Chabrier met his librettists at the home of a mutual friend, the painter Gaston Hirsh, in 1875. Chabrier played to them early versions of the romance "O petite étoile" and the ensemble "Le pal, est de tous les supplices...". They agreed to collaborate and Chabrier set about composition with enthusiasm. The story echoes some of the characters and situations of Chabrier's Fisch-Ton-Kan.
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