Panurge (opera)

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Panurge is an opera (titled 'Haulte farce musicale') in three acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Georges Spitzmuller and Maurice Boukay, after Pantagruel by Rabelais. It was first performed at the Théâtre de la Gaîté in Paris on April 25, 1913, nearly a year after Massenet's death, one of three operas by the composer to have premiered posthumously, the others being Cléopâtre (1914) and Amadis (1922).

Performance history

It is one of Massenet's least known operas, but was revived at the Massenet Festival in St. Etienne in 1994 under conductor Patrick Fournillier. Harding quotes a reaction of Alfred Bruneau who declared that the libretto was not suited to Massenet's temperament and demanded music not of a Massenet, but of a Chabrier.Harding J. Massenet. J M Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1970.



Act 1

A crowd of townspeople have gathered outside the tavern of Alcofibras, the 'Hostellerie du Coq à l’Asne' in Les Halles on Mardi Gras. Pantagruel and his squires order wine. Panurge has entered and Pantagruel beckons the hungry newcomer to join his party. Panurge addresses his host in Italian, German, and finally French. Panurge claims that he has lost his wife, Colombe, that very morning and can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. The others encourage him to drown his sorrows in wine. <br />Once everyone has entered the tavern, Colombe herself comes along and hears the voice of her husband; she explains...
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