Composers and their stage works 

Mademoiselle Colombe

Jean Anouilh - 1951

Described as a pièce brilliante the play takes place in a bustling fin-de-siècle Parisian theatre where Madame Alexandra, a celebrated seven-times-married rival to Sarah Bernardt, holds court. She takes her mousy daughter-in-law Colombe in hand after packing off the son she loathes to do his military service. Under the gimlet eye of this fearsome thespian, the innocent Colombe is transformed into a beautiful ingénue, inevitably attracting the leering attentions of a trio of decadent old luvvies and predictably falling under the seductive spell of her husband's roguish brother.

The play invokes a world of theatrical tittle-tattle and amorous dressing-room liaisons where eventually our heroine has to choose between the fake red velvet world of applause and adulation and the reality of a rather dull marriage.