The Lyric Stage: Sept. 16 - Charles Gounod in a playful moood

Sep 16, 2018

You are in love with one who does not return your love, so to prove how much you love her, you serve her your beloved pet cat for dinner  because there is nothing else in the house. She is impressed by the gesture, and agrees to marry you. Basically that is the story of La Colombe, Charles Gounod's one act comic opera he wrote only a year after setting Faust to music with its triumph of God over Mephistopheles, and its cosmic backdrop. Horace does not serve Sylvie a cat, but he does have an adored dove he tells Sophie he has sacrificed for her dinner.

The dinner is only the latest of Horace's attempts to win Sylvie's heart. He has abandoned Florentine life after failing to woo her there. But he is still  hopeful, hence the dinner invitation. Mazet, his godson and servant, desperately searches the garden for something suitable to cook for dinner. Since all of the chickens are eaten, Horace asks Mazet to serve the pet dove. After dinner Horace confesses to Sylvie that as a token of his love he has sacrificed his cherished pet. But it's a happy ending when Sylvie agrees to marry him only for Mazet to admit it was not the dove he served up but a neighbor’s parrot.

Fortunately, the music is Gounod in top form with Sylvie's music as challenging and rewarding as Margurite's in Faust.

Soprano Erin Morley sings Sylvie, tenor Javier Camarena Horace, mezzo soprano Michelle Losier sings the trouser of Mazet, and baritione Laurent Naouri the major domo to Sylvie.  Mark Elder conducts the Halle orchestra.