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L’Etoile (The Star)
Opera-Bouffe in 3 Acts. (1877)
Libretto by Eugene Leterrier and Albert Vanloo.
English Version by Ian Gledhill

The superstitious King Ouf, who never makes a move without consulting his astrologer, Siroco, is roaming the streets in disguise, hoping to find a victim for the public execution that always marks his birthday. He has another problem - under the constitution he has to provide an heir to the throne, so he has arranged a marriage with Princess Laoula, the daughter of a neighbouring King. Laoula arrives with Herisson, her father’s ambassador, who for diplomatic reasons keeps their identities secret and passes off the Princess as his wife. On the way they have met a pedlar, Lazuli, who has fallen in love with Laoula. He is so upset to learn that she is apparently married that when he meets the disguised Ouf he gets angry and strikes the King. Ouf is delighted - he has his victim, and throwing off his disguise condemns Lazuli to death. The execution is only stopped at the last minute by Siroco, who has prepared a horoscope for the young man. He and the King share the same guiding star - if Lazuli dies so will Ouf 24 hours later. Lazuli is reprieved and taken to the palace as Ouf’s guest, and offered anything he wants. What he wants is the ambassador’s wife, so Ouf helps the young couple to elope by throwing Herisson into prison. Too late he discovers he has let his own fiancée run off with another man, and the furious Herisson orders the soldiers to fire on the abductor. A shot rings out; Laoula returns safely but there is no sign of Lazuli, and all fear the worst. The next day Ouf anxiously waits for death, but the hour arrives and nothing happens. When Lazuli finally turns up safe and sound Ouf is so relieved he lets him marry Laoula and names

King Ouf (tenor)
Siroco (bass)
Herisson (tenor or baritone)
Tapioca (tenor)

Lazuli (mezzo-soprano)
Laoula (soprano)
Alöes (mezzo-soprano)

Chief of Police (spoken)
Patacha (tenor)
Zalzal (baritone)

6 Maids of Honour
(3 sopranos, 3 mezzos)
A page (spoken)

People, guards, courtiers, etc. (SATTB) 30%

Act One:
Act Two:
Act Three:

A public square
The throne room in Ouf’s palace
A summer pavilion beside the lake

2 flutes (1 picc.), 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon,
2 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone,

Major Roles

Lesser Roles