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La Perricholi – in reality, Micaela Villegas – was Lima’s leading theatrical l lady in the 1770s when Peru was a Spanish colony. Her life was fictionalised in a one-act play by Prosper Mérimée and a libretto was fashioned on which Offenbach created his opéra bouffe La Périchole, reflecting the creative mania in Paris at the time for Spanish life and art. La Périchole and Piquillo, her lover and companion in misfortune, are impoverished street singers. Meanwhile the Viceroy Don Andrès de Ribeira wishes to make her his lover. In music of vivacious rhythms including boleros, seguidillas and rich arias, Offenbach plays out their love against a broader social canvas.