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Music Text

Original libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, adapted by Maurice Valency (E)


Major roles: S,3T,2T(or 2Bar),2Bar,2speakers; minor roles: 4S,3M; chorus;
sleigh bells/cast/tamb de Basque-strings;
On-stage: Cuban drum

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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


World Premiere
Théâtre des Variétés, Paris
Hortense Schneider, soprano
Conductor: Jacques Offenbach


LA PERICHOLE Coloratura Soprano
PAQUILLO Tenor (or High Baritone)
DON ANDRES DE RIBEIRA, Viceroy of Peru Baritone
DON PEDRO DE HINOYOSA, Governor of Lima Baritone
THE COUNT OF PANATELLAS, 1st Gentleman of the bedchamber Tenor
THE MARQUIS DE TARAPOTE, Lord Chancellor speaking role
SECOND NOTARY Tenor (or Baritone)
THE TURNKEY speaking role
GUADALENA, one of 3 cousins Soprano
ESTRELLA, two of 3 cousins Soprano
VIRGINELLA, three of 3 cousins Mezzo Soprano
BRAMBILLA, one of 4 ladies in waiting Soprano
NINETTA, two of 4 ladies in waiting Soprano
MANUELITA, three of 4 ladies in waiting Mezzo Soprano
FRASQUINELLA, four of 4 ladies in waiting Mezzo Soprano
The Courtiers
The Dragoons
The Grenadiers
The People
Time and Place

19th Century, Lima, Peru


During a birthday celebration for the Viceroy of Peru, two street performers entertain the crowd. Too poor to marry, the performers briefly part and the girl, La Perichole, falls asleep in the park.  The Viceroy sees her and falls in love.  Out of practicality, she agrees to become his mistress, and writes a letter to her lover explaining the situation.  Since the Viceroy’s ladies-in-waiting must be married, his henchman must find La Perichole a husband.  Her devastated lover Paquillo, with the help of some wine, is convinced to marry a young woman in order to receive a title and riches.  La Perichole, who has reconsidered her decision, agrees to marry when she sees that the man selected is Paquillo. When a sober Paquillo learns that he married La Perichole, he throws her at the Viceroy’s feet, an act that puts him in prison.  La Perichole tries bribing the jailer, only to discover he is the Viceroy in disguise.  He punishes his faithless mistress by imprisoning her, too.  The Viceroy is captured and the lovers escape. After a search, the lovers appear singing of their misfortune and their love, and the Viceroy releases them, awarding their promised estates and titles.


Comic, Dramatic, Romantic

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