(Creation in the Theater of Bade [ Baden-Baden], on
August 6, 1860)
Situation : Près de
Act 1. A small thatched cottage.
Mazet, servant of Horace who lost his fortune, sings stanzae
to his master's dove he is feeding (romance: " Apaisez
blanche colombe "). Mister Jean, butler of countess Sylvie,
arrives meaning to buy the bird for her. Mazet explains that
the dove cannot be used as a messenger but that he will try
to convince his master to sell it. In spite of the poverty
in which he lives - and to mister Jean's surprise - Horace
cannot abandon his favorite animal (romance and trio: "
Qu'il garde son argent"). Mister Jean learns however that
Horace is in love with Sylvie and hurries to tell her. He
suggests that Sylvie tries to buy the dove herself; she
hesitates, but, thinking jealously about the magnificent
parrot of her rival in society, Amynte, she finally accepts
mister Jean's idea. Once alone, Sylvie expresses her
confidence in the power of love which will bring Horace to
leave her the bird (air: " Je veus interroger ce jeune homme
"). The fact of receiving Sylvie puts Horace at the height
of enjoyment; she announces right away that she will remain
for dinner (quartet: " O douce joie ").
Acte II. Same set.
Mister Jean has volunteered to prepare the meal and sings
the art of cooking (air: " Le grand art de cuisine "). Mazet
returns from the market with empty hands, because the
suppliers refuse to give credit to Horace. After a long
discussion with mister Jean, on the best way of serving
different plates, which are obviously impossible to prepare
in such circumstances, Horace and Mazet set the table and
decide to kill the dove to offer a meal (duet: "Il faut
d'abord dresser la table "). In the meantime, Sylvie is
overcome with tender thoughts for Horace (romance: " Que de
rêves charmants ". They sit down to have dinner and,
as Sylvie is about to ask for the dove, Horace reveals to
her that it was killed. Mazet appears with a roasted bird;
however, to everybody's reassurance, it's not the dove, but
Amynte's parrot that had escaped a little earlier. Sylvie is
delighted to learn that Horace's dove is still alive,
because it will always remind her of his love.