L'Etoile (Lucky Star)

**** Telegraph – Rupert Christiansen

“Absolute joy” Seen and Heard International

“The first night crackled with energy, lighting up a cold night with true Gallic joie-de vivre.” Sussex Express

“Saw it last night, totally charming, inventive and delightful. And SO well played and sung. What a masterpiece.”    Jeremy Sams

Emmanuel Chabrier

Opéra-Bouffe in three acts
Libretto by Eugène Leterrier & Albert Vanloo
English version by Jeremy Sams

November 2013
Lewes Town Hall
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
Chequer Mead, East Grinstead
Cadogan Hall, London SW1

NSO Chorus & Children’s Chorus
St Paul’s Sinfonia
conductor Nicholas Jenkins
director Susannah Waters
designer Nicola Blackwell

King Ouf Neil Jenkins
Siroco Geoffrey Moses
Laoula Stephanie Corley
Lazuli Katie Bray
Hérisson de Porc Epic Paul Curievici
Alouès Rachel Shouksmith
Tapioca Ted Schmitz
Oasis Laura Whitbread
Asphodèle Rachel Taylor
Youaka Nisha Macintyre-Burnie
Adza Sarah-Jane Howe
Zinnia Hilary Jane Andrews
Koukouli Kate Mander  
Patacha John Newman
Zalzal Lawrence Gillians
The Mayor Richard Pulham
Chief of Police David Swinhoe

The duet which brought the young Debussy close to an apoplexy of joy. Neil Jenkins (King Ouf) and Geoffrey Moses (the court astrologer Siroco).


Chabrier’s sparkling  operetta, ‘L’étoile, was renamed for this production as Lucky Star.

Our director Susannah Waters set the tale of a despot intent on executing someone as part of his birthday celebrations in a sinister totalitarian state. Children played the role of Young Pioneers, bossing the terrified, flag-waving adult workers around, and  chalking up elements of the set onto blackboards at the beginning of each scene. Rupert Christiansen in the Telegraph gave us four stars and described it as ‘pleasant as a warm, soapy bath’.

Reviewing the same opera  performed in 2016 by the Royal Opera House Rupert Christiansen compared their production with ours and proclaimed: “Some two years ago, I relished New Sussex Opera’s low-budget, semi-staged, pro-am bash at Chabrier’s delicious operetta L’étoile to such an extent that I expressed a desire to see a full-dress, bells-and-whistles production. Well, the wizards at Covent Garden waved their wands and granted me what I wanted. And lo, I didn’t enjoy myself half so much”.

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