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Opera Rara’s association with Offenbach’s music goes back to the company’s revival of his 1867 opéra-comique, Robinson Crusoe (ORC7), and the creation of a new piece, Christopher... read more

Song title Time Format Price
playstop01 Vert-Vert: Act I: Overture08:56
playstop02 Vert-Vert: Act I: Hélas! pour l'eternel voyage 03:48
playstop03 Vert-Vert: Act I: Il etait beau, brillant, leste et volage 04:23
playstop04 Vert-Vert: Act I: Dialogue: Allons! C'est fini! 01:29
playstop05 Vert-Vert: Act I: Chorus: De la part de ces demoiselles 03:23
playstop06 Vert-Vert: Act I: Chorus: A toi toutes les confitures 02:35
playstop07 Vert-Vert: Act I: Dialogue: Oh! Les ingrates 02:19
playstop08 Vert-Vert: Act I: Trio: Ah! ma chère femme 01:15
playstop09 Vert-Vert: Act I: Trio: O la plus belle des amantes 04:42
playstop10 Vert-Vert: Act I: Dialogue: V'la quelque'un! Sauvez-vous! 01:25
playstop11 Vert-Vert: Act I: Duo: Tenez, méchant, prenez cela 03:12
playstop12 Vert-Vert: Act I: Dialogue: Tiens, mademoiselle Paturelle 01:20
playstop13 Vert-Vert: Act I: Romance: Vert-Vert n'est plus un enfant 02:56
playstop14 Vert-Vert: Act I: Dialogue: Mon chapeau? Ou est mon chapeau? 00:42
playstop15 Vert-Vert: Act I: Chorus: Hélas! l'instant fatal approche 03:51
playstop16 Vert-Vert: Act I: Oui, l'oiseau reviendra dans sa cage 02:14
playstop17 Vert-Vert: Act I: Etes-vous prêt? 02:37
playstop18 Vert-Vert: Act II: Entr'Acte00:45
playstop19 Vert-Vert: Act II: Chorus: Quand débute une cantatrice 01:28
playstop20 Vert-Vert: Act II: En venant, comme moi 05:03
playstop21 Vert-Vert: Act II: J'ai parcouru toute la France 03:06
playstop22 Vert-Vert: Act II: Dialogue: C'est admirable ... 02:21
playstop23 Vert-Vert: Act II: Ariette: Apres m'avoir heurté, pousse 01:52
playstop24 Vert-Vert: Act II: Dialogue: Mon tenor jeté a l'eau 01:14
playstop25 Vert-Vert: Act II: L'heureux enfant qui gardera 01:43
playstop26 Vert-Vert: Act II: Dialogue: Jolie voix 01:42
playstop27 Vert-Vert: Act II: Barcarole: Vous ne sauriez me plaire 03:56
playstop28 Vert-Vert: Act II: Duet: Ah l'homme charmant! 02:00
playstop29 Vert-Vert: Act II: Dialogue: Oh! Ah! 01:59
playstop30 Vert-Vert: Act II: Trio: Il etait deux dragons 04:40
playstop31 Vert-Vert: Act II: Dialogue: Ah! mon maître! 01:35
playstop32 Vert-Vert: Act II: Chorus: Chers amis, que voulez-vous?04:56
playstop33 Vert-Vert: Act II: Chorus: Quand du flacon 03:39
playstop34 Vert-Vert: Act III: Entr'Acte00:31
playstop35 Vert-Vert: Act III: Chorus: Faisons chaque pas 01:34
playstop36 Vert-Vert: Act III: Autrefois sous le Valois 05:32
playstop37 Vert-Vert: Act III: Dialogue: Bonsoir, Mesdames et Mesdemoiselles 00:43
playstop38 Vert-Vert: Act III: Mimi! Mimi! Mimi! 00:53
playstop39 Vert-Vert: Act III: Ariette: Là-bas, moi, dans le fond du jardin 03:18
playstop40 Vert-Vert: Act III: Dialogue: Ouvrez! ouvrez! 01:32
playstop41 Vert-Vert: Act III: Aria: Ah! ventrebleu 03:35
playstop42 Vert-Vert: Act III: Dialogue: Rentrez! mesdemoiselles! 01:28
playstop43 Vert-Vert: Act III: Duet: Faut-il en faire le serment 03:43
playstop44 Vert-Vert: Act III: Dialogue: Brr! il y a dans l'air comme des chansons d'amour 00:36
playstop45 Vert-Vert: Act III: Quartet: Nuit d'ete 07:52
playstop46 Vert-Vert: Act III: Dialogue: Allons, ouvrez ... 01:09
playstop47 Vert-Vert: Act III: Finale: Allons, madame Baladon! 02:55

Opera Rara’s association with Offenbach’s music goes back to the company’s revival of his 1867 opéra-comique, Robinson Crusoe (ORC7), and the creation of a new piece, Christopher Columbus (ORC2), with a libretto by Don White, drawing on a host of the composer’s scores. In 2007, Opera Rara resumed its exploration of the huge output of the ‘Mozart of the Champs-Élysées’ with Entre Nous: Celebrating Offenbach (ORR243), a collection of excerpts from more than 20 of the composer’s lesser-known scores. Now Opera Rara presents a complete recording of the delectable comic opera in 3 acts, Vert-Vert, which was the follow-up to Robinson Crusoe at the Opéra Comique and one of five stage works Offenbach produced in 1869 alone. Toby Spence, who starred in ENO’s scintillating La Belle Hélène, takes the role of the charming young man nicknamed Vert-Vert after the deceased favourite parrot of the pupils at a girls’ boarding-school and Jennifer Larmore is cast as the exotic singer, La Corilla. With a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Charles Nuitter, this witty, sophisticated and subtle work is sure to enchant all Offenbach fans.

Booklet includes complete libretto with English translation.

Click here to visit the Official Opera Rara YouTube page and hear an excerpt from this recording

'Opera Rara has done it again! In this intoxicating new studio recording of the rara avis Vert-Vert, the label has restored an 1869 opera comique to bubbly life. The cast in international but sounds convincing en Francais. Toby Spence, the much-in-demand British tenor, is an enchanting Valentin/Vert-Vert. Jennifer Larmore is flashily amusing as the roulade-laden, sexually experienced La Corilla, and the dragoons and the school staff are bracingly cast. Valentin's beloved, the faithful Mimi, is prettily sung by Thora Einarsdottir' - Richard Traubner, Opera News

Thora Einarsdottir (Mimi), Ann Taylor (Emma), Lucy Crowe (Bathilde), Toby Spence (Valentin), Mark Le Brocq (Binet), Mark Stone (Le Comte d’Arlange), Anne-Marie Owens (Mademoiselle Paturelle), Franck Leguérinel (Baladon), Loïc Félix (Chevalier de Bergerac), Jennifer Larmore (La Corilla), Sébastien Droy (Bellecour), Franck Lopez (Friquet/Maniquet), Philharmonia Orchestra, David Parry – conductor


There is consternation and distress among the boarding girls at the Convent of Saint-Rémy: their beloved pet parrot, Vert-Vert, has died. The girls lament his loss while Binet, the manservant, digs a grave for the parrot beneath the trees in the garden. They are waiting for the young Valentin, who lives at the convent, to give the funeral oration: he is late. He arrives, full of apologies: he had to perfect his improvisation. No sooner has he finished the speech than the girls, led by Mimi, and the sisters Emma and Bathilde, decide they simply must find a replacement for the parrot, to kiss and cuddle, as Mimi puts it. She suggests that Valentin would be ideal: secretly, she is in love with him. The girls enthusiastically beg Valentin to agree. He is persuaded and assumes the parrot’s name, Vert-Vert. The girls lead him away in triumph; Binet is left alone by the parrot’s grave to bemoan their fickleness.

He is interrupted by a pair of dragoons jumping over the convent wall. They “dissuade” him from calling for help and introduce themselves as Le Comte d’Arlange and Friquet. It emerges that Le Comte is married to Bathilde. He demands to see her. Threatening to cut off his ears if he refuses, they send Binet to find her. Le Comte reminds Friquet that he and his fellow-officer, Bergerac, who is married to Emma, were forcibly separated from their wives immediately after the marriage ceremony. Binet brings Bathilde and Friquet is sent away; but Binet refuses to leave the lovers alone: they must content themselves with a ménage à trois. The doorbell rings. Le Comte jumps back over the wall, promising to return to rescue the two girls from their prison. Bathilde goes back indoors; Binet is left by the parrot’s grave.

The schoolmistress Mademoiselle Paturelle comes into the garden. She is irritated to find Binet and tells him to go into dinner. He leaves in high dudgeon; she waits in high anxiety. The maid announces Baladon, the dancing-master. As soon as they are à deux, it emerges that they have been secretly married. The secret must be kept to prevent Mademoiselle Paturelle from losing her post. Baladon is understandably frustrated by the lack of intimate access to his wife. She has a plan: she gives him a key to the garden gate. He cajoles her into agreeing to an assignation that very night. Their tryst is interrupted by Mimi, Emma and Bathilde, who giggle to see Baladon with his arm around the headmistress. Haughtily, she leads him indoors.

Bathilde tells Emma that their husbands have a plan to rescue them. Mimi is equally excited by the idea of escape until she remembers that her beloved, Vert-Vert, lives in the convent too. The other girls laugh at Mimi’s infatuation with a mere child. They leave her to muse: Vert-Vert is definitely no longer a child, she decides.

She is interrupted by Binet in a fluster. He tells her that Vert-Vert has been called away to visit his aunt; that he has been chosen to look after Vert-Vert on the journey; and that he is on his way to reserve places on the barge. Mimi is devastated by the news.

The entire convent gathers to bid farewell to Vert-Vert. Binet swears to look after him and Vert-Vert swears to be well-behaved. As they leave to take their places on the barge, Mimi, unseen by the others, follows them: she must watch over Vert-Vert as he enters the wide world.


At the Lion d’Or in the garrison town of Nevers, the dragoons, including Le Comte and Bergerac, are in buoyant mood. La Corilla, the famous singer and forces sweetheart, is about to arrive for her performance the next day. When she enters the room, Le Comte and Bergerac flirt with her blatantly: they are separated from their wives, after all. To everyone’s delight, she responds in kind with a free performance. The dragoons leave Le Comte and Bergerac alone with La Corilla. They are interrupted by the theatre-director, who is intent on a rehearsal. La Corilla grandly points out that the tenor, Bellecour, is late. At which point the doorbell and a fit of coughing herald his arrival: he has a cold. On the barge, he was involved in a dispute with an idiot manservant who praised his master’s singing above the great tenor’s. The great tenor was thrown into the Loire for his pains.

As the theatre director vents his anger over the absent idiot manservant, the latter presents himself in person: it is Binet and the master is Vert-Vert. Binet will not back down and persuades his timid master to sing for the company. They are enchanted. The theatre manager returns from calculating his losses: they must be paid or Binet will be arraigned before a judge. They have no money; so a defiant Binet goes to find the judge with the director and Bellecour, and the two officers as witnesses… leaving Vert-Vert alone with La Corilla. Who sets about seducing him. Particularly, seducing him into singing the performance the next day in place of Bellecour. At first he refuses. But he admits that he became obsessed by a mysterious beauty on the barge; and that that beauty strongly resembled La Corilla. As he falls under La Corilla’s spell, Le Comte and Bergerac return to pursue their flirtation only to see her whisk Vert-Vert away to rehearsal. It serves them right for their inconstancy, they admit.

At that moment, an unknown young dragoon appears. A female dragoon. In fact Mimi, who has disguised herself in Friquet’s uniform in order to follow Vert-Vert. Le Comte hatches an immediate plot. Mimi will tell them how to smuggle themselves into the convent to rescue their wives and they will deliver Vert-Vert to her. Binet enters in great distress: he has overheard his master and the others actors shouting their heads off: clearly a very vigorous rehearsal. Le Comte, in furtherance of his plot, tells Binet to invite the actors – and actresses – to join the dragoons at the inn for a party. He rushes off and Mimi is told in no uncertain terms that she will be locked up until they return to Saint-Rémy.

The guests arrive, Vert-Vert on La Corilla’s arm. He is flushed with success and soon with drink. The evening ends in riotous celebration.


Meanwhile, back at the convent, the girls drearily practice their dancing. They bemoan the lack of male partners. To liven them up, Baladon gives a lecture-demonstration on his obsession: the history of dance. Mademoiselle Paturelle bustles in, full of concern. She has been told that Mimi had been taken to the infirmary and she sends one of the girls to find out how she is. Consternation: Mimi, of course, is not in the convent at all. The messenger returns: Mimi is nowhere to be seen. The girls agree to shout out for her: Mimi, Mimi, Mimi!!! At this moment, to their great relief, Mimi appears. She claims that she has been at the bottom of the garden listening to village gossip and she scandalises Mademoiselle Paturelle by repeating it.

There is a fierce ringing at the door. It is Binet with Vert-Vert, apparently in great distress. Amid the confusion, Mimi whispers to Emma and Bathilde that their husbands will meet them later in the garden. At first Vert-Vert and Binet claim that they were held by thieves in a cave. But, after letting slip a swearword, Vert-Vert admits that there is no truth at all in what they said: he has been learning to drink, swear and seduce women. At which he proceeds to try out his new-found swearing and seducing skills, to Mademoiselle Paturelle’s horror and the girls’ delight.  Mademoiselle finally manages to shepherd her flock away and leads Binet to the headmistress to learn his fate. Vert-Vert and Mimi are left alone. She begins to reproach him. He stops her: La Corilla taught him the meaning of love; and now he knows that he only loves her, Mimi. They embrace tenderly.

Night has fallen and Friquet, disguised in Binet’s clothes, is still hanging around in the garden… Le Comte and Bergerac fall over him as they jump over the wall. They soon realise who he is and are ready to accuse him of playing fast and loose with their wives: he protests his innocence. The officers have arrived with reinforcements and they send Friquet to liaise with them. Bathilde and Emma come out into the garden to meet their husbands. All four hide when another couple appears, then relax when they recognise Mimi and Vert-Vert. Their momentary idyll is disturbed by two people approaching from opposite directions: it is Baladon and Mademoiselle Paturelle arriving for their assignation. They cannot find each other in the dark and the others confuse them by whispering from all directions. The words “secret marriage” are uttered: all becomes clear to the young people. There is a general confusion of bodies and voices which only ends when the doorbell rings yet again, violently. The girls come running with candles. Binet bursts in, armed. He has come to negotiate.  He demands that Bathilde and Emma be handed over to their husbands – they are being held illegally – and for good measure that Mimi and Vert-Vert be allowed to marry. Vert-Vert suggests that Mademoiselle Paturelle should perhaps assume her rightful rôle as Madame Baladon. She refuses every demand. Le Comte calls out to his comrades: they appear on top of the wall. At last, Mademoiselle – Madame – admits defeat. All will be well: the couples will be united and, among the dragoons, the other girls perhaps will have their pick of handsome husbands...

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