Anyone ever seen Robinson Crusoe, the opera?

It’s an Offenbach rarity, coming up in London.

Press release:

The Royal College of Music Opera Studio presents Jacques Offenbach’s lively operetta Robinson Crusoe in the composer’s 200th birthday year.  Tickets for Robinson Crusoe are now on sale.

Robinson Crusoe is a light-hearted love story loosely based on Daniel Defoe’s classic novel, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year. Offenbach’s opera is a seafaring musical adventure set against a backdrop of Victoriana, colonialism and cannibalism. The story follows hopeless romantic Robinson as he sets sail for South America with dreams of finding a fortune for his fiancée Edwige. It’s anything but plain sailing though, as he ends up shipwrecked on a desert island. When Edwige launches a rescue mission, she too finds herself at the mercy of pantomime pirates and waltzing cannibals. Will the lovers ever find each other, the treasure, or their way back home?

 

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  • Did it at GSMD 30 years ago directed by the redoubtable Anthony Besch. It’ll be interesting to see what RCM do with it as it’s rather…stereotypical…some might say offensive portrayal of “natives” may not be so acceptable now.

  • It was also staged at Sadler’s Wells in 1974 by the London Opera Centre with Ann Murray as Man Friday in one of the two casts

    • I saw this and passed her name to a friend always in need of moderately priced singers. Though still a student, she was booked for the next five years! Ann Murray sang in another Offenbach rarity as La Périchole in July 1973, also for the London Opera Centre at Sadlers Wells.

  • I sang in some excerpts from this operetta in France some years ago. The music is certainly pleasing so well done RCM for choosing it.
    Apparently the first French production was a success , but then not revived for some reason.
    I suspect it has had more performances in the UK than anywhere else as Camden Festival ( with the charming mezzo soprano from Trinidad Sandra Browne as vendredi ‘Man Friday,’) Kent Opera and I believe Opera Della Luna have tackled it over the years. Hope it is a success for the RCM students.

  • I sang in some excerpts from this operetta in France some years ago. The music is certainly pleasing so well done RCM for choosing it.
    Apparently the first French production was a success , but then not revived for some reason.
    I suspect it has had more performances in the UK than anywhere else as Camden Festival ( with the charming mezzo soprano from Trinidad Sandra Browne as vendredi ‘Man Friday,’) Kent Opera and I believe Opera Della Luna have tackled it over the years. Hope it is a success for the RCM students.

  • One of my favorite Sutherland recordings is “Conduisez-moi vers celui que j’adore” from this operetta. It has everything that she was known for: impeccable trills, sparkling coloratura, and a high C# that she holds for at least eight seconds only to go UP and then into a run. Her breath control there is inhuman.

  • I was Assistant conductor on the GSMD production mentioned above by Jonathan May
    in 1988 and conducted the final performance: I still have a vocal score.

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