The beggar student

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Work data
Title: The beggar student
Shape: operetta
Original language: German
Music: Carl Millöcker
Libretto : Camillo Walzel under the pseudonym "F. Zell “and Richard Genée
Literary source: Les Noces de Fernande (Fernando's Wedding) by Victorien Sardou
Premiere: December 6, 1882
Place of premiere: Vienna
Place and time of the action: Krakow 1704
  • Palmatica Countess Nowalska ( old )
  • Laura, her daughter ( soprano )
  • Bronislawa, Laura's sister ( Soubrette )
  • Symon Rymanowicz, the "begging student" ( tenor )
  • Jan Janicki, allegedly a student (tenor)
  • Colonel Ollendorf, Governor of Krakow ( bass )
  • Count Bogumil Malachowski, Palmatica's cousin (bass)
  • Whose wife Eva (alto or mezzo-soprano )
  • Major von Wangenheim ( baritone )
  • Rittmeister von Henrici (baritone)
  • Lieutenant von Schweidnitz (baritone)
  • Lieutenant von Rochow (baritone)
  • Cornet von Richthofen (baritone)
  • Drake, Saxon invalid and prison guard ( Tenorbuffo )
  • Piffke, prison guard (tenor)
  • Puffke, prison guard (bass)
  • Onuphrie, Palmatica's servant (baritone)
  • Rej, a host (tenor)
  • The Mayor of Krakow (actor)
  • Waclaw, prisoner (actor)
  • A woman (actress)
  • Aristocratic society, city councilors, citizens and farmers, merchants, trade fair visitors, soldiers, standard-bearers, pages, servants, serfs, children, prisoners, litter-bearers, bridesmaids, wedding guests, armed Poles ( choir , ballet and extras)

The begging student is an operetta in three acts by Carl Millöcker . The libretto was written jointly by F. Zell and Richard Genée . It is based on the piece Les Noces de Fernande (Fernando's Wedding) by Victorien Sardou (music: Louis Deffès , Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique Salle Favart, November 19, 1878) and other motifs from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's five-act "romantic melodrama" The Lady of Lyons; or, Love and Pride (first performed at London's Covent Garden Theater on February 15, 1838). The premiere of Millöcker's operetta took place on December 6, 1882 in the Theater an der Wien .


Two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, large percussion and strings. Musicians who play a town band are needed for the stage music.


place and time

The operetta is set in Cracow in 1704. At that time, Augustus the Strong was both Elector of Saxony and King of Poland .

first act

Prison yard

Many Poles who have revolted against Saxon rule are imprisoned in the dungeon of the citadel in Krakow. A group of women begs the prison guard Drake to be allowed to visit their husbands. After Drake has confiscated the food and drinks he had brought with him, he lets a few prisoners with their wives in the courtyard. The reunion, however, ends abruptly when the inflated governor, Colonel Ollendorf, arrives with a few officers . Ollendorf is furious because the day before at a ball the Polish countess Laura hit him in the face with a fan in front of everyone. He had only kissed the young beauty on the shoulder. Now he wants to take revenge for this behavior. From an intercepted letter from Laura's mother, Countess Nowalska, he knows that only a Polish prince is a possible son-in-law for her. Ollendorf therefore intends to embarrass the countess and her daughter in front of the Krakow society. He needs two prisoners for this. One should be able to convincingly play a Polish prince and the other his secretary.

Enterich shows his boss the two student friends Symon Rymanowicz and Jan Janicki. Ollendorf promises them freedom and an additional cash reward if they play the roles they are supposed to play. Both agree.

Metamorphosis - Krakow Square

There is a lively atmosphere at the Kraków Spring Fair. Colonel Ollendorf is also there with his officers. “By chance” the group meets Countess Nowalska and her two daughters. Ollendorf engages the ladies in conversation and incidentally notices that a well-to-do Polish prince named Wybicki has arrived in Krakow, where he is going to look around for a bride. The Colonel immediately aroused the Countess' curiosity. A few minutes later he introduces the ladies to the supposed prince and his secretary. For Laura and Symon it is love at first sight, and Laura's sister Bronislawa feels drawn to Jan Janicki, although Jan Janicki is not of nobility. In her spirit, the countess sees herself as the mother-in-law of a rich prince, with whose help she can restore her troubled finances. When the two couples soon announced their engagements, the countess indulged in happiness.

Second act

Hall in the palace of Countess Nowalska

Today a double wedding is to be celebrated. Symon is plagued by remorse. He genuinely loves his fiancée and worries about how best to confront her with the truth. He doesn't dare to tell her frankly that he's just a beggar student. But he decides to confess the truth to her in writing. The letter is written and dispatched.

Gradually the wedding guests arrive. Anything that is well-known in Krakow does not want to miss the event. After the wedding ceremony, however, there are still many uninvited guests: Enterich comes with the prisoners dressed in rags and greets with them the groom, a "beggar student". Laura and her mother are angry, the scandal is perfect. Symon was of the opinion that his bride knew who he was and asks her if she had not read his letter. Ollendorf then confesses that it was leaked to him and never reached his recipient. While the colonel wallows in glee, Drake brings the prisoners - except for Symon and Jan - back to the dungeon. The "beggar student" is expelled from the house.

Third act

In the palace garden

Symon feels outlawed and would prefer to move far away, to where nobody knows him. Jan tries to get him to stay because he still needs him for his patriotic plans. He is now revealing his true identity under the seal of secrecy: He is not a student, but Count Opalinski. His secret mission is to prepare a conspiracy against the occupiers. He only needed 200,000 thalers to bribe the Italian commander of the Krakow Citadel. For this sum he was inclined to get involved with the rebels.

In the meantime, Ollendorf has been told who Jan Janicki really is and what he is up to. He has received an order from the king to bribe him with 200,000 thalers so that he can reveal the whereabouts of the Polish Duke Casimir so that the leader of the rebels can finally be arrested. The supposed student pretends to accept it, collects the reward and claims (with his consent) that his friend Symon is the wanted Duke. Symon is arrested and taken away.

Laura has now realized that she genuinely loves Symon. When she hears that he is about to be executed , she begs for his life. Suddenly cannon shots sounded. It is now clear to everyone that the Poles' revolt was a success. The Krakow Citadel is back in their hands. Ollendorf and his officers are disarmed and taken prisoner. Symon is raised to the nobility by the new King Stanislaus Leszczynski in gratitude for his patriotic commitment and receives the dignity of count. Now nothing stands in the way of a marriage with the Polish Countess. Laura's sister does not go away empty-handed either, as she will soon be able to adorn herself with the title Countess Opalinski.


It is primarily thanks to Millöcker's music that this piece became one of the most popular and successful German-language operettas. Particularly known is u. a. Ollendorf's insulted singing Oh, I just kissed her on the shoulder and tied the duet with love .

Between 1896 and 1921, with 4940 German-language performances, it was fourth among the most frequently performed operettas. In the 1990/91 season there were twelve productions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a total of around 180,000 visitors.

Music numbers

In the first act

  • Oh, our loved ones were locked up: Introduction - choir
  • And one should still be gallant - Oh, I just kissed her on the shoulder: Ollendorf
  • The world has the most ingenious pursuit
  • Juchheißa, hurray! The fair begins
  • We should actually go shopping
  • This is Prince Wybicki
  • Bravo! Bravo! It goes very well
  • I made some delicate bonds
  • Are you his? - Highest pleasure and deepest sorrow - At such a festival

In the second act

Caricature in the satirical magazine Kikeriki on the success of the beggar student shortly after its premiere
  • She (I) found a man
  • Through this kiss, be consecrated our covenant!
  • Should I speak, may I be silent? - I'll set the case
  • Happy Bride! Your life shines brightly
  • With money and good words
  • Ring, party bells, ring!
  • Drink to us, drink to us
  • Tempo di Mazur (dance)
  • Heidahi, heidaha! Are those who haven't been invaded ...
  • Oh, I only kissed her on the shoulder

In the third act

  • Rags, baggage, beggar student!
  • The prince should only be a beggar
  • I have no money, I am outlawed
  • Hush, come! - There is the patron!
  • Half an hour is over
  • Now I laugh at every danger
  • Free the land! Tied the ribbon!

Film adaptations

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Colonel Ollendorf's first actor, the comedian Felix Schweighofer , was a baritone : Millöcker notated the entire part (for a tenor) in the treble clef. In theater practice, a bass buffo has prevailed, for which the role has to be transposed down by a minor or major third.
  2. ^ Anton Würz : Reclam's Operetta Guide . 23rd edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-15-010512-9 , p. 98 ff.