PHILEMON ET BAUCIS Barre de navigation

( Creation in Théatre-Lyrique, on February 18, 1860)

Situation : La Phrygie mythologique.
















une bacchante



Act 1. Philémon and Baucis's hut.
Philémon and hiswife sing their durable love in spite of their advanced age (duet: " Du repos, voici l'heure "). Hearing the blasphemy of their neighbours (choir: "Filles d'Athor"), Philémon slanders those that dare to offend the gods. A storm rises and somebody knocks at the door. Jupiter and Vulcan appear in disguise and demand protection, explaining that they were rejected by all the neighbours. Philémon receives them gracefully. Jupiter is happy that at least a mortal gave evidence of hospitality, but Vulcan is dissatisfied with all the adventure and would prefer to return to his forges of Etna (stanzae: " Au bruit des lourds marteaux "). Jupiter makes fun of Vulcan because he lost beautiful Venus to Mercury (ariette: " Hé! Quoi! "). Baucis brings some goat's milk to the two guests. When Jupiter wonders why it is that she seems so satisfied with her humble surroundings, Baucis tells him that her happiness results from her love for Philémon. Her only regret is not to be able to find youth again to begin a new life with him (romance: " Ah! Si je redevenais belle! "). Philémon brings more food and Baucis amuses his guests by telling them the fable of the rat of cities and rat of fields. To the bewilderment of the couple, Jupiter succeeds in filling with wine the water jar with which was empty. Jupiter explains that he and Vulcan are messengers of the gods, come to punish the miserable neighbours of Philémon and Baucis. He puts the couple to sleep and promises that a happy future will await them when they wwake up. (final: " Allons triste buveur ").


Acte II. A temple.
The decadent neighbours of Philémon and Baucis use the temple for orgiac celebrations. At first, one sees them in a state of half-sleep, having succumbed to the effects of their festivity (choir of the drunkenness: " Dans l'ombre de la nuit "). A bacchante exhorts them to get up and share the pleasures of wine. They resume their party (choir of the bacchantes: "Filles d'Athor").Vulcan suddenly appears to warn them that they are calling upon them the anger of the gods by their disrespectful behavior. The villagers laugh at him and shout at him that they will not be terrorized. They declare that man is the master of the world (choir of blasphemy: " Nous chantons aux lueurs "). Jupiter himself finally torches the entire blasphemous group by setting the temple on fire. (finale: " Jupiter! ").


Acte III. The hut was transformed into a palace.
Philémon and Baucis are asleep. Baucis wakes up and realizes quickly that they have found their youth (ariette: " Philémon m'aimerait encore? "). She wakes her husband up, but is annoyed because he does not recognize her at first sight; she resists by bantering his burning advances and runs away. Vulcan and Jupiter seem ready to go back to the Olympus, but when Jupiter sees the magnificent younger Baucis, he decides to stay (stanzae: " Vénus même n'est pas plus belle ". He asks Vulcan to distract Philémon while he tries to seduce his wife. Baucis sings the enjoyments of youth (air: " O riante nature "). Jupiter appears, reveals his real identity and sings his love for her (duet: " Relevez vous, jeune mortelle "). Incapable of resisting the god's attentions , she succumbs to his advances and grants him a kiss. At this moment arrives Philémon. He curses the seducer of Baucis, but discovers his identity only when Jupiter, in anger, goes away. To the amusement of Vulcan, the couple quarrels (trio: " Qu'est-ce donc?"). Baucis, finally filled with the regret to have deceived Philémon, conceives a plan so that Jupiter loses interest in her. She promises to Jupiter to give herself to him forever, in exchange for a single request. Jupiter accepts the deal. He realizes h's been deceived when Baucis reveals that Philémon and she wish to become old again. (romance and final: "Sous le poids de l'âge"). Philémon and Baucis return cheerfully to the peaceful existence they enjoyed at the beginning of the first act.

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To write:

Sapho - La Nonne sanglante - Le médecin malgré lui - Faust - Philémon et Baucis - La colombe
La reine de Saba - Mireille - Roméo et Juliette - Cinq-Mars - Polyeucte - Le tribut de Zamora