The Tale of the Oyster
is a chic, witty number from Cole Porter’s 1929 hit 50 Million Frenchmen
, billed as ‘a Musical Comedy Tour of Paris in 2 Acts’. The singer is the worldly-wise fur-buyer Violet Hildegarde, who has travelled abroad hoping to be shocked. She sends up high society with a cynical tale of a ‘bivalve social climber’, gliding proudly down Mrs Hoggenheimer’s alimentary canal and emerging chastened to proclaim ‘I’ve had a taste of society, and society has had a taste of me’.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011