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Music Text

Libretto after Scholom Aleichem, translated by Siegmund Bendkower (G)


S,M,3T,3Bar,2B,2mimes; 2(II=picc).2.2.2- stage)-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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

Digital Score
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World Premiere
Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Gustav Rudolf Sellner, director
Conductor: Heinrich Hollreiser
Company: Deutsche Oper Berlin


SCHIMELE SOROKER, a tailor Baritone
MOTEL, helper Tenor
KOPEL, helper Baritone
ETTIE-MENNIE, his daughter Mezzo-Soprano
PERL, neighbour Soprano
SOLOMON, landlord Bass
KOLTUN, manager Baritone
SOLOVEITCHIK, marriage-broker Tenor
HIMMELFARB, bank manager Tenor
MENDEL, servant Bass
REB ASHER FEIN, rich man/GOLDA, his wife Pantomimes
Time and Place

A Jewish community in Galicia, 19th century


The poor tailor Schimele Sorocker is financially embarrassed – he owes rent to his landlord, Solomon Fein. His only real asset is his attractive young daughter Bielke, who is object of the attentions of both Solomon and his agent Koltun, as well as Sorocker's young apprentices, Motel and Kopel. It seems that Bielke will perforce be married to one of the wealthy suitors, however, until news suddenly arrives that Sorocker has won first prize in a lottery: he is the recipient of 200,000 Thaler. Ironically, as a potential heiress, Bielke has become an even more attractive proposition. Two weeks later, Sorocker and his family are installed in their new grand residence, where Fein and Koltun again lay siege to Bielke. Fein and his parents are coming to dinner – indeed a business partnership is mooted. The arrival of the marriage-broker Soloveitchik clearly indicates the direction in which things are going. Before the all-important dinner party at the Sorocker residence, Motel and Kopel offer to help the desperate Bielke to escape, but she remains in her room with a migraine. The sudden appearance of Himmelfarb the bank cashier, however, throws everything into confusion: it turns out that the lottery win was a mistake – Sorocker is as poor as before. Bielke, meanwhile, has run away, and made it clear that of the two apprentices she prefers Motel. When her parents find her at their old home, to which they are now destined to return, they are pleased to accept Motel as a son-in-law – provided he doesn't expect a dowry.


Comic, Romantic

Recommended Recording

Martha Mödl / Günter Reich / Dorothea Weiß / Musikalische Leitung: Heinrich Hollreiser / Regie: Gustav Rudolf Sellner (Deutsche Oper Berlin 1970)
Arthaus Musik 102 185 (DVD)

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