I attended a charming student performance of Offenbach’sGrande Duchesse de Gerolstein yesterday afternoon. One of the nice things about student productions is that they tend to present less familiar operas and operetta’s like the Grande Duchesse.
The Offenbach was particularly interesting because it embodies so many of the conventions of the genre: the petty duchy with its overdressed ruler and military, the high level of folly up and down the social scale, and a clockwork plot, all enlivened with touches of Parisian popular theater, including the can-can.
Why the Balkans and eastern Europe, both historically turbulent, and destined shortly to be more so should have been tabbed as the ideal places to set comic operas is a nice question. Wishful thinking, I wonder?