Le coq du village, a Pantomime Ballet
by Maximilien Gardel (1787)
The pantomime ballet Le coq du village (‘The Cock of the Village’) was created by Maximilien Gardel (1741-1787), who was, at the time of the work’s creation, chief choreographer at the Paris Opéra and ballet master at the French court. The ballet premiered at the Opéra on the 18 February 1787. It was performed a total of only three times between Feb. 18 and March 5 of that year. The reason for this short run is straightforward: Gardel died shortly thereafter. On the 2 March, Gardel injured his foot, by stepping on a sheep’s bone, which pierced his toe, and on the tenth he died from the infected wound which had turned gangrenous (CS 30 Sept. 1798: 3). And Gardel’s successor as chief choreographer at the Opéra, his brother Pierre, chose not to remount the work: Perhaps the tone of this lighthearted piece was felt to be too low for Pierre, who preferred loftier fare. Indeed, a farce about man-hungry women fighting over the only available bachelor in a village was perhaps out of step with the grimness of the Revolutionary years.
The ballet was based on Charles-Simon Favart’s libretto to the comic opera Le coq de village (1743). The ballet score was a pasticcio, with pieces notably by Grétry, Dezède, and perhaps Gossec, and popular vaudeville tunes. A few sources state that Gardel’s adaptation followed the original plot very closely. Fenouillot de Falbaire de Quingey (1787: 192-93), for example, writes that Gardel’s
ballet La chercheuse d’esprit is nothing else but the charming work by monsieur Favart, wherein all the spectators sing the words quietly, while the orchestra plays the tunes and the dancers do the gestures. The pantomimes of Ninette à la cour and Le coq du village are likewise the comedies themselves reduced to mute expression.
Compare also the following: “Since Monsieur Favart’s piece is very well known, we will forgo any detail” (JP 19 Feb. 1787: 219); i.e., there was no need to give a summary since anyone who knew the opera would know the ballet. Likewise, the MF ( 3 Mar. 1787: 39) states that “it is the same as Monsieur Favart’s comic opera of the same name, which is too well known in order for us to give an analysis,” i.e., a plot summary.
Announcements in the JP refer to Gardel’s adaptation as an “anacreontic ballet” (2 Mar.) as well as a “comic ballet” (5 Mar.). These characterizations and the farcical nature of the story itself strongly suggest that the ballet was in the comic style, or a mix of the half-serious and comic.
The score to Gardel’s ballet (specifically the part books with a repetiteur score) is extant, although no scenario survives. In view of the contemporary remarks about the plot given above, the Favart opera libretto can be used to reconstruct the scenario and determine how the surviving music relates to it. In addition, knowledge of the background to some of the musical selections used as well as a few comments found in the reviews are also very helpful in determining what piece fits with a given scene.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE (AND ORIGINAL CAST)
Pierrot, the only available bachelor, who is in love with Thérèse (Auguste Vestris)
Thérèse, a shepherdess in love with Pierrot (Marie-Madeleine Guimard)
Gogo, a mischievous girl (Laure)
Rapé & Froment, aunt and mother to Gogo respectively, and aunts to Thérèse, both widows (Frédéric Schreuder / Schröder, Louis Nivelon)
Babet, Colette & Mathurine, village maidens (Louise-Françoise Langlois, Marie-Louise Hiligsberg, Marie Miller)
The tabellion, godfather to Pierrot (Gainetez)
An overture in reduction appears in the repetiteur score, but none of the books contains the parts to it. It follows then that it was ultimately not used.
SCENE 1 (No. 1)
The first scene in Favart’s libretto consists of a very short monologue by the tabellion, Pierrot’s godfather, which serves as an exposition (translated in full here):
It is indeed rightly said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. When there were lads in the village, the lasses had not the time of day for them, and no one bothered with Pierrot. But since they have all volunteered to fight for the sake of glory and only Pierrot is left behind, all the girls are in hot pursuit of him: he has his pick of them. And so my nephew has become the cock of the village. I mean to take advantage of the situation to see him well set up.
The most salient circumstance, which incites the complication of the plot, is the absence of the young men in the village due to an armed conflict. The only way to convey this in pantomime is actually to show the call to arms, the young men enlisting and then marching off. In fact, the JP review states that “the only change that Monsieur Gardel the Elder, the creator the ballet, allowed himself is all the more felicitous, since it explains the complete absence of lads in the village and makes the dénouement much more natural than in the play.” By “explaining” the dearth of young men, the reviewer presumably meant that Gardel dramatized the backstory, showing all the lads, except for absent Pierrot, carried away with patriotism, committing themselves to fight and then marching off, certain of glory. And the character of the music here, with its quick tempo, building momentum and controlled dissonances, lends itself especially well to a crowd scene, with bustling bodies forgathering and passions mounting. The music’s playing time of about one minute would be sufficient for such a scene.
SCENE 2 (No. 2)
In the second scene of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot appears, bearing several nosegays and ribbons in his arms, and comes upon his godfather. Pierrot informs him that he has been given all these by the local girls seeking a dance partner in the village festivities that are to take place this day. He complains that having to dance with one after the other will exhaust him. And this is not to mention that he is being called upon to do all sorts of things, now for one girl, now for another, and singles out Madame Froment’s daughter Gogo as a particular bother. To escape all this female attention, he at times feels tempted to run away and enlist. The godfather asks him what holds him back, and Pierrot reveals his passion: “I’m, I’m lovesick: Thérèse is my cure.” But neither the shy Pierrot nor the shy Thérèse has spoken of their feelings to each other. The tabellion thinks Thérèse unsuitable, since she is merely a simple shepherdess, that is to say, a girl without wealth, one who is unlikely to be provided with much of a dowry by her guardians and aunts, the two widows Froment and Rapé. He recommends that Pierrot set his sights higher, since he has the pick of the village. But Pierrot would rather be happily married and poor, rather than unhappily married and well-off. And Pierrot clarifies that any unreadiness on the part of the widows to provide Thérèse with a dowry is surely owing to the fact that the widows themselves desire him. Pierrot now sees them coming and runs off to avoid an encounter with them. The tabellion promises to try and help him.
The two most salient elements here are Pierrot’s lovesickness, and his unhappiness with being the object of unwanted female attention, and in particular the widows’ determination to win him for themselves. One would expect then that in the pantomime, Pierrot, as one of the leading characters, would be introduced here and something of his character and situation established, before any attempt to show the widows’ designs on him. The music is slow and rather pensive. Its twelve bars, with a playing time of about 50 seconds, is well suited for the entrance of lovesick youth, who is the unhappy recipient of unwanted overtures.
If this is correct, then this short scene might have unfolded as follows. Pierrot enters, perhaps from the queen’s side, to show his “passive” role in the village women’s active designs. Like his counterpart in Favart, he bears in his arms a number of small nosegays with ribbons, which feel more like burdens than gifts. He perhaps hears an approach (at the sforzando at bar 6), and hastens to hide himself behind a tree or some other prop. A bevy of village girls comes on further upstage, searching for him. They look about briefly but do not see him and so continue their search, exiting, a little forlorn that they cannot find him. Pierrot comes forth again (at the beginning of the repeat of the A section), checks to make sure that they are gone and gives a sigh of relief. His attention turns to the nosegays in his arms and, with some irritation, goes over to a bench or some other object, such as a barrel or basket, and throws them down, happy to be rid of these the tokens of unwanted attention. In fact, the germ of this scenario is indeed in Favart: At the sight of the widows’ approach, Pierrot rushes off to avoid an encounter with them (see the discussion concerning the next scene).
SCENE 3.1 (No. 3)
In the tiny third scene of Favart’s libretto, the two widows Rapé and Froment appear. They are Thérèse’s widowed aunts and guardians, and Froment is the mother of the ten-year old Gogo. They are, thus, to be thought of as at least middle-aged, probably old enough to be Pierrot’s mother. In fact, the MF review describes them as “vieilles” (‘old women’). The audience is apparently to understand that they have been pursuing him. They call out to Pierrot, but he does not stop in his flight.
Almost certainly, the music here, which is a passepied of only 16 bars to be played “very fast” (with a playing time of about 15 seconds), was intended for the entrance of the widows, one marked by hopeful urgency and wayward drive, as suggested by the tempo and many running notes. That it was indeed intended merely for an entrance is also suggested by the fact that it was shorn of its original final 36 bars, apparent from crossing out in the books.
According to the JP review (19 Feb. 1787: 219), “Messieurs Nivelon and Frédéric, clad as women, play the roles of the two widows, who are infatuated with the lad.” As such, they “throw much comedy into this pursuit” (MF 3 Mar. 1787: 39). The widows then were burlesque skirt-roles, not unlike that of Lison’s mother in Dauberval’s La fille mal gardée, which premiered only two years after Le coq du village.
One might imagine this tiny scene to unfold as follows. The two widows, straggling behind the bevy of girls that already passed, suddenly appear, in a searching manner, eager to find Pierrot, who does not notice them at first. Since they are in competition (see the discussion in the next section), a slight delay between their entrances might be expected, to suggest that they are not acting in concert. They spot Pierrot and are delighted by their discovery, uncontrollably expressing this delight, in a manner more fitting to younger folk well beyond their more advanced age.
SCENE 3.2 (No. 4)
In the fourth scene of Favart’s libretto, the widows’ infatuation with Pierrot is fully revealed. From the very go, rivalry and jealousy inform their interaction. The programmatic piece of music here was almost certainly intended for the dramatization of the widows’ infatuation with Pierrot, their attempt to woo him, as well as their rivalry, the latter specifically through a fistfight, mentioned in a review of the ballet:
Two widows, portrayed by two men dressed as women, throw much comedy into this pursuit. One might feel justified in finding that this was taken to the point of caricature, when the two women have a fistfight and roll about on the floor. Even in the most burlesque comedy, there is a kind of propriety, delicacy, almost dignity, one might say, from which one must never stray, especially in this theater, and which can become flawed through such excess. But it is no great task to have it easily disappear, and when the subject is treated thus, and supported by an execution no less perfect, it will become extremely fine. (MF 3 Mar. 1787: 39-40)
The music at bars 47-65 was almost certainly the place where the fight took place.
SCENE 4 (nos. 5-7)
Favart’s fifth scene is for an interchange between the tabellion and the ten-year-old Gogo. The latter is a kind of mischievous village spy, an “imp,” as Pierrot calls her. She describes some of the goings-on in the village centering on Pierrot. She has been spying and has overheard the conversation between the tabellion and the widows. She says that the latter are smitten with Pierrot and that Pierrot is the talk of all the village girls. She dismisses all of the females in the village as unsuitable matches for Pierrot except herself. Indeed, she expresses her determination to have him as a husband. When the tabellion notes that “you are not yet eleven years old!” she brushes this objection aside, asserting that “love is found at any age” and that she knows that marriage will make her happy because her little finger tells her so. And she has been to Paris several times, and so she is not as stupid as one normally is in a village. She then asks the tabellion if she can have his godson Pierrot but is refused. She then states that in that case, she knows what to do in order to get her way and gives a hint: Her father was forced to get married to her mother because the latter stole his bouquet (a token of betrothal).
The main elements of this scene are a revelation of her character (a sneak who spies on people and who is willing to resort to underhanded means to get what she wants) and a revelation of her infatuation with Pierrot and determination to marry him, despite the fact that she is underage. To dramatize this in pantomime, one needs to see Gogo sneaking about and aggressively courting Pierrot. This scene appears to play out over three separate pieces of music (nos. 5-7).
In the first (no. 5), Pierrot presumably expresses some relief that the widows have left him in peace and settles down to some village task. Gogo then sneaks up on him (one might imagine that she sneaks up behind Pierrot while seated and covers his eyes, as Blaise does to Babet in Blache’s pantomime ballet Les meuniers of 1787).
In the second (no. 6), Gogo’s appearance here is perhaps outwardly for a favor or task to be asked of Pierrot but in fact is merely an excuse to spend time with him in order to woo him. In a different scene in Favart, Pierrot complains that “every morning, she comes and bothers me for hazelnuts.” (Gathering nuts apparently had a bawdy innuendo.) Gardel may have dramatized this, such that Gogo expresses her “hunger,” forcing Pierrot to feed her some nuts. She might even have him place the nuts in her mouth, perhaps taking his hand and moving it to her mouth in order to drop the nuts in. At the figurative level then, her (precocious sexual) appetite is a constant bother.
After seeing the aged widows acting as if they were youthful love-besotted maidens, one now sees an underage girl acting as if she were a libidinous adult. In either case, the amatory mismatch is underscored by the age differences. Indeed, the contrast must have been pronounced in performance, with the widows performed by men in travesty, and Gogo performed by Laure, who was only “twelve and a few months” old in September of 1786, according to Grimm, and so around thirteen in February of 1787 when Le coq du village premiered. And Pierrot was performed by Auguste Vestris, who in February of 1787 was nearly 27.
That this scene in the ballet was indeed for Gogo is suggested not only by the order of scenes in Favart but also by the choice of music here, namely, a vaudeville tune called “J’aime une ingrate beauté” (‘I love a thankless beauty’). The gist of the song is unrequited love. Indeed, Pierrot’s heart definitely lies elsewhere, and not with this “imp.”
The third (no. 7) was presumably for Gogo’s merry exit. The music here, with a playing time of about 20 seconds, is a vaudeville tune, known best under the title “V’là c’que c’est qu’d’aller aux bois / V’la ce que c’est que d’aller au bois” (‘this is what it’s like to go to the wood’). Favart used this tune in his parody Hippolyte et Aricie (1763), and his lyrics there also mention gathering nuts and a maiden pricking herself with an arrow.
Scene 5.1 (No. 8)
In the short sixth scene of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot comes on again and has a very brief interchange with the tabellion. He states that he was unable to speak to Thérèse because she was in the fields, but now he sees her coming and waves to her to come to him. His godfather tells him that the widows are absolutely set on marrying him, but the tabellion will try to bring them around to letting their ward Thérèse marry him instead. He warns his godson that if he fails in this, Pierrot will have to give up his plans. This wholly verbal interchange would be impossible to render clearly in pantomime. Even in the opera, the scene does little to advance the plot, apart from perhaps helping to create a little dramatic tension by highlighting the possibility of an unfavorable outcome. It is highly likely that Gardel passed over this in his adaptation.
At the beginning of scene 7 in Favart’s libretto, Pierrot sees Thérèse approaching and utters the following: “There is Thérèse, Oh! Oh! (AIR: “Lassi, lasson, lasson bredondame”) Lordie! How sweet she is! I feel, I feel my heart skipping. Lordie! How sweet she is! Already my innards are going ticktock, ticktock, tock.” Gardel seems to have originally meant to give this section a unique piece of music, with Pierrot presumably looking for Thérèse and then seeing her in the distance and then feeling overwhelmed, to music labeled amoroso (marked no. 7 in the books, but no. 6 in the repetiteur score). This music is from scene xii of Monsigny’s 1764 comic opera Rose et Colas. At that point in the opera, Colas has brought a nosegay for his sweetheart Rose, but not finding her – she is close-by, observing him from a concealed spot – he cannot decide where to leave it for her. The allusion then was to help explain the situation, namely a beloved one being observed from another spot. (The same piece was used in a very similar context in Gardel’s Le premier navigateur.) This music was ultimately not used in the ballet, presumably because devoting a separate piece to this opening caused the whole scene to drag a little. There was perhaps a sufficient amount of music in no. 8 for this opening to be included there.
In the remainder of Favart’s seventh scene, Pierrot has an interchange with Thérèse, which is worth giving in full here.
P: Come over here, Thérèse. (AIR: “Mon voisin a pris son orge.”) I’ve a secret to tell you, But I daren’t.
T: Why not?
P: I’m so tongue-tied when I see you. But I have to tell you: Oh! Lordie! You’re going to laugh at me. I can see you smiling already.
T: Is it possible that I’d laugh at you, Pierrot? Tell me.
P: (embarrassed) Thérèse, it’s that I …, I …,
P: You’re looking at me …,
T: (AIR: “Oh Pierre! Oh Pierre!”) Why all the secrecy?
P: Look away.
T: Well? Alright, you’ll get your way: Tell me then. Don’t be afraid.
P: My sweet shepherdess, it’s you that I’m in love with. (He hides behind his hat.)
T: You’re in love with me?
P: Yes. (Aside.) Oh! This is crushing me! (To Thérèse. AIR: “Fille qui voyagez en France.”) When are you going to tell me the same?
T: Oh, never.
P: What a flint heart! …
T: Me! I’m to tell you that I love you!
P: What’s stopping you?
T: Propriety. I even have to hide from you that I’m thinking about it.
P: What? Why hide it from me?
T: (AIR: “Si ma Philis vient en vendange.”) This’ll have to do for you. Why this needless telling? Often enough, one can love without saying so. But there’s no longer any love if one has to talk about again and again.
P: Well, don’t tell me then. But can’t you let me know somehow?
T: How then?
P: By letting me kiss your hand.
T: Kiss my hand! …
P: Will that make you angry?
T: Don’t you know that a girl gets angry when someone pleases her? And so what’s the good in telling me that you love me? From what I understand, see, I’m supposed to run away from you.
T: Yes. A smart girl is supposed to run from all those who love her. Propriety even demands that I forbid you from seeing me.
P: Are you going to forbid me from seeing you?
T: Of course.
T: Yes, truly.
P: Lordie! I’ve had my fill of this blasted “propriety.” And so it’s my godfather who’s behind this. He laughed at me, see, because I hadn’t told you before, and so, here I am far gone. I won’t hold back in giving him a piece of my mind. He’ll see. (He starts to leave. Thérèse calls him back.)
P: Yes, what?
T: I forbid you from seeing me.
P: I’m not to see you ever again then?
T: Well, you don’t have to do as I say.
P: (Merry. AIR: “Quand le péril.”) Oh! This turns my luck around. I won’t obey you then. But are you going to hold this against me?
T: I bear no grudge. But what good is the love that I have for another?
P: I’ll find a way to make it worthwhile. My godfather’s doing his best to make it possible for me to marry you. Do you agree to this?
T: Then I would no longer have to forbid you anything.
P: Nor I to disobey you. But while we wait, I still have to disobey you one more little time, by kissing that hand, whether you want me to or not.
T: Oh! That would not be contrary to my wish. Gently.
P: (Kisses her hand.) Now, now, it’s not your fault. I will not let it go until you pay a ransom.
T: What you do want?
P: Your bouquet.
T: You have so many already …
P: (AIR: “Qu’elle est jolie, ma brunette!”) Don’t be jealous a bit, my little duck. I’m ready, my pretty brunette, to give them all to you, for a mere little flower from you. (He gives all of his bouquets.) Here, hold out your apron. This one’s from Madame Froment; this one’s from Madame Rapé. These are from Mathruine, Colette, Babet, and all of the girls in the village.
T: (Gives him hers.) And here is mine.
P: What fine flowers! They are even more colourful and fresh since you picked them!
T: Sh! Gogo’s coming.
P: That little spy’s everywhere.
T: (AIR: “C’est la servante de chez nous: mon Dieu qu’elle est jolie!”) Bye now. Don’t let on anything to her. I’m going to take my ewes straightway down into the valley.
P: Which side?
T: Over there.
P: Oh! Ah! Ah!
T: I forbid you to follow me. (She exits.)
P: I’ll be sure to, for sure.
There are essentially three parts to this scene: Pierrot’s declaration of love after struggling with his shyness; Thérèse’s fashionable coyness in response to his declaration; and finally, the expression of mutual love. The corresponding scene in the ballet was almost certainly to unfold over three different pieces of music (nos. 8-10). The first of these, an andante marked no. 8 here but no. 11 in the books, with a playing time of about a minute and a half, appears to have been for the first part of the scene, as strongly suggested by the context of the musical source. The music is from Nicolas Dezède’s 1777 comic opera Les trois fermiers, specifically the tune from the chanson dialoguée between Babet and Blaise “Colette un jour dit à Colin” (II, ii), which begins with the following lines:
BA: One day, Colette said to Colin, / “Tell me then, why do I sigh? / Is it like a fire that’s within me? / Do you not know what it means?” / When I see you,
BL: Who me?
BA: Yes, you. / I want to speak, but I can say nothing.
. . . . . . . . . . .
BL: I should think rather that it’s love.
BA: You’ve guessed it, for sure.
Just like Pierrot, Babet wishes to express her feelings of love to the object of her desire but cannot bring herself to do so without availing herself of a somewhat roundabout manner, namely, a story about a Colette and Colin. The operatic allusion then helps to explain Pierrot’s similar predicament, namely, his difficulty in expressing his love because of his shyness, availing himself of a hat to hide behind when he finally does bring himself to declare himself.
Scene 5.2 (No. 9)
This playful music, marked no. 9 here but no. 12 in the books, with a playing time of nearly two minutes, appears to be for the second part of the scene corresponding to Favart’s seventh as discussed in the foregoing section, wherein Thérèse acts according to “bienséance,” that is, to how she thinks a woman is to respond to a romantic overture. Thus, she must conceal what she feels and thinks, she must even become angry when something pleasing is done to her, she must run away and forbid the object of her affection from ever seeing her again. In short, she must play hard to get. In pantomime ballet, this would be naturally rendered by much running away and running after, by dodging and nearly catching, by expressions of frustration of the part of the pursuer, and so forth. By Gardel’s day, such scenes and very similar ones were already something of a cliché in ballet. Compare Gallini’s description of a typical short pantomimic duet (1762: 103-8):
For example, you, as a female dancer will come upon the stage, with a distaff, twirling it, or with a pail to draw water; or with a spade for digging. Your companion will come next perhaps driving a wheel-barrow, or with a sickle to mow corn, or with a pipe a-smoaking; and though the scene should be a saloon, no matter what, it will come soon to be filled with rustics or sailors. Your companion to be sure will not have seen you, at first; that is the rule; upon which you will make up to him, and he will send you a packing. You will tap him on the shoulder with one hand, and he will give a spring from you to the other side of the stage. You will run after him; he, on his part will scamper away from you, and you will take pet at it. When he sees you angry, he will take it into his head to make peace; he will sue to you, and you in your turn will send him about his business. You will run from him, and he after you. He will be down on his knees to you; peace will be made; then, shaking your footsies, you will invite him to dance. He also will answer you with his feet, as much as to say, come, let us dance.
Then handing you backwards to the top of the stage, you will begin gaily a Pas-de-deux, or Duet Dance. The first part will be lively, the second grave, the third a jig. You will have taken care to procure six or seven of the best airs for a dance, put together, that can be imagined. You will execute all the steps that you are mistress of; and let your character in the Pas-de-deux, be that of a country wench, a gardener’s servant, a granadier’s trull [i.e., grenadier’s trollop], or a statue; the steps will be always the same; and the same actions for ever repeated; such as running after one another, dodging, crying, falling in a passion; making peace again, bringing the arms over the head, jumping in and out of time, shaking legs and arms, the head, the body, the shoulders, and especially smirking and ogling round you; not forgetting gentle inflexions of the neck, as you pass close under the lights, nor to make pretty faces to the audience, and then, hey for a fine curtesy [i.e., curtsy] at the end of the dance!
Compare also Michael Rosing’s description of a pas de deux performed by A. Vestris and Guimard at the Opéra in 1788:
[Their] pas de deux was a quarrel between two lovers. . . . Guimard was angry because Vestris had been away for so long (I refer to them by their own names), and rejects his excuses. He pursues her in the most beautiful manner in the world, and whenever she tries to escape, he is standing in her path; both were continuously assuming novel and beautiful poses, but none was more worthy of the greatest painter’s brush than the final tableau when in her anger she wants to escape from him and he catches her in flight. She lies across him in his arms, supporting herself on one toe, and there he stands holding her like the most handsome Hercules and the most beautiful God of Love any painter could imagine. The couple melted into one another, and conquered every heart. I had seen Guimard many times, but she seemed revitalised on being reunited with her Vestris. (Schyberg 1943: 225-26; trans. in Guest 1996: 272)
Such a scene of flight and pursuit would readily admit many painterly poses and tableaux.
Scene 5.3 (No. 10)
This music, marked no. 10 here but no. 13 in the books, with a playing time of about three minutes, is for the third and last part of the scene corresponding to Favart’s seventh as discussed in the section dealing with no. 8. Pierrot feels his “luck” turn around when Thérèse coyly reveals something of her true feelings. She lets him kiss her hand. There is an exchange of nosegays, wherein he gives her all of the nosegays which he earlier received from the village girls, dropping them into her out-held apron (see the image); and she, in turn, gives hers to him. And at end of the scene, Thérèse hears someone approaching and forthwith leaves so that their newly established bond will remain a secret, while Pierrot is loath to part from her. Presumably, she is fearful that if her aunts were to find out, they would actively seek to undermine her.
This section then would be the climax to the extended wooing scene, which began with no. 8. The melody used for this part is from Favart’s comic opera La servante justifiée (scene viii, the “tictac” duet). According to the JP review of the ballet, “Monsieur Vestris and mademoiselle Guimard perform a pantomime scene to the well-known tune the ‘Tic-Tac’ duet from La servante justifiée. More finesse, more gracefulness and a most perfect sense of ensemble cannot be added.” The lyrics from Favart’s duet for Colin and Lison are as follows:
Just as our millwheel keeps turning and turning, as we see, so your sweetheart Colin will keep on loving and loving. Ticka ticka tack, love unending. . . .
The choice of this music may have also been suggested by some of the lyrics at the beginning of the seventh scene in Favart’s Le coq de village, which also has a “tictac” refrain (see the discussion dealing with scene. 5.1). There, however, the refrain was performed to the vaudeville tune “Lassi lasson lasson bredondame,” which Gardel did not use.
Scene 6.1 (No. 11)
In the eighth scene of Favart’s libretto, Gogo returns. The corresponding scene in the ballet appears to have played out over two different pieces of music (nos. 11-12). The first, the andantino marked no. 11 here but no. 14 in the books, with a playing time of about thirty seconds, appears to be for Gogo’s entrance. In most of the books, the andantino bears the title “entrée” (‘entrance’), which reflects the origin of the music, namely the “Entrée des paysans” from Gretry’s 1762 opera Lucile (sc. xviii). In the latter, the music serves as an accompaniment to the following action: “The men and women villagers come on dancing and present Lucile with the wedding nosegay and crown of flowers.” And after a dance, the melody is taken up again by the chorus and sung to the following lyrics:
Chantons deux époux
Que sous ses lois L’Amour assemble;
Chantons deux époux
Qu’il joint de ses nœuds les plus doux.
Autour deux il me semble
Danser sous deux jeunes ormeaux,
Qui s’élèvent ensemble
Pour unir leurs rameaux.
Heureux parmi nous,
Protégez nous sous votre ombrage;
Heureux parmi nous,
N’ayez ni rivaux ni jaloux.
Si l’Amour est volage,
C’est pour s’enfuir loin des palais,
Et chercher au village
L’innocence et la paix.
On dit qu’à quinze ans
On plait, on aime, se marie:
Je n’ai que dix ans,
C’est encor bien loin de quinze ans.
Dites-moi, je vous prie,
Comment on abrège le temps;
Car j’aurais bonne envie
De presser les instants.
(‘Let us sing of the bride and groom, whom Cupid brings together under his dominion. Let us sing of the bride and groom, whom he unites with his sweetest bonds. About two, he seems to me to dance, about two young elms, which rise together in order to join their branches.
Happy among us, shield us under your shade. Happy among us, brook no rivalry or envy. If Cupid is flighty, it is to flee palaces and, far away, to seek out guilelessness and peace of the village.
It is said that at fifteen years, one pleases, loves and weds. I am but ten, and that is still far from fifteen. Pray, tell me how one is to shorten time, for I would fain have time fly.’)
Like some of Grétry’s peasants, Gogo is “but ten” and would gladly have Time and Cupid obey her.
The use of the Grétry music not only helps to explain the situation but also ironically comments upon it. In the original operatic context, the peasants come on to present a nosegay and thereby celebrate a romantic union, but here a village girl comes on in order to steal a nosegay and pull apart a romantic union, in her desire to claim Pierrot for herself (see next section).
According to Favart’s libretto, in the time between Thérèse’s exit and Gogo’s entrance, Pierrot lovingly admires the nosegay from Thérèse. “Love has made his home in these flowers! I can smell it! . . . I feel all on fire! These were over sweet Thérèse’s heart! Let them stay over mine!”
Scene 6.2 (No. 12)
Once Gogo has entered, in Favart’s eighth scene, she at once notices the nosegay and comments on the beauty of the flowers, and Pierrot remarks, “Wouldn’t you like to have it now! You envy everything.” She then shows a nosegay that she has made, which she boasts is “a hundred times more beautiful” than the one Pierrot has, and he confesses that her bouquet is more attractive. Gogo coyly remarks that she would never swap hers for his. But she does ask to look at his more closely, which he has been guarding jealously. She ask, “Are you afraid that I’m going to eat it? It is sweet. Let me smell it.” And “Pierrot brings it near Gogo; she draws near as if to smell it but rips it out his hands.” Pierrot asks, more than once, that it be given back to him, but she ignores his requests, stating that she knows that it is from Thérèse. She then hides the nosegay from him, presumably holding it behind her back in one hand, beside her own bouquet in the other hand. (Or alternatively, she turns her back on him and holds the two nosegays in front of herself, in full view of the audience.) Pierrot becomes angry and then apparently reaches around her to take back his, but she swaps the two nosegays, when they are not visible to him, so that he ends up taking hers instead by mistake. She tells him that he has chosen well and that he will be hearing from her soon, presumably concerning marriage plans. To her mind, this swapping of bouquets is tantamount to a betrothal. She then exits.
Gardel did indeed include this scene, evident from a passing remark in the JP review:
Mademoiselle Laure has been given the role of Gogo, a young fourteen-year-old girl with designs on the cock of the village, and she attempts to realize them in a most mischievous manner. She was especially admired in the scene wherein she succeeds in having the lad snatch her nosegay, she believing that this violent act amounts to a promise of marriage on his part.
The nosegays would need to have been easy for the audience to distinguish one for the other. This could easily be done by having them tied with ribbons of contrasting colours, red for Pierrot’s, for example, and blue for Gogo’s.
The music (marked no. 12 here but no. 15 in the books) is labeled contredanse or contredanse nouvelle in most of the books and almost certainly reflects the origin rather than the function here. Eighteenth-century contredanses often have rather simple melodies, and the example used by Gardel was no exception:
Contredanse tunes are most often in two time. They are to be well cadenced [i.e., performed with a strong beat], brilliant and gai, and yet, they are to exhibit much simplicity, for, being played many times, they would become unbearable if too laden. In all things, the simplest is that which wearies the least. (Rousseau 1768: 365)
Compare also Meude-Monpas (1787: 39): “Contredanse, a dance air in two time. The contredanse is always to begin with an upbeat and have a simple melody.” The choice of such music is particularly apt in this context. The simplicity paints something of Gogo’s childishness and her feigned innocence. There is then dramatic “contra” in this simple contradance.
Scene 7 (No. 13)
In the ninth scene of Favart’s libretto, the two widows return. They acknowledge that they are unwilling to give up their design of having Pierrot. Rapé pulls Pierrot to herself, and then Froment pulls him to herself, and Pierrot utters “Here am I taken on both sides!” The widows try to outdo each other in painting before Pierrot’s eyes all of the advantages he will have if he will only say yes to either one or the other them. All the while Pierrot thinks of escape: “Let me make off while they argue.” Determination hardens, and Froment vows that “I will not give up Pierrot. I’d rather see him strangled” than in the arms of someone else. For her part, Rapé would rather see Froment “croak from anger” before she will relinquish her design on him. Pierrot cries out for “help!”
The short musical selection of only eight bars, marked no. 13 here but no. 16 in the books, appears to be for the widows’ entrance. The actual struggle is apparently to build piecemeal over the following few musical numbers, as more of the women quickly show up and make their own claims, with each bit of music being successively longer and more animated.
Scene 8 (No. 14)
In scene 10 of Favart’s libretto, Mathurine appears and comes upon the struggle. When she perceives the nature of the conflict, she too attempts to claim Pierrot for herself, asserting that “if he won’t have me, then he’s nothing but a blockhead!” And in unison with the widows, she sings, “Oh! I will have Pierrot. I need him. He’s really my little clownkin.”
Scene 9.1 (No. 15)
In scene 11 of Favart’s libretto, Colette and a bevy of village lasses come on. She sings of her determination to have Pierrot for herself. The 16-bar piece of music marked no. 15 here but no. 18 in the books was apparently for their entrance and their statement of claims.
Scene 9.2 (No. 16)
By this point, all of the women have gathered. One is apparently to imagine that the search for Pierrot has been going on for some time, and at last the women have found him. The 32-bar piece marked as no. 16 here but as no. 19 in the books appears to be the climax to the encounter between Pierrot and his many claimants. The character of the music, with its fast tempo and runs of many sixteenth notes, suggests that it was to accompany some violence or struggle. One might imagine then each of the women attempting to seize Pierrot and pull him to herself as her own, such that Pierrot feels as if he is being pulled apart in all directions. Indeed, in scene 7 of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot utters, “Here am I taken on both sides!” when only the two widows have first shown up. Some of the women might also attempt to push away their competitors in the hurley-burley and even fistfight, as the widows did earlier in scene 4.
Scene 10.1 (No. 17)
At the end of the foregoing scene, Favart has Pierrot cry out, “I’m a gonner! Godfather, come quick! The whole village wants to marry me whether I want to or not!” And then at the beginning of scene 12, the godfather appears and intervenes. Almost certainly, the slowish march in E flat major marked as no. 17 here but as no. 20 in the books, with a playing time of about one minute, was intended for his entrance in the corresponding scene in the ballet. The music suggests the movement of a somewhat lumbering even pompous figure. According to the key symbolism of the period, E flat major was typically associated with lofty characters or lofty feelings, and in a peasant village of a comic theatrical piece, the tabellion was the closest, more or less, that one could get to the sublime, as far as characters go. (The score contains no other piece in this particular key.)
One might imagine then that while the women are struggling over Pierrot, the tabellion comes on pompously, as if the proud representative of the law, and expresses outrage at what he sees, bangs his cane forcefully down on the floor a couple of times to draw attention to his presence, which stops the struggle. Perhaps Pierrot, relieved by the appearance of his godfather and released by the would-be claimants, would hasten over to him and stand close by as if safe there from any further female attacks. The tabellion might reprimand the woman for such disorderly conduct, with a dismissive gesture, as much as to say “No! Shame on you all!” The women might show variously embarrassment for such behavior, glum disappointment for failing to gain their man, and dudgeon over the tabellion’s interference in their private concerns. They might also adjust their clothing and hair, perhaps a little disheveled from the fight, as part of the regaining of composure.
The role of the tabellion would seem to have been sharply reduced in Gardel’s adaptation, shrunk to a kind of last-minute deus ex machina. Indeed, the role was given to a minor performer, apparently Gainetez, formally classed at the Opéra as a double (SP 1788: 17), who received no mention in the reviews, unlike the other soloists, which may reflect his minimal contribution to the plot. Such a reduction is quite understandable in a pantomimic adaptation. Up to this point in Favart, the tabellion has been largely nothing more than a sounding-board for other characters, giving them an excuse to speak about happenings and feelings. In pantomime, however, reported events need to be dramatized and feelings expressed physically, which then makes a character like the tabellion largely redundant. It is only in the lottery itself that he becomes necessary as a catalyst.
Scene 10.2 (No. 18)
In scene 12 of Favart, the tabellion enters and intervenes. The women continue stating their claims. Mathurine demands that the widows step aside and let the maidens have their chance, since the widows have already had a marriage. Pierrot asks that his godfather help settle this impossible situation. The tabellion asks the women to let Pierrot choose for himself. Mathurine, however, states that that would only create jealousies, and the matter should be settled by lots instead. The tabellion is then suddenly inspired by this suggestion and proposes a “love-lottery,” wherein “each of them will draw a ticket.” Since Pierrot is poor, the takings from the sale of tickets will serve as a kind of dowry. Each participant will pay five hundred livres, and the winner will get both Pierrot and the dowry. All of the women agree to this. (Thérèse, of course, is not present here.) Not understanding what the tabellion has in mind, Pierrot questions his godfather, who furtively dismisses the lad’s concerns but does not explain the plan. The tabellion tells the women to leave and get ready and then return in a timely fashion in order to “sign the conventions.” The women leave, but not without first caressing Pierrot.
It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to explain this clearly through gesture alone. It is very likely then that Gardel conveyed the idea of a lottery simply through the use of a large sign bearing a text along the lines of the following:
Price: 500 livres
The sign or placard could have been carried on by a couple of supernumeraries representing aged or married men or boys from the village and hung on part of the set, such as a tree or wall.
The use of displayed inscriptions as a workaround to explain situations not amenable to wordless pantomime was certainly known at this time. In the ballet Cendrillon, ou La pantoufle, the heralds announce the king’s intention to marry the woman whose foot can fit into the Cinderella’s left-behind slipper:
They unfurl a placard on which one can read: “Tout pied mignon peut monter sur le Trône; / Le plus petit obtiendra la Couronne” [Any dainty foot can go up to the throne; / [Only] the smallest will gain the crown’]. (1781: 7)
Gardel himself in fact made use of an inscription in Le premier navigateur (1785): “Cupid points out the boat to Daphnis, and on the sails are written these words: ‘Do not lack the heart to brave the element that keeps you from what is dear to you. Love will be your guide.’” This then was to communicate to the audience that Daphnis is to go off in a ship in search of his missing sweetheart. An inscription was also employed in Hilverding’s pantomime ballet La guirlande enchantée, in order to reveal the magical power of an enchanted garland: A sign mounted on a rock face reads, “the strength of these knots, the power of these flowers, / Fulfills all wishes and satisfies every heart.”
The music here (marked no. 21) is entitled “air lapon” (‘Lapp tune’). Since there are no Lapp characters in the story, this name must reflect the origin of the music, namely, a piece used in some other stage work in connection with the character of a Lapplander (or Saami, as one would call such an individual today). Lapp characters, however, were not common in French theatrical works, and I have not been able to find the source of the music. One possibility is that the melody may have appeared in the play Le Serrail à l’encan (sic), performed at the L’Ambigu-comique (a theater directed by Gardel’s father-in-law) in 1786, just months before the premier of Le coq. The plot of this ‘Seraglio at the Auction’ included a captive Lapp woman being sold in a slave market. Before being auctioned off, however, she finds fault with her potential buyers and cleverly manages to convince a judge in the group to buy her as a daughter, rather than as a concubine, and at the auction’s highest price. The extant text of the play does mention music for her, but the timbre for the vaudeville there refers to a different melody. It is possible, however, that the mentioned music was not actually used in performance. If Gardel’s “Air lapon” was indeed from this play, then the allusion would have been most apt: Through some clever maneuvering, Pierrot, like the Lapp woman, will be bring in a handsome sum of money without becoming the plaything of any owner.
Scene 11 (No. 19)
In the short thirteenth scene of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot and his godfather have a brief interchange. Pierrot, who is in the dark about what the tabellion secretly intends to do in the lottery, asks then, “What about Thérèse?” The godfather simply states, “I fear that that love will bring you misfortune.” Pierrot asserts that “if anyone means to given me someone else, then I’ll send everything to Hell!” Rather than enlightening him, the godfather merely says to him, “Don’t lose hope. The lot can still fall to her. Send her to me as soon as you see her, but take care that the aunts’ suspicions are not raised.” And Pierrot agrees to do so.
The music, marked no. 19 here but no. 22 in the books, is from Grétry’s comic opera Le tableau parlant, specifically the first two opening numbers. The lyrics from the first one are as follows:
Je suis jeune, je suis fille
On me trouve assez gentille
Je possède de quelque bien:
On me courtise, on me vante;
Je devrois être contente
Mais hélas il n’en est rien.
En secret mon cœur soupire,
J’entends bien ce qu’il veut dire,
Mais je n’en fais pas semblant,
La maudite bienséance
M’impose un cruel silence,
Quelle gène, quel tourment.
Scene 12.1 (No. 20)
In the tiny fourteenth scene of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot is left alone and sings about his predicament, swearing that if he does not get his sweetheart, he too will make “charivari, charivari” (‘hullabaloo,’ punning on the alternative meaning ‘the noisy banging of pots and pans as a mock serenade to a newly married couple’). He sees Thérèse coming but decides not to send her to his godfather straightaway, as instructed to do. Since Pierrot has already made clear more than once his unwillingness to be married off to anyone else but Thérèse, this scene is largely redundant in a pantomime. Indeed, even in the opera, it does not amount to much more than a brief transition between two scenes and an opportunity for the singer to have a short solo. It seems very likely that this scene would have been passed over in the ballet adaptation.
In Favart’s fifteenth scene, Thérèse enters. Pierrot tells her that as soon as he sees her, all his heartache vanishes. She asks what heartache he might have. He mentions again his predicament: “All the females here want me, but I want only you.” Thérèse feels flattered that despite all the offers of wealth, he preferred her over all the rest, even though she possesses merely love and innocence, and knowledge about how to tend flocks. Pierrot asserts that her beauty and thus her ability to please make her the rival of any of them. She asks if he has talked with the tabellion. Pierrot then tells her about the lottery and is happy about the thought of gaining all the takings. He at last mentions that his godfather wants to speak with her and that she too must participate in the lottery. Thérèse does not know that the lottery will be rigged. Imagining herself to be a person without much luck, she thinks that she will likely lose. And worse, she feels betrayed, believing that he will be content with whatever chance brings: “Without any consideration, you would have my heartfelt friendship depend on chance?” Despite Pierrot’s reassurances, she thinks any relationship with him is now hopeless, for there are simply too many obstacles. She tells him to forget her and asks that the nosegay she gave him be returned to her. He tells her that it was taken from him, and she retorts, “And you let it be taken!? I see now that you would not keep your affection any better.” She believes he does not love her. In leaving, she says that she is going to see the tabellion to tell him that she will have none of his lottery and will have nothing to do with such an unfaithful one as Pierrot.
The scene then consists of three basic parts: the expression of their happiness in being together; the news of the lottery, which upsets Thérèse; and the pair’s falling out, intensified by the revelation that Pierrot no longer has the nosegay she gave him as a token of her affection. The scene in the ballet appears to have played out over three pieces of music, each one for the three different parts just mentioned.
The music marked no. 20 here but no. 23 in the books is a gentle musette, a rather long piece lacking dramatic tension (with a playing time of over three minutes). As such, it is does not lend itself well to a scene of dramatic pantomime, and so it may well have been mainly accompaniment for a pas de deux for Pierrot and Thérèse, that is, an amatory one wherein their contentment in being in each other’s company is expressed, the essence of the first part of Favart’s scene.
Up to this point there does not appear to have been any dancing in the ballet, and a characteristic feature of Gardel’s pantomime ballets is that some dancing should appear at least once before a dance divertissement. In his La chercheuse d’esprit, for example, which like Le coq du village is a one-act comedy, nearly the same length, a pantomimic dance for Nicette is included in the first scene. And in his three-act Ninette à la cour, there is a solo for Ninette and a pantomimic dance for huntsmen in the first act, before the ballroom scene in the middle of the second act, with its dance divertissement.
The choice of a musette is also particularly apt in this context. Sulzer (1793: 3/457) states the form was characterized by “naive simplicity with a sweet charming melody” and that “it is invariably proper for naive rustic festivities, but it can be used with both noble pastoral characters as well as low peasant ones.” In short, the dance form is ideal for a pastoral scene painting the simple joys of rustic characters in love, such as Pierrot and Thérèse.
Scene 12.2 (No. 21)
The eight-bar grazioso piece marked no. 21 here but no. 24 in the books, is for a continuation of the scene corresponding to Favart’s fifteenth scene. It ends on the dominant creating a unresolved feeling. In light of the discussion in the foregoing section, this short bit of music was most likely for a change in Thérèse’s feelings, when she is told about the lottery. If the suggestion is correct that Gardel made use of a displayed placard announcing the lottery, then this may have been the moment when Thérèse first notices the sign and becomes aware of the lottery, which takes her aback.
Scene 12.3 (No. 22)
The music marked no. 22 here but no. 25 in the books appears to be for the third and final part of the counterpart to Favart’s fifteenth scene, as discussed above in connection with §12.1. It is therefore for the falling out of the pair. Most of the books have this music marked as “scherzando presto finale.” The “finale” almost certainly is meaningless here, reflecting, rather, the origin of the music.
Scene 13 (No. 23)
In the short sixteenth scene of Favart’s libretto, Pierrot, alone again, expresses his despair, for he thinks that he has lost Thérèse for good. “With my head hanging down, I’m going to go and throw myself in the river [and drown myself]. Oh, I will never see my shepherdess’s eyes again!” The music marked no. 23 here but no. 26 in the books, with a playing time of just over a minuet, has a certain melancholic tinge to it, making it quite suitable for such a scene.
Scene 14.1 (No. 24)
In the very short seventeenth scene of Favart’s libretto, the village women begin to assemble for the lottery draw; one girl beats a drum, as if to announce the event. The allegretto music marked no. 24 here but no. 27 in the books, with its 82 bars, would allow for a more extended scene of women gathering piecemeal, in all their excitement, each one hopeful of winning. Some might be recounting their money to make sure that they have enough to buy a ticket. In Favart, Pierrot does not exit at the end of the foregoing scene. If the same was followed in the ballet, then he would have been center of attention for the assembling women.
Scenes 14.2 (No. 25)
In Favart’s eighteenth scene, all of the main characters are on stage for the lottery except Gogo. Pierrot pleads one last time that his godfather spare him what he believes to be his undoing. The tabellion quietly tells Pierrot to trust him, unless he wishes to lose Thérèse for good. Pierrot then agrees to go along, apparently still in the dark about what his godfather is planning. And the tabellion instructs Thérèse quietly, “don’t be angry with Pierrot anymore, and do as I’ve told you to do.” It becomes apparent from the final scene that Thérèse and the tabellion did meet earlier, after she had her falling with Pierrot, and that the tabellion did explain his planned trickery to her. The tabellion then produces a hat with as many folded tickets in it as there are participants in the lottery. The women are to draw “according to rank,” with the younger before the older. As the draw proceeds, the widows are particularly pleased that no one yet has drawn the winning ticket. When it is Thérèse’s turn to draw, she refuses, apparently as part of the plan. The tabellion pleads with her, as does Pierrot. Madame Froment intervenes saying “she doesn’t want to; leave it at that.” But the tabellion insists that this arrangement was agreed upon and must be followed. Froment and Rapé then tell her to obey the tabellion. She gives in but after drawing the ticket, she refuses to open it to see if she has won and then “rips it up with her teeth.” The question of a redraw comes up, but when the tabellion tells the widows that their chances of winning would be then be less, the widows agree to continue. Since Rapé is younger than Froment, she is the first of the two to draw but fails to pull out the winning ticket. Froment laughs at her loss. Since there is only one ticket left in the hat now, and since no one seems to have yet drawn the winning ticket, Froment thinks that she is the winner and gloats about it until she draws a blank as well. Everyone now thinks Thérèse drew the winning ticket, which she ripped up before anyone could see if it was the black winning ticket. Pierrot then declares his love for Thérèse before all, singing to her that “mistaken suspicion frightened you off. My love for you is true.” Thérèse then declares: “If my aunts agree, I will marry you.” The tabellion hastens to add that “they must agree.”
This scene appears to have unfolded over several pieces of music in the ballet (nos. 25-30). The music marked no. 25 here but no. 28 in the books would seem to be for a scene wherein the tabellion collects money from the women participating in the lottery. In Favart this action is done off stage and merely reported, but in a pantomime, this would need to be shown. (The music is annotated with “Pas de Deux,” but this need not mean anything other than the title of the piece in musical source; indeed, it is hard to see how a real pas de deux could be incorporated into the middle of a scene which constitutes the dramatic climax of the story.)
Scene 14.3 (No. 26)
The music marked no. 26 here but no. 30 in the books was apparently for the first part of the draw, wherein the younger women draw blank tickets (from a hat according to Favart’s libretto). The music is labeled contredanse or contredanse nouvelle in the books, almost certainly reflecting the origin of the music and not the use in the ballet.
Scene 14.4 (No. 27)
The twenty-bar piece of allegro music marked no. 27 but no. 31 in the books would seem to be for the part of the scene wherein Thérèse is forced to draw, but feigning anger, she simply rips up the slip without opening it.
Scene 14.5 (No. 28)
The minuet marked no 28 but no. 32 in the books would seem to be for Rapé’s turn to draw.
Scene 14.6 (No. 29)
The trio to the minuet, marked no. 29 here but no. 33 in the books, would seem to be for Froment’s draw. She thinks that she has won, since no other slip appears to have produced the winning black mark and there is only one slip left to draw.
Scene 14.7 (No. 30)
The return to the minuet of no. 28 but with repeats this time (marked no 30 here but no. 34 in the books) is apparently for the part of the scene wherein Thérèse is now thought to have drawn the winning ticket, since all the other slips were blank and hers was never opened.
Scene 15 (No. 31)
In the nineteenth and final scene of Favart’s libretto, Gogo enters and interrupts the conclusion of the draw. “Not so fast. I object to this. Everything that monsieur the tabellion has done here is false. I have been looking for my aunt and mother to tell them about the trickery.” She explains that “there are only white tickets in this lottery. He said to my cousin, “Thérèse, pretend to be still angry with Pierrot and rip up the ticket that you draw without opening it, so that everyone thinks that you drew the black one. [. . .] They didn’t know that I was eavesdropping.” Froment demands a redraw, but Gogo states that “no, no, I am the one who is marrying Pierrot. He belongs to me, in truth.” When pressed to explain herself, she reveals that “he took my nosegay from me, really.” She tells the story that her father had to marry her mother because he had taken her bouquet. Froment then tells Gogo to be off, the latter grumbling as she leaves that “it’s not fair that I can’t do what you did.” Some of the women then demand a redraw. Pierrot objects, swearing that he’s keeping Thérèse, and “if anyone wants to fight about it still, I will go so far away that no one will ever see me again!” The tabellion reassures him: “Fear not, Pierrot. I have their signatures, and the thousands of francs that they have put in go to Thérèse.” The widows are greatly put out. Froment says, “let them marry, but I never want to see their faces again.” And Mathurine concedes, “better Thérèse have him than no body at all.” The tabellion then invites Pierrot and Thérèse to go and get married.
The allegro music marked no. 31 here but no. 35 in the books, which almost certainly was to accompany this scene, was apparently to be preceded by a drum roll, presumably to mark a dramatic interrupting entrance by Gogo. In basso book no. 7 (MAT 18.71 (34) p. 28), there is annotation “roulement de tambour” right before this number, although no other books mentions the same.
The idea of a rigged lottery was perhaps partly conveyed Gogo taking a finger to her nose, a gesture attested elsewhere in eighteenth-century pantomimic dance to indicate “I sense something’s up!” or “I’m in the know about some secret.” This would presumably have been accompanied with a gesture to the tabellion, the author of the rigged draw. That Thérèse’s slip did not bear the winning black mark would have been easily shown by Gogo picking up the torn pieces and showing them to everyone.
Scene 16 (No. 32)
In Favart, the lads who have gone off to fight do not return. In fact, they do not appear anywhere in the opera and are more or less forgotten after the passing mention of them in the first scene. Group dances of this period, however, were typically designed according to the principle of symmetry, with a corps de ballet equally divided between the two sexes, so that male-female couples could be formed. This is apparent not only from cast lists of dancers for various works but also from all the corps dances found in Ferrère. A final divertissement in a pantomime ballet with only a female corps would thus have been most usual. It is highly likely then that Gardel brought the lads back for the final dances. Interestingly enough, Friedrich Justin Bertuch’s German version of Favart’s libretto, entitled das große Los (1774, Berlin), which was set to music by Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, introduced this very change. The appearance of a march marked maestoso and fièrement (‘proudly’) here in the ballet even on its own suggests a martial return. In fact, the JP review states that a change to the plot by Gardel “makes the dénouement much more natural than in the play” by Favart. The return of the village men would mean that the women no longer have to fight over Pierrot, now that the village has been filled with lads again. This would, indeed, fully resolve the story’s complication and produce a more “natural” or convincing dénouement than having the women simply resign themselves to the union of Pierrot and Thérèse, as Favart has them do. One might imagine that whatever military conflict there was in the background to the story has been settled, and the young men return proud of their victory (cf. fièrement). This would be cause for a triple celebration: the union of Pierrot and Thérèse, the return of the men, and the news of a victory. And a march of soldiers onto the stage would also contribute greatly to producing an ending with much spectacle. The presence of a pompous march here and the reference to Gardel’s more “natural” dénouement in the JP review are hard to explain otherwise.
Dance 1 (No. 33)
The first part of this piece may have in fact started with a bit of pantomime, with the lads and lasses mixing and quickly finding partner.
Dance 2 (No. 34)
This appears to have been at least partly for soloistic dancing. Viola book no.1 (p. 33) has “Mlle Miller” written at top of the page which has this music. Miller, along with Hiligsberg and Langlois, played the parts of Mathurine, Babet and Collette.
Dance 3 (No. 35)
This sequence of two minuets was likely a burlesque dance for the two widows.
Dance 4 (No. 36)
Dance 5 (No. 37)
Dance 6 (No. 38)
Dance 7 (No. 39)
This was almost certainly for a final contredanse générale. It would seem that two bars would need to be treated as one choreographically.