Characteristic ballet in one act with a libretto (no longer existing) penned by Hipolit Meunier, dancer, balletmaster, Roman Turczynowicz’s successor as the chief stage director of the Warsaw ballet company and served as the company’s de facto head for many years. Meunier also choreographed the ballet’s world premiere, conducted by Adam Münchheimer on 6 September 1868 at the Teatr Wielki, Warsaw.
Zdzisław Jachimecki succinctly has described the piece as ‘a one-act dance revue’, adding that the extant score is 240 pages long. It includes, among others, ‘a country quadrille’, ‘a soldier’s march’ and two polkas. Małgorzata Komorowska has pointed out that critics praised Moniuszko’s music as ‘charmingly delightful’ and ‘lovely’, although not all of the reviews were this glowing. The reason, according to Professor Komorowska, was the fact that the authors had decided to set the piece in ‘a safe French context’ instead of going for a Polish setting as originally planned, probably after censors’ intervention. She notes the production was shown only eleven times as part of programmes some of which also included Moniuszko’s Flis.
The ballet returned to the stage in 1931 at the Teatr Wielki, Warsaw, after the score had been found at the Warsaw Music Society. Piotr Zajlich adapted the libretto moving the story from the Breton countryside to Poland of the early 19th century, as originally intended by the authors. After World War II, the piece was staged in Wrocław, Bytom, Łódź and Gdańsk.