powered by FreeFind


Monsieur Beaucaire

mbA Romantic Opera in 3 Acts: Music by Andre Messager, lyrics by Adrian Ross and book by Frederick Lonsdale, based on the story by Booth Tarkington.

Prince's Theatre, London, - 19th April 1919.



The musical is set in Bath in the early 18th Century, opening with a song by the servants of the French Ambassador. Monsieur Beaucaire, apparently a barber in the service of the French Ambassador, is, in reality, the Duc d'Orleans, the son of the King of France, a fact only known to his valet and his friend, Molyneux. He has just been forcibly ejected from the pump rooms for pretending to be a gentleman. He is in love with Lady Mary Carlisle, who is herself courted by the Duke of Winterset.

A number of gentlemen arrive at Beaucaire's house to play cards, losing most of their money to him. In the second round, Beaucaire plays Winterset for high stakes. At the climax of the hand, Beaucaire exposes Winterset as a cheat. When Winterset goes to kill his opponent, Beaucaire reveals that they are observed by his servants and the noble Molyneux. As the price of Beaucaire's silence, Winterset takes him to Lady Rellerton's ball to introduce him to Lady Mary.

The scene changes to the ball at Lady Rellerton's. Molyneux is in love with Lady Mary's cousin Lucy and wishes to woo her. Lady Mary enters, followed shortly by Winterset and Beaucaire. Beaucaire charms the company, and Lady Mary asks to be left alone with him. He begs the rose in her hair. She says that he must earn it by escorting the aged Countess of Greenbury to supper.

To get revenge, Winterset persuades Captain Badger, a famous swordsman, to quarrel with Beaucaire, who challenges him to a duel. They fight on the terrace and, to everyone's surprise, it is Beaucaire who is victorious. He takes the old Countess into supper and receives his rose from Lady Mary


Act 2 is set at a 'Pastoral Fete' at Mr Bantison's house outside Bath. Lady Mary is still smitten with Monsieur Beaucaire, although Richard 'Beau' Nash is convinced that he would have been a rival fifteen years ago.

Lucy gives a lesson in wooing to two of Mary's unhappy suitors. Lucy finally gets Molyneux alone, and to get him to promise to hers alone for the evening, when he is summoned away by Beaucaire. Lucy accuses him of going to another woman. He defends his honour before leaving.
The summons is a trick of Winterset. Once Molyneux has gone, he exposes Beaucaire's disguise. Townbrake and the other men swear revenge on the impostor, who is currently wooing Lady Mary. One by one the men attack and are all wounded. An assault by the massed servants of his opponents threatens to defeat Beaucaire when Francois and his fellow servants join in the battle and repulse the attackers. Winterset then denounces Beaucaire as the barber who was thrown out of the pump room. Beaucaire curtly admits this, making Lady Mary storm off. The reason for his reticence is then revealed: Beaucaire is seriously wounded.


A week passes. It has been announced that the French Ambassador will attend the pump room that evening, and Beau Nash has placed guards to prevent Beaucaire from attending.

Molyneux is still having trouble with Lucy, but manages to convince her to arrange a secret meeting between Mary and Beaucaire. Beaucaire explains the situation to her, and asks if the identity of a lover truly matters? Lady Mary agrees.

Winterset and his followers now make a dramatic entrance, but before anything can happen, the entrance of the Ambassador is announced. Everyone is amazed when the Ambassador enters and kneels to the presumed barber, hailing him 'A Son of France'. The King of France is dead, and, out of danger, Beaucaire reveals himself as the Duke of Orleans and announces that Mary will be his future Duchess. There is general rejoicing.


Musical Numbers

  1. Opening Chorus
  2. Red Rose
  3. Going to the Ball
  4. The Beaux and Belles of Bath
  5. A Little More
  6. Come with Welcome
  7. Lightly, Lightly
  8. No Offence
  9. Finale Act I
  10. Pastoral Fete
  11. When I Was King of Bath
  12. That's a Woman's Way
  13. Philomel *
  14. Honour and Love
  15. Say no more
  16. Finale Act II
  17. The Ambassador
  18. The Honours of War
  19. 'We Are Not Speaking Now
  20. Under the Moon
  21. What are Names?
  22. Way for the Ambassador
  23. A Son of France
  24. Finale Act III

* The song "Gold and Blue and White" was originally sung by Beaucaire in place of "Philomel".