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date: 17 October 2019

Kleider machen Leute (‘Clothes Make the Man’)locked

  • Alfred Clayton

Extract

(‘Clothes Make the Man’)

Musikalische Komödie in a Vorspiel and three acts by Alexander Zemlinsky to a libretto by Leo Feld after Gottfried Keller ’s novella; Vienna, Volksoper, 2 December 1910 (revised version, Prague, Neues Deutsches Theater, 22 April 1922).

In the Vorspiel Strapinski (tenor), a downcast tailor, is seen leaving Seldwyla to seek his luck elsewhere. A passing coachman gives him a lift to the neighbouring town of Goldach.

Act 1 introduces Böhni (baritone) and Nettchen (soprano), the daughter of the local magistrate. Nettchen has romantic notions about marrying a foreign nobleman and rejects Böhni’s advances. When the coach arrives in Goldach, Strapinski, whose principal assets are his stylish clothes, is mistaken for an aristocrat. After consuming a large meal, he is treated to cigars by the local worthies in a scene underpinned by a delightful waltz. Strapinski at first plays the role assigned to him rather unwillingly, even after he has been introduced to Nettchen. His attempt to escape is thwarted by the innkeeper and the worthies, who arrive with replacements for his supposedly lost luggage....

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