Asmodée, ou La Philosophie du Díable

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Asmodée, ou La Philosophie du Díable is a French opéra-comique[1] in five acts, by an anonymous author.

The original text and possible sources

It is referred to in the advert as "het niewe stuk" ("the new piece"), but no text or reference to a French play by precisely this name can be found. It is most likely to have been an adaptation of one of a number of plays about the character of the "limping devil"[2].

A French text, Le Diable Boiteux ("the lame or limping devil"), by D'Ancourt and featuring "Asmodée,", appeared as early as 1707, published by Thomas Amaulry, 1707.

Bosman (1928, p. 129) suggests that this may possibly have been a French translation of Asmodeus der Krumme Teufel ("Asmodeus the lame or limping devil"), a three act opera comique[3] by Joseph Felix von Kurz (1717-1784)[4], with music by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)[5].

This work had started life as Der Krumme Teufel ("The Lame Devil" or "The Limping Devil"), a Singspiel[6] in two acts by Kurz and Haydn - possibly based on the D'Ancourt version of 1707(?). This was first performed ca. 1751, but banned after 2 performances, but was performed again in 1752, and a revised version, Der Neue Krumme Teufel ("The Return of the Lame Devil" or literally "The New Limping Devil"), was performed in 1757 or 1758, and published ca. 1760. Another revised, three act, version - now entitled Asmodeus der Krumme Teufel - was then written by Von Kurz, published and printed by Johann Thomas Edlen von Trattnern, in 1770.

A third, very likely, candidate text may have been Les Effets de la Haine et de la Constance, ou Asmodée Diable Boîteux ("the effects of hatred and constancy, or Asmodée the devil on two sticks"), a comic "Opéra-Féerie" in prose and three acts. Inspired by the 1707 comic novel of the same name, written by Alain-René Lesage (1668–1747)[7]. The play was written by Verteuil L'Aîné with music composed by Guillmino, and was first performed by Les Comédiens de Toulouse (also in Marseille), in 1777 and published in 1779.

South African performances

1811: Performed in Cape Town as Asmodée, ou La Philosophie du Díable on 15 July by the teacher François Agron with his young students (under 14 years of age), and billed as a "new piece".


Facsimile version of Le Diable Boiteux by D'Ancourt, Google E-Book[8]

Facsimile version of Asmodeus der Krumme Teufel by Kurtz, the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek[9]

Facsimile version of Les Effets de la Haine et de la Constance, ou Asmodée Diable Boîteux, BnF Gallica[10]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [11]: pp. p. 129

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