Mam’zelle Nitouche

Florimond Hervé

  • World premiere
  • Théâtre des Variétés din Paris, 26 decembrie 1883
  • Romanian Opera Craiova Premiere
  • 14 octombrie 2007
  • Time Length
  • aprox. 2h, 10’– o pauză
  • Extra info
  • Spectacol în limba română

Operetta in two acts composed by Florimond Ronger Hervé.

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Albert Millaud.

Romanian version of the libretto: Val Săndulescu

The action takes place in a provincial town of France, in 1850.


Scene 1

The young Celestin has a double life: he is an organist and music tutor in the convent, and at night, after work, he discretely goes to the theatre where, under the name of Floridor, he rehearses his operetta, “Babet and Cadet”. Colonel Alfred ChateauGibus, brother of the Mother Superior of the convent, pays his sister a visit and proposes to marry Denise de Flavigny, her best student, to a lieutenant in his regiment, Fernand de Champlâtreux. Pursuant to this marriage, the convent will receive a significant donation. Denise, who is secretly in love with theatre, discovers that Celestin actually is an operetta author and wants to take part in the premiere with all her heart. The young lieutenant Champlâtreux, not very happy with a forced marriage, comes to meet Denise, but he is only allowed to speak to her, not see her. Celestin is notified by the Mother Superior that he has to take Denise to Paris, to her parents who are urgently calling her, on the very night of the premiere of his operetta. Denise immediately solves the issue, proposing the “music tutor” that they should leave for Paris with the next train, so that she can attend the premiere.

Scene 2

In the backstage of the Pontarcy Theatre, the artists, the band manager and the backstage director as nervous, as they should be on the premiere night. Corinne, the highly capricious main artist and the band’s star, throws a fit of jealousy and leaves with colonel Chateaux Gibus after the first act, to the director’s desperation. However, Denise had secretly learned the operetta by heart and saves the situation, taking the lead role. In the backstage, she meets young lieutenant Champlâtreux, unaware that he had been destined to marry her before leaving the convent. After the end of the highly successful premiere (due to Denise), Floridor wants to take her to Paris as soon as possible. They jump through one of the theatre’s windows, but a patrol captures and arrests them, thinking they are thieves.


Scene 3

In the army camp, Floridor and Denise are brought by a soldier and assigned to corporal Loriot, with the mission to arrest them as felons. The officers in the regiment, who had attended Floridor’s operetta premiere, are surprised to see the “young artist” and the author again. They all want to have a cup of champagne and celebrate the success of the premiere one more time, to the desperation of Floridor, who has to take Denise to Paris. Lieutenant Champlâtreux appears during the celebration. He is startled to find the woman he has fallen in love with on the previous night, at the Pontarcy Theatre, in his own army camp. As the colonel arrives, Denise and Floridor must be hidden and disguised as soldiers. Trying to face the situation, Denise, dressed as a recruit, sings a military song. Due to Champlâtreux and Loriot, the two young people manage to escape the camp, without having their true identity discovered.

Scene 4

Losing all trains to Paris, Floridor and Denise go back to the convent and tell Mother Superior a story that clearly shows that Denise no longer wants to marry the man chosen by her family. Colonel Chateau Gibus also comes back to the convent and informs his sister that lieutenant Champlâtreux does not want to get married either, since he has dared to fall in love with an actress. Thus, Denise finds out that the young lieutenant is the one she should have married from the beginning. To everyone’s surprise, Louis de Flavigny, Denise’s father, appears. He has found out that Champlâtreux is not a very “innocent” officer and forbids his marriage to Denise. The situation becomes clear as the two young people see each other again in the convent. They confess to their love, despite the protests of Mr Louis de Flavigny and, moreover, Denise decides to become an actress and thus make her dream come true.


*Titus Moisescu & Miltiade Păun, Ghid de operetă, Editura Muzicală a Uniunii Compozitorilor, Bucharest, 1969