When he premiered L’Île de Tulipatan on 30 September 1868 on “his” stage at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Jacques Offenbach was at the height of his fame and art. The years prior to the Franco-Prussian unrest were a veritable creative firework display for him galvanised by the success of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein whose librettist Jacques Halévy humorously summarised the perfect timing: “Bismarck is helping to double our income, this time it’s the war we’re laughing at, and the war is on our doorstep”. Offenbach went on to have one success after another, with Robinson Crusoe, Geneviève de Brabant, Le Château à Toto, and La Périchole in which the two central characters bear the flowery names of Octogène Romboïdal, grand seneschal, and Cacatois XXII, duke and supreme chief of the island. Afterwards, as is often the case with Offenbach, the (surface) laughter is not without a certain depth – in this case the question of sexual orientation on the threshold of adulthood, embodied by the “tomboyish” character of Hermosa, the grand seneschal’s daughter, and by the delicate and graceful behaviour of Prince Alexis, the duke’s son, which has prompted some commentators to consider the work as the first… homosexual operetta in history!
Boosey & Hawks Publishing
Born in Marseille, Gilles Rico studied music and philosophy before taking a doctorate in medieval philosophy at Oxford University. In parallel to his academic career, he turned to opera directing, first working as an assistant for various European opera houses and festivals. He has collaborated with directors such as Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, Joël Pommerat, Tom Cairns, Dmitri Tcherniakov, Jérôme Deschamps, Andreas Homoki, David McVicar, Damiano Michieletto, Robert Carsen, James Gray and Katie Mitchell. In 2016, Gilles Rico directed the world premiere of Maria Republica by François Paris at Angers-Nantes Opéra, which received the Prix de la Critique 2016. He also directed Un dîner avec Jacques, a show based on Offenbach produced by the Opéra-Comique and the Musée d’Orsay, which was then taken on tour in France. He directed the participatory opera Tistou les pouces verts by Henri Sauguet at the Opéra de Rouen, then staged Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio at the Philharmonie de Paris. Recently, he directed Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon at the Opéra de Lausanne and the participatory opera Les petites Noces after Mozart at the Rouen Opera, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and on tour in France. As a librettist, Gilles Rico wrote the libretto of La Princesse Légère by Violetta Cruz, a commission from the Opéra Comique and the Opéra de Lille, and the libretto of the chamber opera Les rois mages by Fabian Panisello, which he also directed in Madrid and Nice. Among his projects are the revival of Les Rois mages at the Dubai Expo, the staging of Benatzsky’s L’Auberge du Cheval Blanc at the Opéra de Lausanne, the world premiere of Zad Moultaka’s Hémon at the Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg and the staging of Don Giovanni at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Cendrillon , Pauline Viardot (2018) et re-staging of Le Nozze di Figaro (2021).