Le prince troubadour

Le prince troubadour, ou Le grand trompeur des dames (The Troubadour Prince, or The Great Deceiver of Ladies) is an opera by the French composer Étienne Méhul. It takes the form of an opéra comique in one act. It premiered at the Opéra-Comique, Paris on 24 May 1813. The libretto is by Alexandre Duval.[1] The work was not a great success and only enjoyed 13 performances in 1813. According to Arthur Pougin, its failure contributed to Méhul's growing depression and his sense that he was the victim of a conspiracy by his enemies.[2]

Méhul in 1799 – portrait by Antoine Gros


Role Voice type[3] Premiere Cast
Guillaume IX, Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine haute-contre Paul Dutreck, called 'Paul'
Bérenger de Grand Manoir, Guillaume's troubadour baritone[4] Jean-Blaise Martin
Baron de la Touraille basse-taille (bass-baritone) Mr. Darancourt
Mademoiselle Babolein de la Touraille, the baron's daughter soprano Marie Desbrosses
Laurette, the baron's grand-daughter and niece of Mademoiselle Babolein soprano Alexandrine-Marie-Agathe Ducamel, called Mme Gavaudan
The seneschal of the fiefdom of Touraille basse taille Mr. Juliet[5]
Chorus: Squires vassals etc.


  1. ^ Bartlet, p.xiv
  2. ^ Pougin, p.321-322
  3. ^ According to the printed score clefs.
  4. ^ Martin was a high baritone and gave rise to a new type of French light baritone, called 'baryton-Martin' after him. However, having the baritone clef fallen into disuse at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, the part of Bérenger is notated, as usual, in the bass clef.
  5. ^ Probably Antoine Juillet (1755–1825), called Juliet père, but in 1813 also his son Marcel Jean Antoine (1789–1841), called Juliet fils, was a member of the company.


  • Printed score: Le Prince Troubadour//Opéra-comique en un Acte//Paroles//de Mr. Alexandre Duval//Membre de l'Institut//Musique//de Mr. Méhul//Membre de l'Institut, Paris, Frey, s.d. (accessible for free onlite at Gallica - B.N.F.
  • Adélaïde de Place Étienne Nicolas Méhul (Bleu Nuit Éditeur, 2005)
  • Arthur Pougin Méhul: sa vie, son génie, son caractère (Fischbacher, 1889)
  • General introduction to Méhul's operas in the introduction to the edition of Stratonice by M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet (Pendragon Press, 1997)