Wiener Blut (Spirit of Vienna)

Operetta in three Acts

Composer: Strauss II, Johann 1825 - 1899

Version: English Version by Nigel Douglas

The first performance of Wiener Blut took place in Vienna on 26 October 1899, four months after the death of Johann Strauss II. The opera was commissioned by Franz Jauner, the manager of the Carl Theatre. The idea behind the operetta, the title of which was taken from one of Strauss’s most popular waltzes (Wiener Blut – op.354), was for the creation of a stage work that made use of melodies from Strauss’ older and less well- known works. Adolf Müller Jnr., the house conductor at the Theater an der Wien, selected and arranged the music. Jauner had high hopes for Wiener Blut and staged a lavish production, but the first night was a fiasco, and the production closed after only thirty performances. Bankrupted by this failure, Jauner shot himself. In 1905, with a slightly adjusted book and score, Wiener Blut was revived at the Theater an der Wien, where it was a success. It entered the repertoire of the Vienna Volksoper in 1928, where it has remained ever since. Wiener Blut is set at the time of the Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815, an international conference that sought to settle Europe after the upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows a traditional operetta plot full of mistaken identities. Count Balduin Zedlau, ambassador of the tiny court of Reuss-Schleiz-Greiz, is posted to Vienna. Although married to Gabriele, the Count is having affairs with both the ballerina Franzi and the model Pepi. Pepi in turn is engaged to his valet Josef. Zedlau’s attempts to keep all his relationships in balance at the same time results in confusion, which is made even more chaotic through the involvement of the aged but amorous Prime Minister. After much intrigue, many misunderstandings, and numerous false identities, Zedlau realises that his heart belongs to Gabriele, who generously forgives him for his numerous amatory indiscretions. Numerous well-known compositions appear in Wiener Blut, including the waltzes Tales from the Vienna, Morning Papers and the unmatchable Blue Danube.

2 (2 dbl picc).2.2.2. / / timp / perc / hp / str Stage Music: 2 vln / acc / gtr



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