While Carmen must be the best-known French opera, Bizet’s other stage works are performed far less often, although the Met is jumping onto the recent Les Pêcheurs de Perles-bandwagon with a new production opening on New Year’s Eve. In the meantime, “Trove Thursday” presents Don Procopio, an early two-act confection in Italian featuring an all-star French (and Belgian) cast: Mady Mesplé, Alain Vanzo, Robert Massard, Ernest Blanc and Jules Bastin.

Don Procopio, an opéra bouffe, was written in Rome when Bizet was just 20 to a libretto that rather resembles the plot of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Lasting less than an hour, this 1975 broadcast from French Radio ORTF displays some variable sound quality toward the end but is otherwise quite listenable and quite delightful, although I suspect if you’re not already a Mesplé fan, this won’t be the performance to convert you. Happily, she and Massard (aged 90) are still with us.

Bizet: Don Procopio
ORTF French Radio 1975

Donna Bettina: Mady Mesplé
Donna Eufemia: Lyliane Guitton
Don Odoardo: Alain Vanzo
Don Ernesto: Robert Massard
Don Andronico: Ernest Blanc
Don Procopio: Jules Bastin
Pasquino: Jean-Louis Soumagnas

Conductor: Bruno Amaducci

This Bizet curio and last week’s La Vestale starring Renata Scotto as well as all previous “Trove Thursday” offerings are available for download from iTunes or via any RSS reader.