Les Deux Aveugles (1855) by Offenbach
Le Compositeur toqué (1854) by Hervé
It might be hard to believe that one-act operas and operettas represent almost two-thirds of the repertory of French musical theatre in the Romantic period, so rarely are they performed nowadays. These pieces, intended for the use of small theatres with often limited financial resources, were subject to the proscriptions of a law of 1807: no more than two or three characters on stage, no chorus, no ballet . . . But Hervé and Offenbach – past masters in the art of getting round prohibitive regulations – managed to make the most of these limitations by getting the audience to imagine what they could not show.