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Music Text

Text by Marcel Valmy (G)


S,2M,A,T,3Bar; 3 non-singing roles; chorus;

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Company: unknown


PIERRE LECLERC, composer Tenor
GASTON GUILLARD, Bohémian Baritone
JEAN RICHE, music publisher Baritone
MADAME LAFORGUE, a lodger Mezzo soprano
MONSIEUR VAUTHIER, Policeman Baritone
PROSPER non-singing role
"MONSIEUR", a jealous husband non-singing-role
SIMONE, an enchanting lover Soprano
MADAME YVONNE, a married widow non-singing-role
DORETTE, A RAKE and others Alto
MADAME PRUDHOMME, concierge Mezzo soprano
Time and Place

Paris in the late 1960s


Young Pierre Leclerc is on the way to Paris, dreaming he can make a career as a musician there. On the train, he becomes acquainted with Madame Yvonne, a widow who inspires confidence and who is to represent a crucial turning point in Pierre's life. Madame Yvonne offers him board and lodging in exchange for piano lessons. Soon after their departure, however, it turns out that Madame has no piano at all and her idea of making music is entirely different to that of Pierre. There would not be any objections to this – if, however, it were not for her husband who, though thought to be away, appears at the door one day. Pierre has learned a great deal after his first day in Paris: in this city, nothing is as it seems, morality means hypocrisy, love is a nice word for sexual exploitation and friendship serves one's own profit. Soon the song goes: "Rien ne va plus." But the end also signifies a turn of events. For Pierre, things change when he meets the charming Simone, the secretary of the influential music publisher Jean Richet. With her help he manages to rise from the depths of the Seine Babylon to become a celebrated composer. But first, Pierre has to 'bite the dust' before he can enjoy his fame and compose in peace and quiet.


Comic, Poetic

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