Der Opernball

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For other uses, see Opernball (disambiguation).

Der Opernball (The Opera Ball) is an operetta in three acts with music by Richard Heuberger, and libretto by Victor Léon and Heinrich von Waldberg, based on the 1876 comedy Die Rosa-Dominos by Alfred Charlemagne Delacour and Alfred Hennequin. Alexander von Zemlinsky assisted Heuberger with the orchestration.[1] Its premiere was at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, Austria on January 5, 1898. The most famous number from the opera is the waltz duet "Komm mit mir ins Chambre séparée" (known colloquially as "Im Chambre séparée"). The operetta remains in the repertoire of German-language opera companies,[2] such as the Vienna Volksoper.

Roles[edit]

  • Theophil Beaubuisson (bass)
  • Palmyra Beaubuisson, his wife (alto)
  • Henri, naval cadet, their nephew (tenor or mezzo-soprano)
  • Paul Aubier (tenor)
  • Angèle, wife of Paul and niece to Madame Beaubuisson (soprano)
  • Georges Duménil (tenor, buffo role)
  • Marguérite Duménil, wife of Georges (soprano)
  • Hortense, chambermaid of the Duménils (soubrette)
  • Féodora, a chansonette (soprano)
  • Philippe, waiter in the opera entrance hall (tenor)
  • Jean, a waiter
  • Germain, a servant

Synopsis[edit]

The setting is Paris during Carnival, towards the end of the 19th century.

Act I
Paul Aubier and his wife Angèle are guests of Georges and Marguérite Duménil. Marguérite is sceptical of the fidelity of men in marriage, and she persuades Angèle to put their husbands to the test. On their instructions, the chambermaid Hortense writes two identical letters which invite Paul and Georges to Stelldichein to an opera ball at the Paris Opera, where they will meet a lady with a pink domino as part of her dress. Secretly, Hortense writes a third such letter for Henri, because she wants to appear also with the pink domino.

Act II
The setting is the opera ball, where everyone is masked. Beaubuisson and the singer Féodara are one couple. Of the three ladies with the pink domino, Henri sees the pink domino on Hortense, Georges sees it on Angèle, and Paul on Marguérite. Georges and Paul hope to meet the mysterious lady each in a chambre séparée. However, Angèle and Marguérite have arranged for a bell signal, at whose sound the lovers are to meet outside the rooms. In the confusion, Paul and Georges meet each other, and not the expected lady. Furthermore, they each then see Hortense with the pink domino, not knowing who she is. Each tries to engage the lady, but in the process, Hortense's pink domino is destroyed. Marguérite and Angèle are both unaware of the presence of Hortense.

Act III
Back at his residence, Georges discovers the writing paper on which that the invitation to the opera ball was written, and tries to figure out the situation. Things build to the point where Georges challenges Paul to a duel. Finally, Marguérite and Angèle show their intact pink dominoes, which nominally proves the fidelity of their husbands. The role of Hortense in the plot is revealed to all.

Film versions[edit]

Three films have been made of Der opernball.

  • 1939, Cast: Paul Hörbiger, Marte Harell, Hans Moser, Heli Finkenzeller, Theo Lingen, Fita Benkhoff and Will Dohm; Director, Géza von Bolváry
  • 1956, Cast: Johannes Heesters, Hertha Feiler, Josef Meinrad, Sonja Ziemann, Adrian Hoven, Fita Benkhoff, and Theo Lingen (reprising the role of Germain, the servant); Director, Ernst Marischka
  • 1970, Cast: Harald Serafin, Helen Mané, Maurice Besancon, Maria Tiboldi, Uwe Friedrichsen, and Christiane Schröder; Director, Eugen York

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clayton, Alfred, "Zemlinsky's One-Act Operas" (August 1983). The Musical Times, 124 (1686): pp. 474-477.
  2. ^ Laqueur, Walter, "Fin-de-siecle: Once More with Feeling" (January 1996). Journal of Contemporary History, 31 (1): pp. 5-47.