La Mascotte

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La Mascotte (The Mascot) is an opéra comique composed by Edmond Audran (1840-1901)[1] with a French libretto by Alfred Duru (1829-1889)[2] and Henri Chivot (1830-1897)[3].

The original text

It tells of a farm girl who is believed to bring good luck to whoever possesses her, so long as she remains a virgin. The title as translated into English initiated the use of the word mascot in the English language to mean an animal, human, or thing which brings luck.

First performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens in Paris on 29 December 1880.

Translations and adaptations

The libretto was translated into English (but retaining the French title) by H.B. Farnie (1836-1889)[4] and Robert Reece (1838-1891)[5], and staged at Abbey's Park Theatre in New York City on 5 May 1881, with music by Audran, and then in Brighton, England on 19 September the same year.

Performance history in South Africa

1887: Performed in English as La Mascotte in the Opera House Cape Town by the Searelle Opera Company, as part of their repertoire while on an 8 month tour of the country under the auspices of the Wheeler Brothers, with a young tenor named Mr Douglas as "Prince Frittellini".

1893: Performed in the Opera House Cape Town by the Lyric Opera Company of Edgar Perkins and A. Bonamici, as part of their repertoire while touring the country at the time.

1903: Performed as La Mascotte on tour in South Africa by the Royal Australian Opera Company under the management of the Wheeler Company from May to October. Among the performers were Dan O'Connor and Gertie Campion. The itinerary included the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town (in May) and His Majesty's Theatre, Johannesburg (from 11 July to some time in October)

1907: Performed three times in Pretoria at the Empress Theatre by Onze Taal, possibly twice in the original French and once in English, the latter as a gala performance at the request of Lord Selbourne, the British High Commissioner.


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 1923. (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: pp. 385-6, 398, 414, 438 and 484.

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