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Giroflé-Girofla is a French opéra bouffe[1] in three acts, composed by Charles Lecocq (1832-1918)[2], with a libretto by Albert Vanloo (1846-1920)[3] and Eugène Leterrier (1843-1884)[4].

The original text

Set in 13th century Spain, the play concerns twin brides, one of whom is abducted by pirates. The other twin poses as both brides until the first is rescued.

First presented at the Théâtre des Fantaisies Parisiennes, Brussels, on 21 March 1874, it played in French at the Opera Comique, London, from 6 June 1874, and Paris later the same year, followed by performances throughout Europe, in the Americas and Australia. Revived several times up till the early 20th century.

Translations and adaptations

An English version, with a libretto adapted by Clement O'Neil (fl. 1870s) and Campbell Clarke (1845-1902)[5], had its first production at the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, London, on 3 October 1874

Performance history in South Africa

1887: Performed in the Opera House, Cape Town, by the Searelle Opera Company, under the auspices of the Wheeler Brothers as part of a large repertoire of musicals and operas performed over the course of eight months.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.385

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