Gabrielle Debrives as First Page in Barbe Bleue, Bluebeard, by Paul Boyer, postmarked 1906

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Gabrielle Debrives, also called Gabrielle De Brives (1883-1974), was an actress and singer who was among the regulars at Théâtre des Variétés. In this image, a publicity shot for the 1904 opera Barbe Bleue, in which she played "first page," Mlle. Debrives is costumed in a sumptuously embroidered satin outfit. The sharpness of the image is such that one can practically feel the texture of the cloth, just by looking at it. Her hat is equally amazing, with beautiful plumage. We're certain this image will be of interest to Renaissance costumers. Based on the mentions we have found of her, Mlle. Debrives appeared to specialize in supporting roles, and she seems to have been well-known and respected for her work during her lifetime, although little information has come down to us.

Bibliothèque nationale de France includes in their collection a copy of "Barbe-Bleue : opéra-bouffe en 3 actes." This was an operetta written by Jacques Offenbach and set to a French libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. The story is based on the 1697 fairy tale "La Barbe bleue," or "Bluebeard" as it's known to most English speakers, by Charles Perrault, one of his darkest and most chilling stories.

The operetta is a bit lighter than the story upon which it was based, centering on the plight of two lovers, Prince Saphir and the flower-girl Fleurette, who were not part of the original fairy tale, and replacing the outright murder of Bluebeard's wives with a potion that Bluebeard believes kills the women, but which in fact only puts them in a deep sleep. Bluebeard, even before he has "killed" his newest wife, sets his sights upon Fleurette, who has been revealed as the Princess Hermia.

You can hear the overture to the opera on YouTube at:

or even listen to the entire opera at:

There are snippets of the opera from a more modern performance, but we have not been able to find a full production in video.

Wikipedia tells us that "Jacques Offenbach (20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffman remains part of the standard opera repertory."

The extremely prolific Jacques Offenbach wrote a large number of opéras bouffes, a genre of late 19th-century French operetta that is closely associated with him. Opéras bouffes are often comedic or farcical. Barbe Bleue is one of the most famous examples of the genre.

We are music lovers with very eclectic tastes, which include opera, and this work is new and delightful for us. It is very lively and sweet in it's opening passages, which are playing as we write this.

You may also be interested to know that Mlle. Debrives appeared in several silent films between 1910 and 1918, one of which, a short comedic film under 10 minutes, "Les timidités de Rigadin," which translates to "A Shy Youth," is available on YouTube at:

In the film, Mlle. Debrives plays a servant who leads the other servants in partying after their employers leave for a party, ensuring that there is merriment for all.


This enchanting image is sharp and clear, with a glossy finish. There is minor wear to the edges and corners, with some slight creasing of the corners, and some tiny dents in the surface of the card which do not detract from the figure, itself. Please examine our high res scans for detail.

Postage is for first class shipping in a secure photo mailer, and we happily combine shipping on all paper goods. If you purchase two cards, the price is the same as for a single card, and when you purchase three or more cards from us at the same time, your shipping will be entirely free, except for international orders which, due to the costs of international shipping will still be charged one card's shipping fees on orders of three or more. We do not charge for insurance or shipping materials, and as of the date of this listing are still charging below our overall cost on shipping.

And please come visit our blog at:

where we post biographical and historical tidbits, images of cards and photographs for sale, some already sold but remembered fondly, related images of historical interest and sometimes even images of items that have not yet arrived in the shop, but that are expected to arrive soon, as well as coupon codes, links to other related sites, and more!

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Preparation takes 3-5 business days
Arrives from the United States
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