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Music Text

Libretto by Boris Blacher after Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (G)


Major roles: S,T,Bar; minor roles: M,2T,Bar,3B;

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Staatsoper, Hamburg
Oscar Fritz Schuh, director
Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
Company: Hamburgische Staatsoper


HERR VON LIPS, a capitalist Baritone
STIFLER, a friend Tenor
SPRONER, a friend Baritone
WIXER, a friend Bass
MADAME SCHLEYER, a wealthy widow Mezzo-Soprano
GLUTHAMMER, a metal worker Tenor
KRAUTKOPF, tenant on the estate of Herr von Lips Bass
KATHI, his niece Soprano
ANTON, servant of Herr von Lips Tenor
JOSEF, servant of Herr von Lips Baritone
CHRISTIAN, servant of Herr von Lips Bass
Two young servants of Krautkopf Baritone, Bass
Time and Place

An elegant garden pavilion; the working quarters of a smallholding


The first act is set in an elegant pavilion in a garden with windows overlooking a cliff rising above a waterfall. Anton, Christian and Josef, three parasitic friends of the wealthy Herr von Lips, are drinking champagne. The locksmith Gluthammer arrives, and when left alone discourses to himself on the benefits of wealth. Next Kathi, the niece of Krautkopf (one of Lip's tenants) turns up to pay her uncle's overdue rent, and Gluthammer finds himself telling her of his unrequited emotional experiences (she herself is secretly in love with Lips). Eventually the latter appears, and to evade the increasingly importunate attentions of his friends decides to marry at the first possible opportunity. This is provided by the arrival of Madame Schleyer, a wealthy widow. But Gluthammer also yearns for Madame Schleyer, and the intense rivalry between the two occasions a fight, during the course of which both men tumble into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Lips is the first to emerge, and believing himself to be likely to be accused of the murder of Gluthammer disguises himself and proceeds to Krautkopf's home, where Kathi recognises him and takes him in. Soon afterwards Gluthammer arrives, fearful of being charged with Lips's murder, and is allowed to hide in the cellar. Lips's false friends then show up with an attorney, hoping to have been left his money in his will. The disguised Lips receives them, surreptitiously alters his will entirely in Kathi's favour, and the attorney subsequently discovers the new clause. Lips and Gluthammer both reveal themselves and the opera ends with a betrothal duet for Lips and Kathi.


Comic, Dramatic

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