We shouldn’t jump to quickly to dismiss André Messager simply because not one of his of 30 trifling operettas has stood the test of time. Director of the Paris Opéra and a leading conductor who gave the premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande , in their day several of his works won the hearts of fin de siècle France, and Fortunio , seen here in a 2019 Opéra Comique production, was perhaps his greatest hit.

Fortunio

Written in 1907 to a libretto based on Alfred de Musset’s 1850 farce Le Chandelier , its effective dramaturgy reveals Messager to have been a natural stage animal, while its music, light as a soufflé, flies by in the theatre. For audiences today there are only two problems. The storyline, in...

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