Notre établissement, notre révolution selon Offenbach

From Act II of La Belle Hélène (1864) by Jacques Offenbach (1819 – 1880): The mighty Kings of Greece introduce themselves.

From Act I of La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867) by Offenbach: General Boum-Boum disciplines his troops.

From Act II of Orphée aux enfers (1858) by Offenbach: Imitating 1789 (and 1830 and 1848 — and, God knows, 1968) the denizens of Hell storm the Bastille of Olympus.

From Act IV of La Vie parisienne (1864) by Offenbach: Everyone ignores everything and has a good time.

From Stormy Weather (1943) — Just for the heck of it!


3 thoughts on “Notre établissement, notre révolution selon Offenbach

  1. Pingback: Notre établissement, notre révolution selon Offenbach | Reaction Times

  2. Opera should be entertaining, and a good deal of it invites farce and fun, but that cruise is cringe-inducing.
    The Cotton Club Orchestra scene, however, is gorgeous. I wish that Americans were still as classy. Even jive was classy. I know, I know — it’s a movie, but that means that the producers and consumers of movies had far better taste then than they do now. Preaching to the choir . . .
    Also, how did those Nicholas fellows walk after that??? Amazing.
    Last, I just read the wiki entry on New York’s Cotton Club, as I wanted to know why Cab Calloway had a Cotton Club Orchestra when Duke Ellington also had one. I wondered whether they alternated seasons or nights there when they weren’t playing elsewhere. It seems that Calloway took over after Ellington. I was surprised to read that the club had a segregated audience policy. Cincinnati’s Cotton Club is famous for being the only integrated night club in town. So, I had assumed that such as a marker of Cotton Clubness. I guess not.

    • The Nicholas Brothers were big stars in the 1940s film firmament, but in the 1950s they more or less faded from public appreciation. Cab Calloway managed to remain in the spotlight, carrying on his own inimitable act right through to the Blues Brothers movie, in which he sings “Minnie the Moocher.”

      What makes me cringe in reaction to the scene from La belle Helene is its uncanny penetration to the depraved heart of celebrity culture — the narcissistic “stars” and the besotted fans bowing down to null.


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