Rastelbinder, Der

Composer: Lehar, Franz 1870 - 1948

One of Franz Lehár’s first ventures onto the operetta stage, Der Rastelbinder (The Tinker - 1902), shows many of the strengths that turned Die Lustige Witwe into a worldwide phenomenon only three years later: memorable tunes, plenty of humour, funny stage business, and the composer’s patented Hungarianisms. SYNOPSIS: Slovakia. 10 year-old Janku, foster-child to a tinker, is betrothed to eight-year old Suza, but is sent off to learn his trade. Twelve years later, in Vienna, Janku is now called Schani, and has become apprenticed to a tinsmith. The tinsmith’s daughter (Mizzi) is now smitten with him, and he has completely forgotten his Slavic youth and Suza - who is in turn betrothed to Janku’s army friend Milosch. Mizzi states that she could never be interested in a Slav, compelling Janku to further bury his own past. Suddenly, Pfefferkorn shows up in Vienna with Suza, who is eager to see Milosch; the onion dealer, however, wants to arrange a reunion with her old fiancé. Janku and Suza remember nothing of each other and are not interested. At a party, a celebration of the impending wedding of Mizzi and Schani/Janku, Pfefferkorn announces that Janku is already betrothed to Suza. The second act descends into farce…

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