La Périchole, 2012
La Périchole Naomi O'Connell
Piquillo Robert Murray
Don Andrès de Ribeira Geoffrey Dolton
Le Comte Miguel de Panatellas Mark Wilde
Guadalena Jennifer Rhys-Davies
Berginella Diana Montague
Mastrilla Fiona Kimm
Conductor David Parry
Director Jeremy Sams
Designer Francis O'Connor
Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Don Pedro de Hinoyosa, governor of Lima, is lurking in the vicinity of the popular Three Cousins bar, disguised as a vegetable seller. He is attempting to ascertain whether the locals are properly enthusiastic in their support for the Viceroy of Peru. A passing sandwich seller is in fact Panatellas, First Lord of the Bedchamber, keeping an eye on the Viceroy, who is disguised as a doctor, mingling with the crowd to find out what people really think of his administration.
The three cousins who run the Three Cousins, along with everyone else, see through the disguises and have anyway been bribed to make flattering remarks about the Viceroy, who despairs of finding anyone who will give a frank opinion.
Two street entertainers, Piquillo and La Périchole, sing to entertain the crowd but fail to make any money. They are ravenously hungry and haven’t even got enough to pay for a longed-for marriage licence. Périchole is too exhausted to carry on.
The Viceroy is infuriated to discover that the man who he hoped might give him an honest answer is Panatellas in disguise. He is delighted to hear Périchole complaining bitterly about a country in which she can’t even get something to eat and falls in love with her on the spot, promising to make her a lady-in-waiting at his court.
Périchole refuses to believe the assertion of a lecherous doctor hanging around a bar that he is in fact the Viceroy of Peru. Eventually, the Viceroy thinks of a way to prove himself and makes Périchole join with him in shouting ‘Down with the Viceroy!’. The immediate response of Don Pedro and Panatellas does the trick.
Périchole is a pragmatic girl, and a hungry one. She agrees to go with the Viceroy and starts to scribble a note of explanation for Piquillo. Pedro and Panatellas discover that the Viceroy intends to take Périchole to court and install her in the apartment once belonging to the royal mistress. They object to this and quote a law that states that the apartment can only be inhabited by a married woman.
The Viceroy is undeterred and orders his men to find an insignificant husband for Périchole in order to fulfill the letter of the law. Périchole writes to explain to Piquillo that she still loves him but for the moment food must take priority. She leaves the note and some money given to her by Don Andrès with the three cousins. Then she sets off in pursuit of the dinner she has been promised.
The three cousins decide it would be better to keep the money for themselves but they give Piquillo the note. He is broken-hearted: his beloved Périchole has abandoned him and there is nothing left to live for. His attempts to kill himself are inadvertently foiled by Panatellas who decides he is the ideal candidate for the token marriage.
Everyone is in need of a drink to help matters along. The Viceroy comes to get wine for Périchole, to help her get over her objections to a marriage of a convenience. Panatellas attempts to console Piquillo and steady his resolve and Don Pedro goes to find some lawyers to perform the ceremony. By the time the wedding gets underway, all participants are distinctly the worse for wear. Périchole refuses to be married until she realizes that Piquillo is her intended husband. Piquillo is so drunk that he doesn’t recognize her but swears that he will never love his new wife as his heart is already given.
At the Viceroy’s palace, his courtier Tarapote and several ladies-in-waiting have been disturbed by the drunken late- night singing of Périchole. Piquillo awakes to find himself in a place he doesn’t recognize, surrounded by courtiers who help him to remember the events of the night before.
Panatellas and Don Pedro had promised him a large sum of money so that he can leave town and go in search of his beloved Périchole. He must do one thing for them first however: present his wife to the Viceroy in a formal ceremony. Piquillo agrees but is stunned when the wife turns out to be his own Périchole. He is furious and refuses to believe her when she says that she is not the Viceroy’s mistress. He denounces her publicly and is dragged off to the Gaol for Uncooperative Husbands.
Périchole attempts to smuggle Piquillo out of gaol but is rumbled and clapped in irons herself.
The Viceroy is lured to the prison cell by Périchole’s singing and, with the help of another prisoner, she and Piquillo manage to escape.
Panatellas leads the search party but gets diverted via the Three Cousins. The Viceroy is enraged by their incompetence. Unexpectedly, Périchole, Piquillo and the helpful prisoner reappear, in their street entertainer guise, and sing the song of The Clemency of Augustus or How the Guilty were Rewarded when they Might Otherwise have been Punished, and Périchole offers to return to the Viceroy the jewels and money he has given her. He is obliged to admit defeat.