Boccaccio (soup)

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Work data
Title: Boccaccio
Shape: operetta
Original language: German
Music: Franz von Suppè
Libretto : Camillo Walzel and Richard Genée
Literary source: Motifs from Boccaccio's "Decamerone"
Premiere: February 1, 1879
Place of premiere: Vienna
Place and time of the action: Florence 1331
  • Fiametta, Lambertuccio's foster daughter ( soprano )
  • Giovanni Boccaccio, her lover ( alto )
  • Scalza, barber ( bass buffo )
  • Beatrice, his wife ( mezzo-soprano )
  • Leonetto, student, Beatrice's lover ( baritone )
  • Lotteringhi, Fassbinder ( Tenorbuffo )
  • Isabella, his wife (old)
  • Pietro, Prince of Palermo, her lover ( tenor )
  • Lambertuccio, spice grocer (tenorbuffo)
  • Petronella, his wife (old)
  • Majordomo of the Duke (baritone)
  • Checco, a beggar ( bass )
  • A traveling bookseller (baritone)
  • Seven students (soprano and alto)
  • Six journeymen (tenor and bass)
  • Steward of the Duke (speaking role)
  • An apprentice (speaking role)
  • Three maids (speaking roles)
  • Beggars, people, court society, pages, journeymen ( choir , ballet and extras)

"Boccaccio, or The Prince of Palermo" is a comic opera or operetta in three acts by Franz von Suppè . The libretto written Camillo Walzel alias Friedrich Zell and Richard Genée , although Fiamettas Arie Did I not I just need your love, faithfulness , a setting of a poem published already in 1857 by Suppes friend Heinrich von Littrow is. The operetta was premiered on February 1, 1879 at the Carltheater in Vienna and is considered the composer's most successful stage work. It is about Giovanni Boccaccio , the famous poet of the Decameron , who himself becomes the hero of a love story here.


Two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, large percussion and strings


first act

Image: Square with church and the Scalzas house

The people of Florence celebrate the feast of the patron saint of the city in the streets and squares. In front of the church, a bookseller praises Giovanni Boccaccio's latest novellas , which deal with the casual life of Florentine women. The husbands are very angry about this, as they firmly believe in the loyalty of their wives. They are just waiting for the opportunity to get hold of the poet so that they can beat him up. Three respectable citizens, the cooper Lotteringhi, the spice merchant Lambertuccio and the barber Scalza are the spokesmen. The latter has just returned from a trip to his hometown, much to the surprise of his wife Beatrice, who thought he was still abroad. She has just had a visit from the student Leonetto, who admires her very much. His friend Boccaccio has joined him. Beatrice is now pretending to her husband that two quarreling students have forcibly entered her house. In order to make Beatrice's report appear credible, the “intruders” appear to fight with their swords and insult each other. Scalza is afraid of being drawn into the argument and runs away.

Boccaccio is in love with Fiametta, the Lambertuccios' foster daughter. The beautiful woman returns his love without knowing that he is the famous poet. He goes looking for her. He meets Pietro, a prince from Palermo. The Duke of Palermo would like to give him his illegitimate daughter, who lives in Florence, as a wife, and has therefore sent him to court there. When Pietro realizes that the young man is Boccaccio, the poet he admires, he immediately wants to become his pupil.

The husbands of Florence believe that they have recognized the prince as a poet they hate, and they give him a beating. When they realize they were wrong, they vent their anger by throwing themselves on the bookseller's cart and overturning it. They order a beggar standing around to set fire to the scriptures. But the beggar is none other than Boccaccio himself, who loves disguises. He is forced to set his own works on fire.

Second act

Image: Place in front of the houses of the cooper and the spice dealer

Pietro has his eye on Isabella, the cooper's beautiful wife, and serenades her while Boccaccio Fiametta makes court. Leonetto has been chosen to take care of the elderly Petronella for the time being. Boccaccio and Pietro seize the opportunity while the hosts are drinking in the tavern. When Lotteringhi unexpectedly comes home, Pietro hides in a barrel. Nevertheless, he is immediately recognized by the newcomer. Isabella, however, is not at a loss for any excuse; she simply claims that the stranger is a customer and wants to check the quality of the barrel carefully.

Boccaccio has disguised himself as a farm boy and serves himself as an olive picker for Lambertuccio, who also comes home. In doing so, he makes the gullible believe that the olive tree is bewitched. From him you would only see couples kissing. So it happens that Lambertuccio sees his neighbor Isabella united with the prince, his foster daughter with Boccaccio and - to his great astonishment - his own wife with Leonetto darut. Suddenly Scalza appears and puts an abrupt end to Boccaccio's vertigo. He tells Lambertuccio that the young man he sees on his property is actually the damned poet.

On the hunt for Boccaccio, the three honorable Florentine citizens again fell into the hands of an innocent man: a representative of the Duke, who is supposed to pick up Fiometta, his biological daughter. Boccaccio, Pietro and Leonetto quickly cover their faces with devil masks and get away with it.

Third act

Image: Castle park with garden terrace

The envoy was none other than the duke himself. Neither Pietro nor Fiametta is happy that the duke has chosen them for one another. Pietro's heart still beats for Isabella, and Fiametta can't get the stranger she thinks is a student out of her head. The husbands of Florence want to ask the Duke to expel Boccaccio from the country, but abandon it when they learn that the Duke's poet is enjoying full favor. After performing a Commedia dell'arte written by Boccaccio, the poet was appointed professor at the University of Florence and was soon allowed to lead his beloved Fiametta to the altar.


The music succeeds in brilliantly implementing the comedic arrogance of the text. It is full of ideas, brilliantly orchestrated and very catchy. The gap between operetta and comic opera has been eliminated in many places. Musical highlights are:

  • the misericordia choir of beggars at the beginning,
  • the duel music full of wit and esprit,
  • Happy customer (waltz song - trio),
  • Fiametta's aria I only have your love, I don't need loyalty (text by Suppès friend Heinrich von Littrow ) and
  • the duet between Fiametta and Boccaccio Mia bella Fiorentina / Florence has beautiful women


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Andreas Weigel: Heinrich von Littrow, the real text author of Suppès “Boccaccio” hit “I only have your love”.
  2. Andreas Weigel: Heinrich von Littrow, the real text author of Suppès “Boccaccio” hit “I only have your love”.