Understanding Quatre opéras bouffes by Germaine Tailleferre

How can one approach the Quatre opéras bouffes by Germaine Tailleferre? Here are of few elements of analysis and listening hints to help you discover this composer.

The Quatre opéras bouffes by Germaine Tailleferre are among the exams at the Music Baccalauréat Musique for the work direction “Interpretation and arrangements”. To help you go further into your discovery of this composer and her pieces, you’ll find here a few elements of analysis and the summary of the contents available in our folder.

Spirit and character, an undeniable talent for music, a lot of determination and a bit of luck made Germaine Tailleferre’s life a fantastic and surprising story. The Music Baccalauréat can be the perfect occasion to make light on that woman described by the poet Jean Cocteau as a Marie Laurencin for the ear.

Work in its context 

In 1955, Jean Tardieu, director of the ORTF, ordered Germaine Tailleferre an opera for the radio. Her niece, the historian Denis Centore, wrote the booklet. The ORTF published the work.

Four mini operas-bouffes are gathered under the name “Petite Histoire lyrique de l’art français. Du style galant au style méchant”: La Fille d’Opéra, Le Bel Ambitieux, La Pauvre Eugénie and Monsieur Petitpois achète un château. 

(Little lyrical story of the French art. From the gallant style to the mean style: The Opera Girl, The Pretty Ambitious, The Poor Eugénie and Monsieur Petitpois Buys a Castle).

Each was written “in the style of”: Rameau, Rossini, Boieldieu, Auber, Charpentier, Offenbach…

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