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Libretto by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy; German version by Otto Maag; musical adaptations by Konrad Roetscher; new German version by Josef Heinzelmann (F,G)


2S,A,4T,3B; chorus; ballet; 2(II=picc).1.2.1-

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris
Company: unknown

World premiere of version
Variétés, Paris
Company: unknown


BAPTISTE, his squire Buffo Tenor
The Chairman of the Council of Ten Bass
ASTOLFO and FRANRUSTO, spies Bass Baritone, Buffo Bass
CASCADETTO, street stinger Tenor
CATARINA CORNARINI, the doge's wife Lyric Soprano
AMOROSO, her page Soprano
LAODICE, her confidante and others Character Alto
Masks, folks, guards, gondolieri
Time and Place

Venice in the year 1321


Cornarino Cornarini, doge of Venice and admiral of the Venetian fleet, has disappeared with his frigate immediately before a sea battle. Now he is standing before the doge's palace with his squire Baptiste; both are dressed as invalids. He does not dare to return home, for desertion is usually punished by death. Nevertheless, he is drawn towards his sweet wife, Catarina. Meanwhile, his wife is consoled in her husband's absence by her page Amoroso. She is put under pressure, however, by Fabiano Fabiani Malatromba, a cousin of Cornarini's, who wants to usurp the doge's position. Cornarini and Baptiste try to get rid of two of Malatromba's bodyguards in order to help Catarina – a plan they fail to carry out carefully enough. Though they prevent Catarina from the worst, they are arrested and brought before the Council of Ten, which is under a great strain to cope with the distribution of licences for female gondolieri. Cornarini and Baptiste try to save their lives and pose as Cornarini’s murderers. Malatromba's triumph does not last long for Catarina and Amoroso appear claiming that Cornarini is alive. The two invalids are exposed, and everyone is greatly shocked to discover that they are really the doge and his squire. Malatromba rejoices again when suddenly a messenger brings news from the sea battle: the enemy has suffered a devastating defeat, the admiral's escape had only been a strategic trick. The quarrel between Cornarini and Malatromba is continued in a carnevalistic manner. A dexterity competition decides who will be the future doge. Cornarini wins with Amoroso's help.




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