The original Bataclan aria

The original Bataclan aria


norman lebrecht

November 17, 2015

The attacked theatre was named for this.

Just so you should know.



  • Olga says:

    Norman, thank you for letting know about that. Offenbach’s operetta titled “Ba-ta-clan” was his big success. Who could predict what would happen in the theater named after the funny comedy.

  • Herrera says:

    The title “Ba-ta-clan” refers to the rebel song in the operetta and is a word that is an orientalized version of the word “Ra-ta-plan” in French, which is “an onomatopoetic word suggesting the beating of a drum (like “rat-a-tat” in English), much used in French comic operas with a military theme.”

    Opera fans will all recognize the famous “Rataplan” in Verdi’s La Forza del Destino:

    • Herrera says:

      And here is Offenbach’s orientalized version in his operetta:

      Which is awfully funny.

      Alas, like The Mikado of Gilbert and Sullivan, the days of chinoiserie and japonaiserie operettas where white singers dress up as Asians are over.

      Yes, yes, I know, Ba-ta-clan is actually a sendup of Napoleon III and not the Chinese, but still, the sight of white singers in “black face”, to borrow a term, won’t fly in the 21st century.