La princesse jaune was Saint-Saëns's first effort for the operatic stage, a one act piece written for the Opéra-comique in 1872. The subject of the opera provided Saint-Saëns another opportunity to use his interest in exotic musical subjects, although in this case, the exoticism is invented. The story of the operetta is about a young Dutch man, who has a faithful girlfriend but also a feeling of wanderlust. He takes a narcotic and has a vision about Japan. He believes he has been transported there, and pictures it as a fairy-tale kingdom. A lovely yellow figurine comes to life (the "yellow princess") of the title. After various incidents, he comes back to reality, in the arms of his girlfriend, and realizes his love for her is greater than his search for exotic adventures. The colorful overture is a delightful exotic romp, beautifully scored with beguiling "Asian" sounds. In its lightness and tunefulness it is close to the spirit of Offenbach.
La princesse jaune on our YouTube Channel
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