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«OPERA & OPERETTA in English JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD. JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD. 12-14 Mortimer Street London W1T 3JJ CONTACT (General) +44 (0)20 7580 2827 ...»

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The priest arrives on a boat and announces that only if Helen goes with him on a short journey will Venus forgive them. Menelaus accepts. Helen recognises the Priest to be Paris and eventually accepts. They sail away.

Helen now belongs to Paris, thus precipitating the Trojan War… Christopher Columbus English lyrics by Don White Operetta in 4 acts. Score compiled and edited by Patric Schmid.

2.1.2.1. / 2.2.1.0. / Timp / Perc / Acc (opt.) / Str Weaving together music from lesser-known Offenbach operattas and much of the music he had intended for a work for America, Christopher Columbus (1973) tells the re-imagined story of polygamist Columbus, who accidentally becomes involved in an expedition to America, funded by the loaned jewels of Queen Isabella of Spain. Accompanied by his three ex-wives, Columbus proves to be susceptible to sea-sickness, and is eventually cast adrift. On arrival in the New World, however, the crew discover that Columbus has already arrived, married an Indian Princess, and discovered the cola nut… White and Schmid’s Christopher Columbus is an effervescent and zany concoction, written for the American Bi-centenary celebrations.

The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein* English version by Geoffrey Dunn Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy 2.1.2.1. / 2.2.1.0. / Timp / Perc / Str + Stage band First performed in Paris in April 1867, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein is a satirical critique of unthinking militarism, and was banned in France after the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.

SYNOPSIS: Gerolstein, 1720. The Grand Duchess, who has been brought up by her tutor and Prime Minister, Baron Puck, has been betrothed to Prince Paul but does not find him to her liking. Owing to her being in an unhappy state of mind, the Baron starts a war to amuse her. The Duchess falls in love with handsome soldier Fritz, whose passions are his love for Wanda and his hatred of General Boum. The Duchess immediately makes Fritz a corporal, and he is eventually promoted to Commander-In-Chief, replacing the General, and sent to conquer the enemy. This Fritz accomplishes by making the whole opposing army drunk. The delighted Duchess finds herself more enamoured than ever, and hints at the possibility of his receiving other honours. However, Fritz makes it clear that he prefers Wanda to any such honours, and incurs great displeasure by asking permission to marry Wanda at once. Angry, the Duchess begins a conspiracy to assassinate Fritz on his return from his wedding ceremony. But just as everything is ready, she changes her mind, which is now busied with a new affair with Baron Grog. This latest romance is stalled, however, by the news that her beloved has a wife and four children. She decides to marry Prince Paul after all. Fritz is sent off on a false alarm to fight the enemy, General Boum is made happy by the restoration of his plume, Baron Puck is reinstated in the favour from which he had fallen, the Baron Grog is sent home safe to his family and Prince Paul is received again as a prospective bridegroom.

Orpheus in the Underworld* English versions available: Geoffrey Dunn / Jeremy Sams Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Ludovic Halévy and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux.

3 (1,2,3 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 4.2.3.1. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str Orphée aux enfers, first performed in 1858, is said to be the first classical full-length operetta, and is arguably Offenbach’s most popular work. An irreverent parody of Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), and scathing satire on many aspects of French society and politics, the operetta is internationally famous for its risqué galop infernal, popularly known as the Can-Can.

SYNOPSIS: Thebes, ancient Greece. Eurydice is having an affair with the shepherd boy Aristaeus. She tells her husband, Orpheus, that she loves Aristaeus, and that she cannot stand Orpheus' fiddle playing. Orpheus, bored of marriage, would love to relinquish Eurydice, but Public Opinion would not allow it. Following Aristaeus into a cornfield, Eurydice suffers a snake bite, and Aristaeus turns into his real self: Pluto, Lord of Hades. Eurydice dies but Pluto brings her briefly back to life so she can leave a farewell note for Orpheus. Pluto takes her down to his underworld realm. Orpheus is pleased to be rid of his wife, but Public Opinion demands that Orpheus go down to Hades to get Eurydice back. On Mount Olympus, Mercury, messenger of the gods, arrives to tell of the news of Eurydice’s death. Orpheus enters with Public Opinion, who wants to ensure that Orpheus does the honourable thing - ask Jupiter to restore his wife to him. When Orpheus and the gods arrive in Hades, Pluto's gaoler Styx locks Eurydice in a back room. As there is no sign of her, Jupiter puts the abduction question before a tribunal. What he really wants, though, is to have the beautiful Eurydice for himself. Eurydice attends a party disguised as a follower of Bacchus, god of wine, but Pluto realises who she is and blocks Jupiter's path when he tries to make off with her. Jupiter tells Orpheus he can take his wife away, but only if he does not look back at her as they go. Orpheus fails this test, and Pluto claims Eurydice. Jupiter, however, takes her away by announcing that he is turning her into a real bacchante. Everyone, except Pluto and Public Opinion, is delighted and the Can-Can is danced by all the gods and goddesses.

Robinson Crusoe English version by Don White Comic operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux.





2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 4.2.3.0. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str Loosely adapted from the novel by Daniel Defoe, Offenbach's Robinson Crusoe (1867) was written during one of the composer's most prolific periods. Its elaborate vocal lines perhaps make this operetta the most appealing of Offenbach work’s to opera companies and conservatoires.

SYNOPSIS: Robinson Crusoe, a man from Bristol, sets out to South America to seek a fortune for his fiancée, Edwige, and his family. Six years laters, on a desert island, Crusoe has one companion - Friday - whom he rescued just as he was being sacrificed to the gods by the indigenous cannibal tribe. Meanwhile Edwige, along with Crusoe's servants Suzanne and Toby, arrives to look for Robinson, also having been attacked by pirates.

Toby and Suzanne, captured by the cannibals, are presented to the cannibals' chef, Jim, who also turns out to be from Bristol. He tells them that they will be the cannibals' meal that evening. At sunset, Edwige is brought in by natives, who believe that she is a goddess. Friday spies all this, and falls in love with Edwige. When the fire is lit, he lets off Robinson's pistol and rescues Edwige, Suzanne, Toby and Jim. The following day, Robinson fools the pirates with a story of buried treasure in the jungle and the pirates go off to find it, only to be caught by the cannibals. Robinson next wields the pirates' guns and the pirates plead to be saved. Robinson agrees, and all set sail for Bristol once again, with Captain Atkins marrying Robinson and Edwige at sea.

La Vie Parisienne* English version by Geoffrey Dunn Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.

2 (2 dbl Picc).2 (2 dbl Ca).2.2. / 4.2.3.1. / Timp / Perc / Str La vie parisienne (1866) was Offenbach's first full-length work to portray contemporary Parisian life, unlike his earlier period pieces and operettas with mythological subjects. It became one of his most popular operettas, and was in recent times a particular success for English National Opera, using the Geoffrey Dunn performing version.

SYNOPSIS: Paris, 1860s. Two young men, Bobinet and Raoul de Gardefeu, are rivals for the favors of the beautiful Metella. They await her arrival at the Gare Saint-Lazare, but when the train arrives she spurns them in favour of a richer and older man. The two rejected men become allies, and decide that it's high time to give up ‘fast women’ and their costly ways. Gardefeu bribes his former valet, Joseph, and takes his place as a tourist courier, conveying the wealthy Swedish Baron and Baroness Gondremarck to his own house, pretending it is the Grand Hotel. The Baron is secretly keen to meet Metella, who has been described to him by one of his Swedish friends, and Gardefeu is enchanted by the Baroness. To maintain the masquerade, Gardefeu invites some friends to a lavish dinner, which goes off with a swing. The following night, Bobinet holds a party in the house of his absent aunt, with all the servants masquerading as nobility. The aunt’s chambermaid, Pauline, is instructed to seduce the Baron and keep him away from his wife as long as possible. The party ends in a riotous champagne supper and dance. The next night, a rich Brazilian is host at Alfred's restaurant. Baron Gondremarck arrives for a rendezvous with Metella, but she tells him she is returning to Gardefeu and offers as a substitute a heavily veiled lady - the Baroness, of course. The Baron has discovered Gardefeu's deception and challenges him to a duel, but is pacified by recalling the fun the young men had arranged for him. Everybody is reconciled, everybody is happy.

–  –  –

Das Dreimäderlhaus (House of the Three Girls - 1916), adapted both as Blossom Time and Lilac Time, is a Viennese pastiche operetta with music by Franz Schubert, which gives a fictionalized account of Schubert's romantic life. Debuting during World War I, the operetta's popularity was fueled by the Austrain public's taste for nostalgia, harnessing an old-fashioned, sentimental story and Schubert's familiar music. Schubert worked hard during his lifetime to become a successful opera composer, but found little success in the genre. With Das Dreimäderlhaus, ironically, his music finally became famous in a stage work. By 1961, the piece was estimated to have played over 85,000 performances worldwide.

SYNOPSIS (taken from Park/Hanmer Operatic Society version): Old Vienna. The shy young composer Franz Schubert writes a beautiful love song to his beloved Mitzi, but he gets his best friend Baron Schober to sing it to her, and Mitzi falls in love with him instead of poor Franz - who has to find consolation in their happiness, and in his music. Delightful sub-plots concern Mitzi's two attractive sisters and their boyfriends, a temperamental primadonna and a jealous Count...

–  –  –

Following his hugely popular Ein Walzertraum (1907), Oscar Straus’ Der tapfere Soldat opened the following year in Vienna, and was a considerable success, notably in New York and and in London. Its best-known number, My Hero, is a favourite in concert halls worldwide.

SYNOPSIS: 1885. Serbia and Bulgaria are at war, and the wife and daughter of the Bulgarian Colonel Popoff are missing their menfolk – the Colonel himself, and Major Alexius Spiridoff, who is engaged to the daughter, Nadina. When a young Serbian soldier, who carries only chocolate in his ammunition pouch, stumbles into their lives, the lonely women are all very taken with him. They help him to escape the clutches of the Bulgarian forces. However, when the war is over, and the Bulgarians’ menfolk have returned, things grow complicated.

The Serbian soldier (Bumerli) comes to return the clothes he used to escape, and he is invited to stay for the wedding of Nadina and Alexius. Bumerli confesses to Nadina that it is his love for her that has drawn him back.

He cannot bear to see her married to another, and goes to leave. When the story of Bumerli’s previous visit to the house is revealed, Alexius is furious with Nadina, and she in her turn declares that she no longer loves him.

When Bumerli returns, he is challenged to a duel by Alexis, who is hoping that he will be too cowardly to accept.

Alexius comes round to the idea he would be happier with Mascha, Nadina’s cousin, and any doubts that Bumerli would not make a good husband for Nadina are dispelled by the revelation that he is the son of a wealthy Swiss businessman. All ends happily.

A Waltz Dream* English version by Bernard Dunn, Michael Flanders and Edmund Tracey Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Felix Dörmann and Leopold Jacobson.

2.2.2.2. / 4.2.3.0. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str + Stage Music Oscar Straus' first attempt at a Viennese operetta, after several operas and burlesques, brought him international renown. Ein Walzertraum’s sentimental story, full of nostalgia for old Vienna, appealed greatly to German and Austro-Hungarian audiences and the original Viennese production at the Carltheater in 1907 enjoyed a longer run than even The Merry Widow.

SYNOPSIS: In the imaginary state of Rurislavenstein the heiress to the throne has disrupted court life by marrying a common Austrian guardsman, Niki. After much heart-searching and a near disaster, when she mistakes Niki's harmless meeting with Franzi (the leader of an Austrian girls' orchestra) for infidelity, the Princess learns to love her hastily chosen husband and the inevitable happy ending ensues.

STRAUSS II, Johann (1825-1899) Fanny Elssler, the Dancer English version by Henrik Ege Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Hans Adler.

2 (2 dbl Picc). 2.2.2. / 4.2.3.0. / Timp / Perc / Cel / Hp / Str Die Taenzerin Fanny Elssler tells the story of famed Austrian dancer Fanny (1810-1884), whose father Johann was Haydn’s copyist and valet. Elssler was one of the most important ballerinas of the Romantic era, dancing in Paris, London and the United States during the 1830s and 40s. The opera is set in Eisenstadt, Vienna and Meidling in early 1831, and deals with Fanny's various romantic and professional entanglements, memorably featuring the well-loved aria “Draussen im Sievering”, and some of Strauss’ most attractive posthumouslydiscovered music.

Die Fledermaus (The Bat)* English versions available: Alfred Kalisch / Christopher Hassall and Edmund Tracey Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Carl Haffner and Richard Genée after Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.

2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 4.2.3.0. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str Premièred on 5 April 1874 in Vienna, and part of the regular operetta repertoire ever since, Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus has been described as “the apotheosis of Viennese operetta”, and is one of the best-loved operettas ever written.



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