At your ageFORTUNIO
a passing fancy often assumes the guise
Did you know that the expression tenir la chandelle (literally, to hold the candle, but metaphorically to play gooseberry) comes from an amorous ruse often used in the 19th century? A wife pretends to love a stranger to divert all eyes away from her true lover. It didn’t need much more for Musset to make it the subject of a cruel comedy—Le Chandelier (The Candlestick). However, a candle can sometimes burn the hand that holds it and the beautiful Jacqueline will learn as much the hard way: the bashful love of the young Fortunio will eventually touch the heart of the woman who thought she could exploit it to her own ends.
In 1907, André Messager, a leading figure in French musical life, adapted the play into a comic opera and conducted the premiere performance. With a penchant for the style of entertainment specific to the Belle Époque, he composed a score for his Fortunio that despite its apparent lightness lacked neither depth nor imagination.
Denis Podalydès, the actor, director, and emblematic figure of the Comédie-Française, is well-versed in Musset’s theatrical style: beneath the humour and the irony, beyond the brilliant spirit which commanded the admiration of Paris society, Podalydès knows how to bring out the melancholy of the author of The Confession of a Child of the Century. A melancholy that resonates so clearly in today’s world. First performed in 2009 at the salle Favart, then revived in 2019 with the same success, Podalydès’ production of Fortunio has not only helped to renew interest in an unjustly neglected work, but it is also now regarded as a reference.
Fortunio, musical in four acts
First performed at the l’Opéra-Comique in Paris on June 5, 1907
New production Opéra national de Lorraine
Gaston Arman de Caillavet and Robert de Flers from Le Chandelier by Alfred de Musset
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra national de Lorraine
sociétaire de la Comédie-Française
Ju In Yoon
Valentine Gérard Walkowiak, Pacôme Mertzweiller