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Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Phone (734) 973-3264
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Email: constu@comcast.net
www.comicoperaguild.org

operettas translations and orchestrations

Operetta Translations and Orchestrations

It's always difficult and time-consuming to find English versions of European operas and operettas that are good for the voice, faithful to the intent of the original and entertaining to a modem audience. Comic Opera Guild commissioned original translations for productions where these criteria could not be met. Specifically, the Guild utilized the creative talents of writers who were also singers and performers, not just academics. In all cases, the writers returned to the original works and endeavored to recreate the works in English, not to merely translate and/or ignore theatrical problems. As a result, noteworthy performing versions of many of the greatest European comic operas and operettas now exist, and the Guild is able to offer these works to other production companies.

Most of the Guild's performing versions are available with matching orchestrations. We are happy to quote the royalty fee for the libretto and the rental fee for the orchestration, based on your performance parameters. To order a perusal copy and audio recording of the work you are interested in, please EMAIL constu@comcast.net or PHONE (734) 973-3264.

Fledermaus

THE VIENNESE TRADITION

DIE FLEDERMAUS     Johann Strauss

Operetta in 3 Acts English Lyrics by Thomas Petiet     Book by Richard Swain

Perhaps the most popular operetta in the world, Die Fledermaus overcomes even average translations. This new English version is anything but. It combines witty, urbane dialogue based on the original play, Le Reveillon with lyrics based on the author's years of performances in the show.     For companies with singers who can act, this Fledermaus will be a certain crowd pleaser.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Venice

A NIGHT IN VENICE     Johann Strauss, Jr.

Operetta in Three Acts     English by Thomas Petiet

Premiered in 1989, this version boasts a completely new libretto and the original 1883 Strauss orchestration. Unlike the versions that have been available, this production uses no interpolated music. The new book replaces a decidedly silly and mediocre libretto with a coherent and amusing story that better suits the glory of Strauss' music. This show is a fitting companion piece to Die Fledermaus, deserving of greater popularity than it has previously attained.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

The Gypsy Baron

THE GYPSY BARON     Johann Strauss, Jr.

Operetta in 3 Acts English by Thomas Petiet

Perhaps the most operatic of Strauss' works, The Gypsy Baron features some of his most soaring music. The new performing version is true to the original, while improving the show in humor and story line to make it a fitting companion to Die Fledermaus and A Night in Venice.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

THE MERRY WIDOW

Operetta in Three Acts by Franz Lehar

English Lyrics by Adrian Ross, Book by Gershom Morningstar

 The original English lyrics to this very popular operetta are as familiar to Americans as the music, and they still stand up to more recent versions. The Guild utilized the original lyrics (with minor changes) and created new dialogue for this production. The result earned high praise from critics in Guild productions of the show.

 ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

The Magic Flute

THE MAGIC FLUTE Singspiel in Two Acts

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart     English version by Thomas Petiet

Never intended as a Grand Opera, The Magic Flute has had grandness imposed upon it by adoring admirers of Mozart. The Guild’s performing version returns to the musical theater roots of the show to create an operatic experience more accessible to new audiences. The book and lyrics reflect the folk-tale simplicity of the original German, while retaining the show's magic.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

LIGHT CAVALRY Operetta in Two Acts

Music by Franz Von Suppe     English version by Thomas Petiet

Although the Light Cavalry Overture is world-famous and familiar to young and old, the show from which it came is competely unknown. Mr. Petiet recreated the show from materials that were discovered, and created a competely new performing version that provides the score with a much better foundation. The Guild's American premiere production of 2013 proved to be a true revelation, and demonstrated that this show deserves to return to the operetta repertory. Brief by Viennese standards, its running time is about two hours.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Orpheus in the Underworld, Offenback Collection

OFFENBACH COLLECTION

ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD Operetta in Two Acts (Four Tableaux)

Music by Jacques Offenbach     English by Thomas Petiet

Not one of the expanded versions available commercially, this Orpheus is true to the original two act show. The satire on the antiquities is sprinkled with apt mythological references to tickle even a discerning classics scholar. It is not silly and does not rely on outrageous costumes, but is tightly constructed to match the impact of the premiere, which launched the "era" of operetta. It is an ideal showpiece for high soprano.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

la Belle Helene

LA BELLE HELENE Operetta in Three Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach     Lyrics by Thomas Petiet    Book by Richard Swain

This collaboration of multi-talented thespians produced a version of Offenbach's grandest farce that is equally successful at developing character and story line. The give and take between Paris and Helen is wonderful, and the other characters are well-drawn. Like Orpheus, Helene requires an acting ensemble, with showcase opportunities for many. All the music of one of Offenbach's greatest scores is here, including Helen's third act couplet and the Patriotic Trio.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

la Perichole Operetta in 3 acts

LA PERICHOLE Operetta in Three Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach English by Ronald Orenstein

Intended as a biting satire on social conditions, La Perichole is usually stripped of much of its content and made into a froth when performed in the United States. Mr. Orenstein returned to the original book to produce what we consider to be the most definitive English language version of this show.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE ONLY

ORCHESTRATION COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE

La Vie Parisienne

LA VIE PARISIENNE Operetta in Three Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach   English by Ronald Orenstein

Originally written for the Paris Exposition in 1867, La VIe Parislenne became so popular that Offenbach found he had to write a shorter version of it for future productions. Consequently, typical productions lack one crucial scene found only in the longer version. Mr. Orenstein has combined the shorter musical score with an edited plot line of the five act original and restored three important musical numbers. The result is a comprehensible and entertaining show.

 ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Robinson Crusoe

ROBINSON CRUSOE Operetta in Three Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach English by Thomas Petiet

Offenbach's musical treatment of the famous Defoe story might have languished on the shelf forever, had the Guild not seen the potential of editing and adapting this show for young audiences. Mr. Petiet completely restructured the comic opera and reduced its length by a third. Complete with upper-class snobs, rowdy sailors, cannibals and pirates. Robinson Crusoe now fits among the composer's best works. It is a treat for the entire family, and even contains an audience participation scene.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

La Grande Duchesse

LA GRANDE DUCHESSE Operetta in Two Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach     English by Thomas Petiet

Always one of the composer's most popular shows in Europe, La Grande Duchesse is a hilarious satire on the military, It has been burdened, however, with a third act that was nearly superfluous. Mr. Petiet has coalesced the show into two acts and strengthened the plot development. Almost all of the score is retained, although the order is altered. Read the score and script and you'll want to produce this show.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

The Brigands

THE BRIGANDS Operetta in Three Acts

Music by Jacques Offenbach     English by W.S. Gilbert     Edited by Thomas Petiet

Before he collaborated with Arthur Sullivan, William Gilbert was involved in various free-lance writing assignments, including this remarkable translation of The Brigands. In this adaptation, the original French score was fitted to Gilbert's published words, with some alterations necessary to produce practical lyrics. Musically, the show rivals Offenbach's best. This is the only example of what might have been, had Gilbert been able to work with a Frenchman.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Ba-ta-clan

BA-TA-CLAN Operetta in One Act

Music by Jacques Offenbach English by Ronald Orenstein

A pure, fast-paced farce, Ba-Ta-Clan is surely the gem of Offenbach's one act shows. The satire concerns the dilemma of four French citizens all barely managing the disguise and language of the court of an obscure Chinese province. The musical numbers are memorable and include a mock-operatic duet that is a sendup of Bellini. Casting is for soprano, two tenors, baritone and chorus. This is a complete operetta, and not simply the music and narration of the commercially available version.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

La Serva Padrona

CHAMBER OPERAS


LA SERVA PADRONA Opera in One Act

Music by Pergolesi     English by Richard Swain

A very amusing translation of the opera intermezzo whose popularity helped launch the Italian Opera Buffo tradition. Written for bass and soprano, this show features comical by-play for the singers, but also has some very poignant scenes.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

The Music Master

THE MUSIC MASTER Opera in One Act

Music by Pergolesi     English by Thomas Petiet

Pergolesi's "other" intermezzo is a very knowing satire of the music business, as it existed in the time of Handel. As such, many of its barbs are still relevant today. The Guild's version makes the most of the humor in this spirited show that can be a great "twin bill" with its more famous sibling.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE

ORCHESTRATION COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE

The Marriage Contract

THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT (La Cambiale di Matrimonio) Opera in One Act

Music by Rossini English by Thomas Petiet with Dale Simmerman and David Barick

Rossini's first popular opera is a little treasure of the Bel Canto era. Despite the vocal glamour of the music, it is not daunting in its vocal requirements. and the show is genuinely funny at the same time. The plot concerns the efforts of a Canadian trapper to claim his English bride by contract.

ENGLISH LYRICS WITH ORCHESTRATION

THE FESTIVAL OF DOVES (LA VERBENA LA PALOMA) Opera in One Act

Music by Breton     English version by Thomas Petiet

One of the few zarzuelas that travels well from Spain, this work is in the 19th century style. Its well-constructed musical score is mated to a new English translation that is charmingly amusing. The Spanish musical flavor is intoxicating

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE

ORCHESTRATION COMMERICALLY AVAILABLE

Naughty Marietta

AMERICAN OPERETTAS


NAUGHTY MARIETTA Operetta in Two Acts

Music by Victor Herbert     Lyrics by Adrian Ross     New Book by Thomas Petiet

This is an alternative for companies who wish to present Victor Herbert's unquestioned masterpiece without suffering through the original dialogue. Although the original lyrics are retainable and match the period of the piece, the dialogue is decidedly dated and painful. This "translation" cleans up some plot problems and provides the performers with better opportunities to shine. A "must read" for anyone contemplating a performance of this work.

LYRICS & DIALOGUE

ORCHESTRATION AVAILABLE

THE FORTUNE TELLER Operetta in 3 Acts

Music by Victor Herbert     Lyrics by Harry B. Smith

Additional Lyrics by Thomas Petiet Dialog by Thomas Petiet after Harry B. Smith

Reconsructed after an absence from the repertory of half a century, this 1898 show is one of Herbert's best. Featuring the famous "Romany Life" and "Gypsy Love Song", the score is filled with remarkably good music. The score was completely restored by Adam Aceto from various sources, and include previously lost numbers. The book is based upon the Smith original, but has been redeveloped to improve the plot and optimize the laughs for modern audiences.

LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

THE RED MILL Operetta in 2 Acts

Music by Victor Herbert     Lyrics by Harry B. Smith

Additional Lyrics by Thomas Petiet Dialog by Thomas Petiet after Harry B. Smith

Originally a vehicle for the Vaudevillian stars Montgomery and Stone, The Red Mill needed a plot reconstruction and dialog rewrite to make it work as a show. The music makes it all worthwhile, as many of Herbert's best songs are here, including "Moonbeams," "In Old New York," Ev'ry Day is Ladies Day," and When You're Pretty and the World is Fair." The Guild's version provides some sense to the goings on, provides clever dialog and generally makes a very entertaining production.

LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Babes in Toyland

BABES IN TOYLAND Operetta in Two Acts

Lyrics By Glenn Macdonough     Dialog by Thomas Petiet

Scaled down considerably from the original show, this version simplifies the plot and production requirements. The new book is intended for audiences of all ages, and this Babes in Toyland is not simply a "kid's show." This version has been performed throughout Michigan, as well as by companies in other states. Some new Herbert numbers have been inserted to improve the score. The orchestration has been reduced to piano and wind ensemble.

ENGLISH LYRICS & DIALOGUE WITH ORCHESTRATION

Early American Operettas & Musicals

Ongoing project of the Comic Opera Guild

The Guild's scholarly project to restore works prior to 1924 by Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern, Rudolf Friml and other composers to performing status . The Guild will act as a source of these composer's scores for companies around the world.  The Guild's performances of the following shows are available on CD for study by interested producers:



VICTOR HERBERT

MADEMOISELLE MODISTE

THE SINGING GIRL

THE ONLY GIRL

ORANGE BLOSSOMS

THE RED MILL

THE ENCHANTRESS

WHEN SWEET SIXTEEN

BABETTE

SWEETHEARTS

IT HAPPENED IN NORDLAND

THE PRINCESS "PAT"

LITTLE NEMO

THE IDOL'S EYE

THE PRIMA DONNA

DREAM CITY/MAGIC KNIGHT

WONDERLAND

THE VELVET LADY

ANGEL FACE

OLD DUTCH

THE TATTOOED MAN

THE MADCAP DUCHESS

MISS DOLLY DOLLARS

THE VICEROY

HER REGIMENT

MLLE. ROSITA

THE AMEER

THE LAVENDER LADY

MISS CAMILLE


JEROME KERN

HAVE A HEART

VERY GOOD EDDIE

THE CABARET GIRL

OH, BOY!

OH, LADY, LADY

SALLY

GOOD MORNINIG , DEARIE

STEPPING STONES

THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE

LEAVE IT TO JANE


KARL HOSHNA

THE THREE TWINS

MADAME SHERRY

LOUIS HIRSCH

RAINBOW GIRL


RUDOLF FRIML

HIGH JINKS

KATINKA


GUSTAV LUDERS

THE PRINCE OF PILSEN


LESLIE STUART

FLORODORA