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Music Text

Libretto by Çetin Ipekkaya and Marietta Rohrer-Ipekkaya (G-Tk)


2S,colS,M,2T,2Bar,3B; chorus; children's chorus; dance group;

Abbreviations (PDF)



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


World Premiere
Komische Oper, Berlin
Matthias Davids, director
Conductor: Kristiina Poska
Company: Komische Oper Berlin


ROSA, his wife Soprano
VEHBI, their son Tenor
KARAKACAN, Ali Baba's donkey Singer-actor
CASSIM, Ali Baba's older brother Baritone
AYSE, his wife Mezzo-Soprano
SIRIN, a slave in Cassim's house Coloratura Soprano
PAZARBASI, head of the bazaar Bass
MASTER IDRIS, taylor Baritone
TOMTOM OSMAN, robber Soprano
The thieves from the children's chorus
Citizens, servants, merchants etc from the chorus
Time and Place

Bazaar – Forest and cave – At Cassim’s house – Marketplace in a small town


A busy bazaar scene. Ali Baba sets off to collect wood in the forest, where he sees the forty thieves and secretly observes them opening their den. He follows them. Finding their treasure, he removes a little bit and leaves. His wife Rosa can hardly believe her husband was able to bring home such precious things.

Their son Vehbi and Sirin, slave of Ali Baba’s greedy brother Cassim, have fallen in love and pledge their mutual love.

A gold coin has been left sticking to the scales that Rosa borrowed from her sister-in-law in order to weigh the treasure. Cassim keeps insisting on finding out the truth until Ali Baba finally leads him to the thieves’ den. Once inside, he forgets the magic words to get out and is trapped. When the thieves return, they kill Cassim.

The tailor Idris is engaged to stitch the parts of Cassim’s body back together. When Idris meets one of the thieves, who, incognito, is looking around for the robber of the treasure, he unsuspectingly shows him Ali Baba’s house. Vehbi and Sirin notice the thief making a mark on the house and quickly make the same mark on all the houses in the neighbourhood with the same sign, whereupon the thieves fail to recognize the house. Ali Baba declares Sirin a free woman.

The thieves spare no effort to find the robber of their treasure. Finally, they seem to be successful when Ali Baba allows the thieves’ chief, disguised as an oil merchant, to store a few barrels in his house and invites him for a feast on that same evening to commemorate Cassim’s death and celebrate Sirin’s freedom. The thieves’ plot, however, is foiled by Vehbi and Sirin. During the feast, they instruct the dancers to sprinkle sleeping powder into the oil barrels in order to incapacitate the thieves hidden inside.

It is up to the audience’s imagination to find out how the tale ends...


Comic, Poetic



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