
 Coquenard's wife.
Coquenard
 a florist
Denise
 Seraphin's wife
Ermerance, Comtesse de Champs-Azur
 'Estelle'
Florestan, Vicomte de Valaincourt
 
Hélène de Solanges
 'Véronique'
Loustot
 a bailiff
Seraphin
 a groom

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