Thursday, December 09, 2004


At the Paris Light Opera Works (Paris, Illinois), soprano Helen LaBelle tells Artistic Administrator Janeane that she carries a torch for producer/director Guy Carteblanche. Carteblanche’s ideas of romance, however, have been shaped by his fixation with the trappings of the French stage – He is unable to love a woman unless he must first woo her away from an insanely jealous Latin lover! To land Carteblanche, LaBelle enlists the help of the zealous tenor Brad Shillwell, who poses as her explosive Brazilian beau, Don Diego Zarzuela. Meanwhile, Helen’s lusty soprano rival, Caresse Decolletage, seeks to unravel their charade and seduce Don Diego in the process.

As the dueling sopranos rehearse a production of Pierre Debacle’s Le Grande Chanteuse du Alsace Lorraine, Brad/Don Diego pursues Guy through the opera house, whipping him into a romantic fervor. Brad and Helen’s ruse is accidently uncovered, but Guy is so impressed by the lengths to which Helen has gone to pique his interest, that he falls madly in love, and gives Brad the role he wanted in Chanteuse, while the put-upon Janeane tricks Caresse into heading to Brazil to star in a non-existent production of the same piece. Pleased with the outcome, the ensemble sings a pæan to their chaotic lives and to opera-bouffe itself.