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SYNOPSIS: The story begins with Gabriel von Eisenstein, who has been sentenced to eight days in prison for insulting an official. Adele, Eisenstein's maid, receives a letter inviting her to Prince Orlofsky's ball. She pretends the letter says that her aunt is very sick, and asks for a leave of absence. Falke, Eisenstein's friend, arrives to also invite him to the ball. Eisenstein bids farewell to Adele and his wife Rosalinde, pretending he is going to prison, but really intending to postpone jail for one day and have fun at the ball. After Eisenstein leaves, Rosalinde is visited by her lover, Alfred. Frank, the governor of the prison, arrives to take Eisenstein to jail, and finds Alfred instead. In order not to compromise Rosalinde, Alfred agrees to pretend to be Eisenstein and to accompany Frank. At the ball, it turns out that Falke, with Prince Orlofsky's permission, is orchestrating the ball as a way of getting revenge on Eisenstein, who once abandoned a drunken Falke dressed as a bat in the center of town, exposing him to ridicule the next day. As part of his scheme, Falke has invited Frank, Adele, and Rosalinde to the ball as well… Eisenstein is introduced to Adele, but is confused as to who she really is because of her striking resemblance to his maid. Then Falke introduces the disguised Rosalinde to Eisenstein and she succeeds in extracting a valuable watch from her husband's pocket, something which she can use in the future as evidence of his impropriety.
2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 126.96.36.199. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str Second only to the popularity of Die Fledermaus during Strauss’ lifetime, and still one of the composer’s most performed works, Der Zigeunerbaron was premiered on 4 October 1885. The scoring and the nature of Strauss's music have led many music critics to consider Der Zigeunerbaron as a comic or lyric opera as opposed to an operetta. Conceived as a patriotic spectacular, extolling the virtues of the Dual Monarchy (the AustroHungarian Empire, founded in 1867), the work is resultantly particulalry notable for being the first Viennese operetta set in Hungary (and whose main characters were Hungarians and Gypsies). A Hungarian musical flavour is evident in much of the score - as can be heard in the Overture’s the chromatic motives and unusual orchestration.
SYNOPSIS: Set in the eighteenth-century, Der Zigeunerbaron is based on the novel Saffi, and tells the colourful story of the proposed marriage of landowner Sándor Barinkay (returned from exile) and a gypsy girl (Arsena) who is revealed as the daughter of a Turkish Pasha (Zsupán), and the rightful owner of a hidden treasure.
Amongst the many memorable characters are a fortune-telling Romany Queen, an absurdly self-important Mayor, a rascally Commissioner, a Military Governor, a band of Gypsies and a troop of Hussars.
A Night in Venice English versions available: Henrich Ege / Murray Dickie and Herbert Prikopa (1979 revision) Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Friedrich Zell and Richard Genée, additional lyrics by Ernst Marischka and Alfred Jerger.
2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 188.8.131.52. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str + Stage Music Firmly established as one of Strauss’ most popular operettas, Eine Nacht in Venedig (1883) tells the story of one eventful evening in eighteenth-century Venice. Murray Dickie’s glossy adaption for English National Opera makes extensive alterations to the original book, and uses the orchestrations Erich Korngold made for the 1923 production in Vienna.
SYNOPSIS: The Duke arrives for Carnival. He has eyes for Barbara Delacqua, the wife of the Venetian senator.
Her husband, Delacqua, seeks to prevent this from happening, but without scaring away the Duke, who has an administrative post to fill on his estates. Delacqua has an idea – to spirit Barbara away to the island of Murano, and to present the chambermaid Ciboletta in her place. But the plan misfires: the Duke's barber, Caramello, learns of the scheme, and – disguised as a gondolier - takes the also disguised ‘Barbara’ to the Duke's palace.
However, Caramello’s own fiancée Annina has come to the aid of Barbara and assumed her identity while she secretly meets her nephew-in-law Enrico. And so, at the Palazzo Urbino, Caramello courts Annina in the mistaken belief that she is the wife of the senator! Caramello is forced to watch his master the Duke getting closer and closer to the feigned Barbara. All join forces to obstruct the lecherous Duke, but before he can withdraw completely with "Barbara" the clock strikes midnight, and all are summoned to join the masked throng on the Piazza San Marco… Rosalinda English translation by Paul Kerby and John Meehan Adaptation of Die Fledermaus by Max Reinhardt. Libretto by Carl Rössler and Marcellus Schiffer, musical adaptation by Erich Korngold.
184.108.40.206. / 220.127.116.11. / 2 Perc / Pno / Hp / Str In 1929 Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Korngold embarked upon an association with the famous director and producer Max Reinhardt, rescoring a number of operettas by Johann Strauss II, Leo Fall, and Jacques Offenbach. The biggest success of this collaboration was a restructured version of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, titled Rosalinda, and filmed as Gay Rosalinda in 1950. This English version of Reinhardt and Korngold’s highly successful reimagining features an extensively – and brilliantly - re-worked score.
See also: “Die Fledermaus” Spirit of Vienna English version by Nigel Douglas Operetta in 3 acts. Libretto by Victor Leon and Leo Stein. Prepared for the stage by Adolf Müller Jnr.
2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 18.104.22.168. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str + Stage Music The first performance of Wiener Blut took place in Vienna on 26 October 1899, four months after the death of Johann Strauss II. Commissioned by Franz Jauner, the manager of the Carl Theatre, the idea behind the operetta
- the title of which was taken from one of Strauss's most popular waltzes (Op.354) - was for the creation of a stage work that made use of melodies from Strauss’ older and less well-known works. In 1905, with a slightly adjusted book and score, Wiener Blut was revived at the Theater an der Wien, and in 1928 it entered the repertoire of the Vienna Volksoper, where it has remained ever since.
SYNOPSIS: Wiener Blut is set at the time of the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), an international conference that sought to settle Europe after the upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows a traditional operetta plot full of mistaken identities. Count Balduin Zedlau, ambassador of the tiny court of Reuss-Schleiz-Greiz, is posted to Vienna. Although married to Gabriele, the Count is having affairs with both the ballerina Franzi and the model Pepi. Pepi in turn is engaged to his valet Josef. Zedlau's attempts to keep all his relationships in balance at the same time results in confusion, which is made even more chaotic through the involvement of the aged but amorous Prime Minister. After much intrigue, many misunderstandings, and numerous false identities, Zedlau realises that his heart belongs to Gabriele, who generously forgives him for his numerous amatory indiscretions.
Numerous well-known compositions appear in Wiener Blut, including the immortal title number, and the unmatchable Blue Danube.
A Thousand and One Nights English versions available: Dr. Fritz Wagner / Alan Turner Operetta in 2 acts. Libretto by Leo Stein and Carl Lindau, edited by Ernst Reiterer.
2 (2 dbl Picc). 2.2.2. / 22.214.171.124. / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str Johann Strauss II launched his career as a theatre composer at Vienna's Theater in February 1871 with the threeact Indigo and the Forty Thieves. Though a triumph for the composer, from the outset the work suffered from a weak libretto. The first night playbill named the theatre's director, Maximillian Steiner, as librettist of the piece, but this credit masked the participation of several collaborators on the re-working of the Arabian Nights tale – swiftly earning the opera the nickname "Indigo and the Forty Librettists". Over the ensuing years, repeated attempts were made to forge a permanent partnership between the music and a new libretto, and in 1906 Gabor Steiner, younger son of Maximilian Steiner, commissioned the experienced librettists Leo Stein and Karl Lindau to create an entirely new version of Indigo. He further entrusted his resident conductor, Ernst Reiterer, with the adaptation of Strauss's music. On 15 June 1906, the 'new' Johann Strauss operetta, Tausend und eine Nacht, was premiered – described favourably as “an oriental operetta of dream interpretation, a sumptuous ballet spectacular with songs". Under the new title, the work won the favour of the public and has achieved lasting success.
The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief English version by V.C. Clinton-Baddeley Operetta in 3 acts by H. Bohrmann-Riegen and Richard Genée, after Miguel Cervantes.
2 (2 dbl Picc).2.2.2. / 126.96.36.199. / Timp / Perc / Cel / Org / Hp / Str + Stage Music Strauss’ 1880 Das Spitzentuch der Königin is the tale of the Queen of Portugal’s eponymous handkerchief and a truffle pastry that sabotages a honeymoon, featuring a cameo appearance from Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright Miguel Cervantes - author of Don Quixote - in disguise as an innkeeper. Though perhaps not as familiar to modern audiences as Strauss’ other operettas, Das Spitzentuch der Königin is filled with many wonderful melodies, and it was the composer’s most successful operetta in the U.S. in 19th century – even surpassing the popularity of Die Fledermaus while running in New York and on tour. Strauss incorporated many of the operetta’s melodies into his famous waltz Roses from the South, which is regularly performed at the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert.
SULLIVAN, Arthur (1842-1900) H. M. S. Pinafore (or The Lass that Loved a Sailor) Comic opera in 2 acts by William Schwenk Gilbert. Orchestration by Peter Murray.
1 (dbls Picc). 1. 1 (dbls A cl). 0. / 188.8.131.52. / 2 Perc / Str H.M.S. Pinafore was Gilbert and Sullivan's fourth operatic collaboration and their first international sensation.
By the spring of 1879, H.M.S. Pinafore had become the most popular theatrical attraction the United States had ever seen. Following the opera’s London premiere in May 1878, approximately 150 unauthorised productions were mounted across America. At one point, the piece played simultaneously in eight New York theatres within five blocks of each other. Gilbert and Sullivan made arrangements to travel to New York to present the first legitimate production of Pinafore, which took place in December 1879, and decided also to premiere their new opera – The Pirates of Penzance – in the United States, in order to secure American copyright, and to avoid similar widespread pirating of their new work.
SYNOPSIS: On the British ship H.M.S. Pinafore, the captain's daughter, Josephine, is in love with lower-class sailor Ralph, although her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. She abides by her father's wishes at first, but Sir Joseph's advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story… The Mikado (or The Town of Titipu) Comic opera in 2 acts by William Schwenk Gilbert. Orchestration by Peter Murray.
1 (dbls Picc). 1. 1. 0. / 184.108.40.206. / 2 Perc / Str Hailed as “one of the most perfect fusions of composer and librettist ever achieved”, Gilbert and Sullivan’s ninth collaboration, The Mikado, opened in London in March 1885, and ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that, in Europe and America, at least 150 companies were producing the opera. Today The Mikado has been translated into numerous languages, is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history, and is responsible for introducing phrases such as ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ and ‘a short, sharp shock’ into the English language.
SYNOPSIS: The Mikado tells the characteristically topsy-turvy story of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, two lovers who are subject to the abritary laws of The Mikado’s Japan, where flirting is punishable by death, and executions are commonplace. Setting the opera in Japan allowed Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely, and Sullivan’s score skillfully mixes traditional English forms with ‘Japanese’ pentatonic inflections. The Mikado features a cast of unforgettable characters, a hilarious plot, and many wellloved songs - amongst them, "Three Little Maids", "I’ve got a little list", "A Wandr’ing Minstrel" and "The Sun Whose Rays".
The Pirates of Penzance (or The Slave of Duty) Comic opera in 2 acts by William Schwenk Gilbert. Orchestration by Peter Murray.
1 (dbls Picc). 1. 1. 0. / 220.127.116.11. / 2 Perc / Str In order to capitalise on the enormous success of H.M.S. Pinafore in the USA, Gilbert and Sullivan’s fifth collaboration, The Pirates of Penzance, was premiered in New York City in December 1879. When Sullivan arrived in New York, he found that he had left his sketches for the first act in London, and had to reconstruct the first act from memory. Nevertheless, the new opera was well-received, and was subsequently performed for a century by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain, and many other opera companies and repertory companies worldwide. The opera includes many famous songs, including "Poor Wandrin’ One", The Policeman’s Song and the oft-parodied "I am the very model of a modern Major-General".
SYNOPSIS: The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tenderhearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on February 29, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His apprenticeship indentures state that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years. Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.