Kleider machen Leute (opera)

Kleider machen Leute (Clothes make the man or Fine feathers make fine birds) is a comic opera in a prologue and two acts by Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. The libretto was written by Leo Feld, based on the 1874 novella of the same name by Gottfried Keller.

Kleider machen Leute
Comic opera by Alexander von Zemlinsky
The composer in 1908
TranslationClothes make the man
LibrettistLeo Feld
Based onKleider machen Leute
by Gottfried Keller
2 December 1910 (1910-12-02)

Composition and performance history edit

Zemlinsky started work on the opera in 1907, and completed a three-act version in 1909. He made revisions in 1910, reducing the number of acts to two. This first version was premiered at the Vienna Volksoper on 2 December 1910.[1]

For a revival in Prague in 1922, Zemlinsky made further revisions. This second (and final) version was premiered at the Neues Deutsches Theater in Prague on 20 April 1922.[2] The score is published by Universal Edition Vienna.[3]

Roles edit

Toles, voice types, premiere casts
Role[3] Voice type Premiere cast, first version[1]
Vienna, 2 December 1910
Premiere cast, second version[2]
Prague, 20 April 1922
Conductor: Alexander Zemlinsky
Wenzel Strapinski, a tailor's apprentice from Seldwyla tenor Richard Kubla
First tailor's apprentice, Wenzel's friend tenor Georg Kober
Second tailor's apprentice, Wenzel's friend baritone Elischa Czerner
Administrator (Der Amtsrat) baritone Heinrich Schönberg
Nettchen, his daughter soprano Maria Müller
Melchior Böhni baritone Max Klein
Kutscher baritone Max Irtener
Litumlei bass Karl Ludwik
Federspiel tenor Louis Laber
Häberlein tenor Ludwig von dem Bruch
Innkeeper baritone Berthold Sterneck
Pütschli baritone Adolf Fuchs
Prologus spoken Felix Kühne

Synopsis edit


On a provincial road, Wenzel Strapinski (a tailor's apprentice) is saying goodbye to two of his colleague friends. Suddenly, a magnificent carriage stops next to him. The coachman takes Wenzel to Goldach, introduces him there as a count, and then disappears.

Act 1

The citizens of Goldach admire the newcomer. The administrator and his daughter Nettchen join them. Only Melchior Böhni, who is in love with Nettchen but was rejected by her, is suspicious.

Act 2

Strapinski loves Nettchen, but is in two minds about the deceit. When he decides to leave, Nettchen stops him. His rival Böhni then exposes Strapinski as an impostor. Strapinski convinces the people of Goldach who treated him as a count that his only motive for playing along was his love for Nettchen. When he wants to leave, Nettchen stops him again, declaring that if she can not be a countess, she will gladly be the wife of a master tailor.

Instrumentation edit

stage orchestra: clarinet in D, clarinet in B flat, 2 horns, trumpet, bass trombone, violin

References edit

  1. ^ a b Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Kleider machen Leute, 2 December 1910". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  2. ^ a b Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Kleider machen Leute, 20 April 1922". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  3. ^ a b "Alexander Zemlinsky – Kleider machen Leute". Universal Edition. Retrieved 14 August 2010.

Further reading edit

  • Batta, András [hu], Opera – Komponisten, Werke, Interpreten (Könemann, 2000, Dutch translation)

External links edit