Monday, May 18, 2015

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014

"The man that hath no music in himself Nor is not move'd
  with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, strategems,
  and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his
  affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted."
AUTHOR: William Shakespeare


"The soul of a person can be determined
   by his/her reaction to music"
Opera Comique (loosely based) version
Daniel Defoe
Cover of: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
With an original libretto
by Eugene Cormon

Hector Cremieux
Robinson Crusoe is a hopeless romantic
who runs away to sea only to be ship-
wrecked. His fiancee and her two servants
set out to find him and themselves fall into
mishap. With the help of Man Friday the
whole company is rescued from drunken
pirates and waltzing cannibals.
Robinson Crusoe cover by Frank Godwin, 1925. Godwin summered at Fall Brook Point on Skaneateles Lake from 1928 until the early 1940s

Frank Godwin: 
Robinson Crusoe Book Cover, 1925

The operetta is in 3 acts with the first act taking
place in Bristol, England at the house of Sir
William Crusoe. The second and third act
scenes are set on the island of Robinson,
at the mouth of the Orinoco, South America.

One of the greatest operetta composers,
Jacques Offenbach was usually less
successful when stepping out of that genre.
That is what happened to Offenbach in this piece
when it originally was publically introduced.
Robinson Crusoe was originally written as a
romantic opera for the Paris Opera Opera Comique
(unlike Grand Opera because music in
this category had spoken dialog), a more
prestigious setting than that enjoyed
by most of Offenbach’s operettas.
Having risen in popularity since his
Orpheus in the Underworld- Offenbach
the audacious composer could not longer
be ignored by the French musical
establishment, and so invited him to
write a work for the classy theater, as
long as he adhered to what its rules
required: a more romantic, less satiric
piece which did not lampoon people
who might be in the audience. The result
was a very fleshed-out thing that went on
far too long and soon passed out of the
recognized the value buried in the work
and commissioned Thomas Petiet
Thomas Petiet
to revise it. By removing a third of
the score and rewriting the libretto
complete with character additions of
upper-class snobs, rowdy sailors,
cannibals, and pirates the operetta
was transformed in a very charming way.
Robinson Crusoe, a man from Bristol,
sets out to South America
to seek a fortune for his fiancee,
Edwige, and his family. Six years
later, on a desert island,
Robinson Crusoe Island, formerly known as Más a Tierra,
is the largest landmass in the Juan Fernández Archipelago
Robinson Crusoe Island, San Juan Bautista
Crusoe has one companion, Friday,
whom he rescued just as he was
being sacrificed to the gods by the
indigenous cannibal tribe.
Meanwhile Edwige, along with Crusoe's
servants Suzanne and Toby, arrives to look
for Robinson, also having been
attacked by pirates
Toby and Suzanne, captured by the
cannibals, are presented to the
cannibals' chef, Jim, who also turns
out to be from Bristol. He tells them
that they will be the cannibals'
meal that evening.
At sunset, Edwige is brought in by
natives, who believe that she is a
goddess. Friday spies all this, and
falls in love with  Edwige. When the
fire is lit, he lets off Robinson's pistol

and rescues Edwige, Suzanne, Toby and Jim.
The following day, Robinson fools the pirates
with a story of buried treasure in the jungle
and the pirates go off to find it, only to
be caught by the cannibals. Robinson
next wields the pirates' guns and the
pirates plead to be saved.
Robinson agrees, and all set sail for Bristol
once again, with Captain Atkins marrying
Robinson and Edwige at sea.
Robinson Crusoe: Tenor
Edwige, Robinson's Fiancee:Soprano
Sir William Crusoe: Bass
Lady Deborah Crusoe: Mezzo-Soprano
Suzanne, Servant: Soprano
Toby, Servant: Tenor
Man Friday (Vendredi): Mezzo-Soprano
Jim Cocks, Cannibal Chef: Tenor
Will Atkins: Bass
Sailors, Cannibals, Pirates: Chorus

The Grand Aria is sung by Robinson as Act II begins. He is now
marooned and is not happy about being the king of a desert island.
Conduit moi vers celui que j'adore
Dame Joan Sutherland, Soprano
Richard Bonynge, Conductor
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande