Coups de roulis
Coups de roulis is an opérette in three acts with music by André Messager
André Messager
André Charles Prosper Messager , was a French composer, organist, pianist, conductor and administrator. His stage compositions included ballets and 30 opéra comiques and operettas, among which Véronique, had lasting success, with Les p'tites Michu and Monsieur Beaucaire also enjoying international...

 and a French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 libretto by Albert Willemetz
Albert Willemetz
Albert Willemetz was a French librettist.Albert Willemetz was a prolific lyricist. He invented a new type of musical, with a humorous and "sexy" style...

, based on the 1925 novel by Maurice Larrouy.

Performance history

Coups de roulis was first performed at Théâtre Marigny
Théâtre Marigny
The Théâtre Marigny is a theatre in Paris, situated near the junction of the Champs-Élysées and the Avenue Marigny, in the 8th arrondissement. It was originally built to designs of the architect Charles Garnier for the display of a panorama, which opened in 1883...

, Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, on 29 September 1928.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,
29 September 1928
(Conductor: -)
Puy Pradal baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Raimu was the stage name for the French actor Jules Auguste Muraire .-Biography:Born in Toulon in the Var département, he made his stage debut there in 1899. After coming to the attention of the then great music hall star Félix Mayol who was also from Toulon, in 1908 he was given a chance to work...

Gerville, ship’s captain bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Pierre Magnier
Kermao, lieutenant baritone Robert Burnier
Pinson, matelot ordonnance baritone Gustave Nellson
Béatrice soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Marcelle Denya
Sola Myrrhis soprano Maguy Warna
Vice Admiral of Saint Mesmin Marcel Carpentier
Bellory, steward Jean Deiss
Muriac, doctor D’ary Brissac
Haubourdin, lieutenant Guillet
Blangy, ship’s engineer Antony
Subervielle, officer Valette
Le Kerec, quarter-master Ed. Rousseau


Act I : On board the battleship ‘Montesquieu’

With Christmas imminent, the crew of the battleship ‘Montesquieu’ are hoping to spend their leave with families or girlfriends before going on manoeuvres in the Mediterranean.
The deputy Puy-Pradal is leading a parliamentary commission of enquiry on board. Arriving on the 20th of December, he upsets everyone’s plans and all on board are forced to prepare to set sail. Puy-Pradal arrives with his secretary – his daughter Béatrice – and once on board he displays his complete ignorance of marine law, and commits endless blunders. Béatrice meanwhile is courted by Gerville, the commander of the ‘Montesquieu’ and by the young and handsome lieutenant Kermao.

Act II : Cairo

During the stop at Cairo, Puy-Pradal throws a grand official party with dancing, during which the actress Sola Myrrhis appears. She is determined to become a member of the Comédie Française and in Puy-Pradal sees someone who can help her, and seduces him without much trouble. Alone together Béatrice and Kermao swear their love. The officer goes to find his commander to ask him to intercede with Puy-Pradal to allow him to marry his daughter. Gerville knows all too well that his feelings have no chance against those of Kermao but Puy-Pradal won’t hear of anyone other than Gerville becoming his son-in-law.
Puy-Pradal is falling for Sola Myrrhis ; he entrusts his daughter to Gerville and interrupts his mission so as to accompany the young artist on her Egyptian tour, planning to rejoin the ‘Montesquieu’ later on.

Act III : On board the ‘Montesquieu’

After three months of honeymoon and travel, Puy-Pradal and Sola re-embark on the ‘Montesquieu’. Béatrice is angry about her father’s liaison and tries to find someone to open her father’s eyes to what he is doing. Kermao agrees but is surprised by Puy-Pradal with Sola ; the deputy breaks off with the actress. Béatrice complains that Kermao was embracing Sola and refuses to speak to him. Gerville reconciles the lovers and manages to convince Puy-Pradal to give his consent to their marriage. Sola Myrrhis will join the Comédie Française, as the deputy has found her talent to be absolutely right. Puy-Pradal, however, learns that he is to be part of a ministerial re-shuffle.


A 1931 Jean de la Cour film of the piece was released in May 1932 with Edith Manet (Béatrice), Max Dearly (Puy-Pradal), Lucienne Herval (Sola Myrrhis), Pierre Magnier (Gerville), Roger Bourdin
Roger Bourdin
Roger Bourdin was a French baritone, particularly associated with the French repertory. His career was largely based in France.- Life and career :...

 (Kermao), Germaine Roger (Betty), Robert Darthez (Bellory), Hubert Daix (the doctor), Henri Levêque (Haubourdin), Pierre Clarel (Pinson), Robert Brummel, Jacques Erwin (officers).


Various excerpts were recorded in 1928 and 1932 including some by members of the original cast.

Coups de Roulis was recorded in full and released in October 1963 with the Chorale Lyrique and Orchestre Lyrique de l'O.R.T.F.
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française was the French national public broadcasting organization established on 9 February 1949 to replace the post-war "Radiodiffusion Française" , which had been founded in 1945...

conducted by Marcel Cariven, with Lina Dachary, Claudine Collart, Gaston Rey, Aimé Doniat, Jacques Pruvost and René Lenoty.
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