Cover to Studio Cast RecordingVéronique

Libretto by Albert Vanloo, Georges Duval; Music by André Messager;
Presented at the Bouffes-Parisiens, 10 Dec 1898; rev. London


Act I

In the florist Coquenard's shop. Crippled with debts, Vicomte Florestan de Valincourt risks prison, short of marrying a rich heiress. King Louis-Philippe himself is to act as a witness at his wedding to a young girl from the provinces, Helene de Solanges. She happens to come into this very shop and, unseen, overhears a conversation which reveals to her that her betrothed is also the lover of the winsome florist's wife, and that without having met Helen he is going to marry her for her money. She decides to play a trick on him. Dressed as a working girl, she has herself and her aunt, Ermerance de Champ d'Azur, taken on as shop-girls at Coquenard's; they take for the duration the names of Estelle and Veronique. To take leave of his bachelorhood Florestan invites everyone to Romainville.

Act II

At Romainville. Helene/Veronique has succeeded in charming Florestan, though he finds this simple working-girl very shy. As for Aunt Ermerance, she finds M. Coquenard not unprepossessing; as well as being a florist he's a Captain in the National Guard. After a donkey-ride and a turn on a swing (pretexts for two exceptionally famous duets) Helene/Veronique ends up causing Florestan serious worries, since he doubts if his unknown fiancee can be as attractive as this delightful young woman. Veronique finally runs away, leaving the young man a farewell letter, which saddens him.


At the Tuileries. Ermerance is thinking nostalgically of her shopkeeper hero. Helene impatiently awaits the moment when she will be introduced to her future husband. She has learned that he has been in prison, and to get him released has paid off his debts. Once free, and face-to-face with his future wife, Florestan realizes he has been fooled. Agathe Coquenard makes fun of him before returning to her flowers. A good sport, he admits he was in the wrong. Not long till the wedding.

MICHEL PAROUTY Translation: Hugh Graham


Studio cast recording starring Mady Mesplé and Michel Dens - EMI Classics - 7243 5 74073 2 8