A significant place in the repertoire of the St. Petersburg Opera is taken by the cycle called “Operetta in the Opera House”. One of the rare gems of this genre is the work of Robert Planquette “Les cloches de Corneville” (The Bells of Corneville).
The premiere of “The Bells of Corneville” in 1877 was a sensational success, the operetta withstood more than four hundred performances in Paris, after which it began its triumphal march around the world, the audience enthusiastically received it in London and even in New York City.
The popularity of “The Bells of Corneville” was ensured by the romantic plot and, of course, the music. The multicolored palette of the score contained dance rhythms, spectacular ensemble numbers, sparkling couplets and extended arias. Catchy melodies instantly scattered, they were played everywhere: from aristocratic salons to organ grinders on the streets... However, today Planquette’s operetta has become an undeservedly forgotten rarity, which inspired the theatre's artistic director Yuri Alexandrov to bring it back from oblivion.
“Honestly, it's a mystery to me why Planquette's work is now so rarely performed on stage, because the melodic material is divine, each number is unique... And the plot! An infinitely beautiful story about an eighteenth-century girl and a prince who turned her life upside down ... There is everything: noble heroes, ancient haunted castles and even the dramatic line of a father who looks like the main character of Pushkin's “The Covetous Knight”... Our performance is a luxurious fairy tale for adults, for everyone who wants to escape from everyday life, plunge into beauty and dream... ”, Yuri Alexandrov says.