The talisman

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Title: The talisman
Original title: Titus Feuerfuchs or Die Schicksalswigs
Genus: Posse with singing in three acts
Original language: German
Author: Johann Nestroy
Literary source: Bonaventure by Charles Désiré Dupeuty
Music: Adolf Muller
Publishing year: 1840
Premiere: December 16, 1840
Place of premiere: Theater an der Wien
Place and time of the action: The action takes place on the estate of Frau von Cypressenburg, near a large town.
  • Titus Feuerfuchs , a traveling barber journeyman
  • Mrs. von Cypressenburg , widow
  • Emma , her daughter
  • Constantia , her maid, also a widow
  • Flora Baumscheer , gardener, also a widow, in the service of Frau von Cypressenburg
  • Plutzerkern , gardener's assistant in the service of Mrs. von Cypressenburg
  • Monsieur Marquis , hairdresser
  • Spund , a beer silver man
  • Christoph, Hans, Seppel , farm boy
  • Hannerl , peasant girl
  • a garden servant
  • Georg, Konrad , servant of the wife of Cypressenburg
  • Mr. von Platt
  • Notary Falk
  • Salome Pockerl , goose guardian

The talisman , named Titus Feuerfuchs or Die Schicksalsperücken in an initial concept , is a farce with singing in three acts by Johann Nestroy . The premiere took place on December 16, 1840 in the Theater an der Wien as a benefit performance for Nestroy's partner Marie Weiler .


The goose-girl Salome Pockerl is mocked and marginalized by the young people in the village because of her red hair. She argues about the false prejudice:

“Red is certainly a beautiful color, the most beautiful flowers are the roses, and the roses are red. The most beautiful thing in nature is the morning, and it is heralded by the most splendid red. The clouds are certainly not a beautiful invention, and even the clouds are beautiful when they appear fiery red in the sky in the evening sun ; so I say: if you have anything against the red color, you don't know what is beautiful. " (First act, third scene)

The also red-haired Titus Feuerfuchs meets Plutzerkern, who thinks he is the expected new gardening assistant. Titus is interested in the position:

“Help the widow? - As I said, I qualify for everything. " (First act, sixth scene)

Salome, who has cut down Titus' fiery red hair, wants to request a job for him from the master baker, who refuses. When Titus tames the shy horse of a carriage, the rescued hairdresser Marquis gives him a talisman , a black wig, in gratitude . This helps Titus to the position of gardening assistant at Flora Baumscheer, who gives him a suit from her deceased husband's wardrobe and makes him advances. But also the widowed chambermaid Constantia takes a liking to Titus and takes him to the castle.

"The gardener will bring the fruits, this is also the most appropriate opportunity to introduce him to the madam." (First act, twenty-second scene)
Scene in the castle with Nestroy (Titus), Weiler (Flora), u. a.

Constantia gives him the gold-braided livery of her deceased husband, when Monsieur Marquis, Constantia's bridegroom, bursts in. He jealously tears the black wig off Titus' head, who in the hurry only finds a golden blonde as a replacement. Frau von Cypressenburg is delighted with his curly hair and offers him a position as personal secretary and also the elegant clothes of her faded husband. But at a soiree the angry marquis reveals the secret and Titus is thrown out.

Now Titus is back on the street, where his uncle Spund, a wealthy beer silver man, finds him. Titus has found a gray wig and whispers to the bung he has touched that the grief has turned him gray. Immediately he wants to appoint Titus as a universal heir and as a wealthy future businessman he suddenly appears to all women as a good match. But Titus renounces - he does not want to marry anyone who only finds red hair forgivable in a universal heir. At last he realizes how much he was the only one who always loved Salome. He offers her the marriage and says to his uncle:

"I know, Herr Cousin, you dislike the red hair, they displease almost everyone. But why? Because the sight is too unusual; when there is a lot 'the thing' will get going, and that we will contribute ours to this reproduction, Mr. Cousin can rely on it. " (Third act, twenty-first scene)

Factory history

The model for Nestroy's play was the three-act French comédie-vaudeville Bonaventure by Charles Désiré Dupeuty , which was premiered on January 23, 1840 at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris . Nestroy moved away from the original, which was settled in the First Empire , in particular in the scenes with the beer silver - which was his very own invention - and the "literary discussion" with Frau von Cypressenburg (in the original the Countess de Château-Gaillard), in which he portrayed her as a blue stocking drew. He reduced the 14 vocal pieces of Vaudeville to the entree choirs, the couplets and the quodlibet he always used , and he also  defused the sexual allusions - with a view to the stricter Viennese censorship .

In his works, Nestroy has so far mostly drew a picture of unchangeable situations and characters - in the talisman Titus successfully runs against narrow-mindedness, even if he does make use of relationships.

The premiere took place on December 16, 1840 in the Theater an der Wien . Nestroy himself played the Titus fire fox, Wenzel Scholz alternated with Alois Grois the garden servant Plutzerkern, director Carl Carl , later also Ignaz Stahl the beer silver bung, Marie Weiler the gardener Flora Baumscheer.

The role of Salome Pockerl would actually be perfect for Eleonore Condorussi , but Marie Weiler, who has become suspicious of Nestroy's close professional contact with this classic “sweet girl”, ensures that he, the notorious devil, this actress no longer has any other leading roles in his Pieces "writes on the body." So the young Elise Rohrbeck got the coveted role, although the Condorussi would have been the better cast.

The original Nestroys manuscript is lost, a concept in Nestroy's handwriting with the title Titus Feuerfuchs or Die Schicksalsperücken in possession of Nestroy's heirs was last quoted in a list by Fritz Brukner in 1922 and has also been lost since then. The original score by Adolf Müller is in the possession of the Vienna Library in the City Hall .

The talisman is Nestroy's most frequently performed work. Numerous well-known actors of the modern age have played the role of Titus the Fire Fox, including Karl Paryla , Walter Kohut , Hans Putz , Heinz Conrads , Heinrich Schweiger , Helmuth Lohner , Peter Weck , Helmut Qualtinger , Robert Meyer , Toni Böhm and Johannes Krisch . The Salome Pockerl was very popular with actresses, including Inge Konradi , Christine Ostermayer , Caroline Vasicek , Julia Jelinek , Sarah Viktoria Frick , Brigitte Swoboda , Dolores Schmidinger , Gerti Drassl , Dorothee Hartinger , Barbara Kaudelka , Regina Fritsch , Gabriele Schuchter , Andrea Wildner .

Contemporary reception

The reaction from the public and the press was very positive from the start and lasted into Nestroy's lifetime.

Adolf Bäuerle's Nestroy always weighed Viennese theater newspaper wrote on December 18, 1840 in a detailed review:

“The shape of the piece deserves the highest praise. Such a joke-bubbling dialogue, where almost every syllable is so bonmotistic, such wonderful couplets can only be created by Nestroy and unable to highlight particularly successful details, since everything is masterfully done, I prefer to confine myself to the general, but not too expressive, remark. [...] Understandably, the author, Titus Feuerfuchs, excelled most of all. "

The December 18 humorist also praised the performance:

“The success of his latest piece was extremely brilliant. For some time now we have not heard the applause falling from such full and open sluices, and in our opinion it has not been given as deservedly as this time for some time. "

In the Viennese magazine on December 19, one could read:

“'Bonaventure le beau Brun' is, I think, the original, which Mr Nestroy freely edited and with which he made an excellent choice, because not soon did I find a fable that would have been so full of cheerful situations and one would have had such a skillful dramatic disposition. "

On December 19, the collector discovered that Nestroy had not yet written a funnier piece.

An attempt by Joseph Kupelwieser (1791–1866) to compete with Nestroy by translating the original under the title Red, Brown and Blond or Die Drei Witfrauen (first performance on January 16, 1841 in the Josefstädter Theater ) was more popular with the Viennese press judged derogatory.

Later interpretation

Otto Rommel states that Nestroy succeeded particularly well in assimilating a foreign material in the talisman . "Nestroy has cleverly exploited the disillusioning tendency of the harmless French vaudeville, but the overwhelming comedy of the situation consumes any bitterness" (quote). Only the figure of Salome Pockerl has lost its personality compared to the original.

Franz H. Mautner calls this work the most tightly structured of all the multi-act antics of Nestroy, unsurpassed in the precision of the merely banal, but in truth witty dialogue. The talisman is the funniest of his comedies, with three brilliant couplets and the stage-effective figure of the beer-silver-maker Spund that he added. Not an all-covering linguistic joke in Titus' speeches, but the overall funny plot makes the piece so successful. Nestroy makes the almost inevitable fate of an individual against the prejudices of the crowd clearly visible through various precisely structured scenarios. The sexual  allusion in the final punch line - a recourse to the tradition of the Hanswurstiade and Kasperliade in the spirit of Johann La Roche - namely the suggestive allusion to marriage and blessing of children, Nestroy used not only as a funny closing words, but as a convincing demonstration of his thesis, in which he originated of the "evil" reveals.

The talisman in music and comics

Titus Feuerfuchs (1958) is a burlesque opera in two acts by Heinrich Sutermeister (text and music) based on Nestroy's play.

The Austrian painter and comic artist Reinhard Trinkler adapted the work under the title Der Talisman for a graphic novel that was published in 2015 by Edition Steinbauer .



  • Helmut Ahrens : I'm not auctioning myself off to the laurel. Johann Nestroy, his life. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-7973-0389-0 .
  • Fritz Brukner / Otto Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. Historical-critical complete edition, tenth volume, published by Anton Schroll & Co., Vienna 1927.
  • Franz H. Mautner (Ed.): Johann Nestroys Komödien. Edition in 6 volumes, Insel Verlag , Frankfurt am Main 1979, 2nd edition 1981, 3rd volume. OCLC 7871586 .
  • Franz H. Mautner: Johann Nepomuk Nestroy Comedies. Insel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1979, 2nd edition 1995, Insel Taschenbuch No. 1742.
  • Otto Rommel: Nestroys Works. Selection in two parts, Golden Classics Library, German publishing house Bong & Co., Berlin / Leipzig / Vienna / Stuttgart 1908.
  • Otto Rommel: Johann Nestroy, Collected Works. Historical-critical complete edition, third volume, Verlag von Anton Schroll & Co., Vienna 1948–1949, new edition 1962; Pp. 417-507, 714, 726-730.

Web links

  • Content, people, text and music on: (accessed on June 16, 2014)
  • Summary and personal characteristics on: (accessed on June 16, 2014)

Individual evidence

  1. means Vienna.
  2. after the short haircut with curls (Titus's head) which has become fashionable in the French consulate .
  3. Plutzerkern = Viennese for pumpkin seed .
  4. Silver-maker  = seller of various life needs, e.g. B. Beer, lard, wood (Franz Seraph Huegel: The Viennese dialect: Lexicon of the Viennese vernacular. 1873).
  5. Pockerl, Bockerl  = Viennese for turkey ; also pine cones .
  6. already Abraham a Sancta Clara wrote Judas Iscariot red hair ( Judas the arch-rogue ); hence the folk etymology Iscariot  = is even red
  7. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy, Complete Works. P. 387.
  8. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. P. 393.
  9. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. P. 417.
  10. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. P. 493.
  11. ^ Table of contents in Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. Pp. 621-625.
  12. a b Ahrens: I'm not auctioning myself off to the laurel. Pp. 219-226.
  13. ^ Rommel: Johann Nestroy, Collected Works. P. 418.
  14. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. P. 613.
  15. Music collection of the Vienna Library in the City Hall, call number MH 758.
  16. ^ Brukner / Rommel: Johann Nestroy. Complete Works. Pp. 632–642 (applies to the entire chapter on contemporary reception ).
  17. bonmotistisch  = derived from Bonmot , witziger incidence.
  18. Bonaventure le beau Brun  = French, Bonaventure, the beautiful brown-haired.
  19. ^ Rommel: Nestroys Works. S. LVI-LVII.
  20. ^ Mautner: Johann Nestroys Komödien. Pp. 358-359.
  21. The talisman . Homepage - Edition Steinbauer .