Comédie musicale in three acts, music by André Messager, libretto by Hervé Hennequin with lyrics by Albert Willemetz, premiered at the Théâtre de la Michodière on 15 January 1926, Paris.
Concert Opera Prinzregententheater
Sun 13 December 2020
Prinzregententheater, Munich
Concert broadcast live on BR KLASSIK radio

In 1925 Messager agreed to set to music Passionnément, a three-act libretto by Hervé Hennequin with lyrics by Albert Willemetz, who instigated the project. At its première on 15 January 1926 at the Théâtre de la Michodière, the work was a triumphant success, and the second-act waltz-song that gave it its title appealed instantly. Here Messager’s irresistible melodic charm is exercised in a study of morals and characters, in which appearances and prejudices are unmasked. The American millionaire William Stevenson, a teetotaller, eventually succumbs to the delights of champagne and is metamorphosed from a swindler into a man of kindness and consideration. He gives up trying to cheat the young Frenchman Robert Perceval and, having discovered that the latter and his own wife Ketty (a former music-hall star) are in love, gives her a divorce to enable them to marry. He himself continues his life’s journey with Ketty’s young Canadian maid, Julia, who has dreams of leading a comfortable bourgeois life. The role of Hélène (Robert’s jealous mistress) further adds to the strong female presence in a plot brim-full of vitality, in which the songs are above all introspective moments. Henry Malherbe, writing in Le Temps, claimed that Messager “seems to live in an enchanted world, from which sadness and fatigue are banished”; but in Ketty’s “Ah! pourquoi les bons moments passent-ils si vite” and the trio “Dès que l'âge”, the work also expresses nostalgia and regret at the swift passage of time.
Stefan Blunier conductor
Ketty Véronique Gens
Julia Nicole Car
Hélène Le Barrois Chantal Santon-Jeffery
Robert Perceval Étienne Dupuis
Stevenson Éric Huchet
Harris Armando Noguera
Concert performance Production Münchner Rundfunkorchester In collaboration with the Palazzetto Bru Zane Scores published by Francis Salabert
World premiere recording for the ‘French opera’ series - Bru Zane Label
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