An Incomplete Education (Une Education Manquée)
Operetta in 1 Act. (1879)
Libretto by Eugene Leterrier and Albert Vanloo.
English Version by George Hauger.
The young Count Gontran brings his beautiful wife Helene to his chateau on the evening of their wedding. The young couple both seem rather nervous at being alone together for the first time. They are joined by Pausanias, Gontran’s tutor, who appears to have been celebrating the wedding rather too well. He wishes them well, and then withdraws. It is soon apparent that neither of the young people has the least idea of what they should do on their wedding night. After some rather hesitant conversation Helene retires to her room, and in desperation Gontran sends for Pausanias. He berates his tutor for leaving his education incomplete. Pausanias is baffled. Has he not taught him everything he knows, from algebra to zoology? Oh yes, says Gontran, you’ve taught me all that, but not the most important thing of all. When Pausanias finally realizes what it is that Gontran is getting at, he has to confess that, as a confirmed bachelor, he has no idea himself. Gontran dismisses him angrily, and sinks into a depression. However, as night falls a terrible storm gathers. After a particularly violent crash of thunder Helene rushes in in her night-dress. It seems she is afraid of thunder, and she throws herself in Gontran’s arms. Nature takes its course, and they both move off towards the bedroom as the curtain falls.
(Note: This work was originally written for piano only, so it can be authentically performed with piano accompaniment. Chabrier's orchestration dates from some years after the first performance.)