Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités


Helen abandons Menelaus, her dolt of a husband, and goes to live with Paris, Prince of Troy, which leads to the ten year siege of the Trojan capital. During the siege we meet Calchas, the Soothsayer saying the sooth, Menelaus wearing a small bowler hat, Juno and Minerva squabbling over the Golden Apple, Orestes and Pylades wearing tights, an over-worked Mercury muddling his messages, a limping Achilles, a black-bearded Agamemnon., and, of course, a veritable troupe of Mr Cochran’s young ladies.

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This was an updated revision of Offenbach’s “La Belle Helene”, first performed in Paris in 1864 and in London in 1866. The re-written version was a parody of the original, which was itself a parody of Homer’s poem. As such it did not please everyone, with some finding it “too silly for words”. However, all agreed it had spectacular scenery and costumes and superb dancing - though some felt it was more a variety show and revue rather than a musical comedy.


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