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Libretto by Heinz von Cramer (G)

Scoring

2S,lyrS A,2lyrT,buffoT,Bar,lyrBar,3B,lyrB,buffoB; 4actors; dancer; chorus;
3(III=picc).2.2.2-4.3.3.1-timp.perc-harp-cel-strings;
On-stage: 2(=picc).0.1.0-2.1.1.1-perc-pft

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
23/09/1952
Berlin
Company: Städtische Oper

Roles

FADENKREUTZ SENIOR, 70 years old Soprano
His wife, about 65 years old Buffo bass
Their children: WILHELM, 40 and AUGUSTE, 35 Lyric baritone, lyric soprano
BIRKHAHN, a civil servant, 30 Lyric tenor
MAYOR, 50 Bass
MAYORESS, in her 40s Alto
Their daughter ADELAIDE, late 20s Soprano
Tax inspector ZITZEWITZ, 35 Buffo tenor
JUNK-DEALER Baritone
CAPTAIN OF THE FIRE BRIGADE Lyric tenor
INSURANCE AGENT Baritone
SOLDIER Dancer
INN-KEEPER Bass
FOUR ACTORS Speaking roles
LAMP-LIGHTER Silent part
Chorus: clerks, office messangers, guests at the ball
Ballet: soldiers, policemen, dancing costumes from the costume agency
Time and Place

Berlin, ca. 1900

Synopsis

Wilhelm Fadenkreutz, a clerk in the city treasurer's office in Berlin, is awarded a medal by the Kaiser for exposing a case of embezzlement. Fadenkreutz not only feels like a new man, he feels altogether like a human being for the first time and makes sexual overtures to the mayor´s daughter, Adelaide, whereupon he is dismissed for being an "immoral person". When he gets home, he bursts in upon his sister, Auguste, and Birkhahn, a civil servant, who have just become engaged. To cover up the shame of Wilhelm's dismissal, Auguste presents him as an army captain out of uniform. Birkhahn invites everyone to a celebration of their engagement at the ball of the Concordia Fire Insurance Company, where a play he has written is to be performed. In order to appear as befitting his social station, Wilhelm borrows a uniform from a junk-shop and this effects an astounding transformation of his character. At the ball, Wilhelm turns public rejection of Birkhahn's complete flop of a play into acceptance through his wildly enthusiastic applause; much the worse for beer, he rails against liberalism in general and the mayor in particular and, at daybreak, he takes command of a patrolling troop of soldiers and marches against the town hall. That Prussia's 'glory' is saved in the end, is only thanks to the natural wit of the mayor´s wife.

Moods

Comic

Subjects

History, Literary, Politics, Society

Recommended Recording

Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1974
Caspar Richter, cond. / Winfried Bauernfeind, dir.
Arthaus Musik DVD

Preußisches Märchen


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