The tsarevich

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Operetta dates
Title: The tsarevich
Photo of a performance at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, 1973

Photo of a performance at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse , 1973

Shape: Operetta in three acts
Original language: German
Music: Franz Lehár
Libretto : Bela Jenbach , Heinz Reichert
Literary source: Gabriela Zapolska : Carewicz
Premiere: February 21, 1927
Place of premiere: German Art Theater Berlin
Playing time: approx. 2 ½ hours
Place and time of the action: Petersburg and Naples, late 19th century
  • the tsarevich ( tenor )
  • the grand duke, his uncle ( character role )
  • the prime minister
  • the chief steward
  • Sonja ( soprano )
  • the valet
  • Ivan, the Leiblakai ( Buffo )
  • Masha, his wife ( soubrette )
  • a princess
  • a countess
  • Olga
  • Vera
  • Bordolo
  • Lina
  • 1. lackey
  • 2nd lackey
  • a senior officer
  • Ladies of the aristocracy, officers, dancers, dancers, singers, singers, girls, guards, Circassians, Circassians, lackeys. Ballet: sylphids, Russian couples, bacchantes, bacchantes (choir, extras)

The Tsarevich is an operetta in three acts by Bela Jenbach and Heinz Reichert , the music was composed by Franz Lehár . The world premiere took place on February 21, 1927 in the German Art Theater in Berlin . The operetta is considered to be one of Franz Lehár's late works that begin with Paganini and end with Giuditta . The tsarevich like the other works of the composer's last creative phase are musically approaching opera. Both the textbooks and the music are much more dramatic than in the composer's earlier dance operettas and there is no happy ending at the end . In the Tsarevich and, for example, in the land of smiles , the tragic hero has to do without his great love.


Alexei, the tsar's son, is the heir to the throne of the Russian Empire . He is a bit strange and has so far refused any contact with women. The imperial family worries about the future of the dynasty, because how is the crown prince supposed to marry and have children if he refuses contact with women. His uncle now takes the initiative and uses a ruse. He smuggles the ballet girl Sonja disguised as a man into Alexej. He hopes that the Crown Prince will soon recognize his true identity and have his first experience with a woman. In fact, it doesn't take long for the Crown Prince to uncover the facts. At first he is outraged, but lets Sonja calm him down. She suggests that he play his lover to the outside world in order to satisfy the imperial family. Alexei accepts this suggestion. As a result, the two fall in love and Sonja actually becomes the heir to the throne's mistress. According to the family, Sonja has fulfilled her duty with this. In any case, it is out of the question for a befitting marriage. Consequently, it should be removed from the Crown Prince's environment. The couple in love refuses to comply with this request. Under pressure from her scheming uncle, she untruthfully declares that as a dancer she has already passed through many hands . The uncle hopes to be able to convince his nephew of the necessity of the separation. The plan fails, however, because Sonja confesses the truth to her lover and her lie only came about under pressure from her uncle. Alexej and Sonja stay together, to the horror of the imperial family. Since the pressure from this side is getting stronger, the couple flees together with their servants Ivan and Mascha to Naples , where the third act of the operetta is set. The two spend a good time there until their whereabouts are discovered. Now the uncle again appeals to his nephew to think about his duties as heir to the throne and to get a marriage befitting his status. Then a message comes from the court of the tsars. Alexei is told that his father has died. As the previous heir to the throne, he is now the new Emperor (Tsar) of the Russian Empire. Thereupon the lovers separate with a heavy heart. From now on, Alexej and Sonja will go their separate ways because the state of affairs demands it.


As with all the operettas in his last creative phase since Paganini , Franz Lehár also tailored the Tsarevich to the great tenor Richard Tauber . He wrote some in-depth songs in the score, of which the Wolga song became the best known. The music, which at times seemed like an opera, and Tauber's singing ensured the work's great success. It was also made known to a large audience with the help of the media of the time (radio, records, film). The work has remained on the repertoire of theaters to this day, albeit not to the same extent as in the first few years after its premiere. Titles from this operetta, especially the Wolga song, are also played at concerts

Sound carrier

The operetta has been recorded several times on record or CD. A CD recording from 2009 with the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Choir under the overall direction of Ulf Schirmer should be mentioned here . Alexandra Reinprecht , Christina Landshamer , Matthias Klink and Andreas Winkler took part as soloists . This recording was released in 2010 by the CPO label. An older recording with the Graunke Symphony Orchestra conducted by Willy Mattes was made in 1968. The choir of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich sang in this version. The most important soloists were Nicolai Gedda , Hans Söhnker , Rita Streich , Harry Friedauer and Ursula Reichart. This recording was re-released in 2011 as a CD under the Cologne Collection label .

DVD release

In 2007 the 1973 operetta film was released on DVD on the DGG label . The main actors were Teresa Stratas , Wiesław Ochman and Harald Juhnke . The production was done by Arthur Maria Rabenalt .



The orchestral line-up of the operetta includes the following instruments:

Music numbers

The above-mentioned recording from 1968 comes from the following music numbers, which also correspond to the score of the work:

  1. Introduction and choir: There is a soldier on the edge of the Volga - We Circassians need neither goods nor money
  2. Melodrama
  3. I only call you my own - swing, love, swing (duet Ivan - Mascha)
  4. Someone will come, he will desire me (Sonja)
  5. Wolga song, There is a soldier on the edge of the Volga (Tsarevich)
  6. Finale I A woman, you a woman ... Champagne is a fire wine ... There is a soldier on the edge of the Volga (Sonja - Tsarevich)
  7. Introduction and song: Heart why are you beating so anxiously (Tsarevich - choir)
  8. Stay with me ... have only you alone (Tsarevich - Sonja)
  9. Girl, happy girl - kiss me (Tsarevich - Sonja)
  10. What I once liked about you - This evening I'll come to you (duet: Ivan - Mascha)
  11. Waltz song: I'm a blissful human child - Life is calling (Sonja)
  12. The little girls are waiting - love me, kiss me (duet: Sonja - Tsarevich)
  13. Finale II (everyone) Sit down - We Circassians need neither goods nor money - I was intoxicated by the dance at home - Now I know what life is
  14. Cosende waves - Why does every spring have only one May (duet: Sonja - Zarewitsch)
  15. Come to my chest - When your tender heart is crying out for love (Duet: Ivan - Mascha)
  16. Finale III (all) For the great tsar ... Why is there only one May every spring?

Effect of the Wolga song

The Wolgalied was the combination of melodic simplicity with poignant sentimentality to one of the most famous pop operetta history. It found literary expression in Günter Grass ' volume of short stories Mein Jahrhundert .

Text of the Wolga song

Alone! alone again!
Lonely as always.
The youth rushes by
in long, anxious loneliness.
My heart is heavy and my mind is cloudy!
I'm sitting in the golden cage.

There is a soldier on the edge of the Volga, keeping
watch for his fatherland.
In a dark night alone and far away
No moon, no star shines for him!
The steppe is silent, motionless,
A tear rises in his eye:
And he feels how it eats and gnaws in his heart,
When a person is abandoned and he complains,
And he asks :!

Did you forget about me up there?
My heart longs for love too.
You have many angels with you in heaven!
Send one of them to me too.


Angelos Grimanis made his debut as a dancer when it was first performed in Berlin in 1927 .


  • Norbert Linke : Franz Lehár. Rororo-Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2001, p. 81ff.
  • Reclam's operas and operetta guides. 15th edition 1978, operetta section, pages 155–156.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Klügl : The Tsarevich. In: Piper's Encyclopedia of Musical Theater . Volume 3: Works. Henze - Massine. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-492-02413-0 , pp. 457-459.