Composed around 1864, when Verlaine and Chabrier, working as a civil servant, had become good friends, only five complete numbers survive from this early comic work. Many of the situations recur in Chabrier's opéra bouffe of 1877, L'étoile: Goulgouly becomes Laoula, Fisch-Ton-Kan turns into Lazuli and Kakao is a precursor of Ouf Ier. The 'Air de Poussah' was re-used by Chabrier in his Ronde Champêtre, a piano work of 1880. Manuscripts of Fisch-Ton-Kan in the Bibliothèque Nationale include an early version of the 'Couplets du Pal' from L'étoile.
Le Sire de Fisch-Ton-Kan was a satirical 'chanson' (music by Antonin Louis, words by Paul Burani) which became very popular in Paris after the fall of Napoleon III and mocked the ex-emperor, his family and court.
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