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Mother and Daughter Plot Revenge on their Suitors on The Lyric Stage

The Lyric Stage Sunday (7/9 at 8 pm). presents Andre Modeste Gretry's L'Epreuve villageoise.

Andre Modeste Gretry is noted for his comic operas, and he was a favorite of the French ruling class from Marie Antoinette on to Napoleon Bonaparte. A longer version of this weeks opera, by Gretry, L'Epreuve villageoise, The Village Trial, premiered at Versailles in 1784, before the French Court including Marie Antoinette. But that version had serious sections that were dwarfed by the comic bits concerning rustics, and was not that successful. Gretry and his librettist Pierre Desforges rewrote it, cutting the serious parts and focusing on the rustics. The premiere of that work met with great success, and it's the music from that version that we have for you tonight.

More than one critic has compared the plot of L'Epreuve villageoise to that of a sitcom, but a very tight, well constructed and entertaining sitcom with excellent music to accompany the escapist story.

Denise is engaged to André, but his jealousy, recently ignited by the attentions being shown Denise by the more sophisticated Monsieur de la France, is really getting on her nerves. Madame Hubert, Denise’s mother, until recently was being wooed by de la France, so mother and daughter plot to get back at both men. Denise pretends to care for de la France and André claims to have found another girlfriend, which makes Denise sad and reflective (in a lovely aria). She then overhears de la France tell the town’s finer ladies that he has found a “rural” girl, and this angers her and her mother. Denise publicly denounces de la France and he leaves, making way for André and Denise to live a jolly life. Dancing ensues.