Continuing the small history of French lyric art, Germaine Tailleferre and Denise Centore now evoke the great realistic style as practiced among other composers, Gustave Charpentier and Alfred Bruneau, who dared to bring to the operatic stage, the language everyday and the costume of the proletarian.
The action of Poor Eugenie is located in Paris in 1905, in a lingerie workshop, that of Madame Phemie, who has a husband, Mr. Ernesse, and three workers: Titine the gavroche, Paula the sentimental, and Eugénie, the heroine of this story, or rather, of these slices of life, according to the style of the time. It is the musical counterpart of Rougon-Macquart de Zola. Gégène will appear only at the time of the denouement. At the beginning of the opera, in the studio, the three working women are working on linen skirts that are bored with lace, and Mr. Ernest's bad mood is expressed in the offing. Madame Phemie, the wife of the latter, presses her workers and discovers that Eugénie is eating sausage with garlic. Eugenie is thrown out of this grave mistake and desperate to throw herself into the Seine. Titine and Paula, horrified, tell her about the child she had with Mr. J. Duplan, who was to marry her. She can not abandon him. Suddenly, someone knocks on the door, and Gégène appears and delivers a boa for Madame Phemie. Indignation of Titine and Paula, Madame Phemie will put a boa when she has thrown a girl-mother! Gégène, indignant, wants to see Eugénie, whom he falls in love with! All is well that ends well, Eugenie leaves with Gégène, thus leaving the one who exploited it.
The last opera evokes the period of Offenbach, it is Monsieur Petitpois buys a castle. The characters, in Second Empire costume, live in a medieval castle near Romorantin. This is the ancestral domain of Monsieur le Duc de la Bombardière. The duke has a son, a hussar lieutenant and a pretty boy, a familiar and devoted servant, Cunegonde, nurse of Adelaide, and a competent notary, Master Pointillard. But he has no money, at least he starts to have enough. He must sell his castle, and he is waiting for the visit of a prospective buyer, Monsieur Petitpois. He discusses the affair with his notary, and will not disdain to take the advice of Madame Cunegonde, his maid, as soon as the opening of the opera is over.