Court ball in Schönbrunn

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Work data
Title: Court ball in Schönbrunn
Shape: operetta
Original language: German
Music: August Pepöck
Libretto : Josef Wenter
Premiere: September 3, 1937
Place of premiere: Vienna
Place and time of the action: Vienna 1830
  • Fanny Elßler, prima ballerina of the imperial ballet ( soprano )
  • Napoleon Franz, Duke of Reichstadt ( tenor )
  • Dorette, Fanny's Maid ( Soubrette )
  • Jan, valet ( tenor buffo )
  • Friedrich von Gentz, Councilor of the State Chancellery (tenor)
  • Emperor Franz I (actor)
  • Marie Louise, his daughter (actress)
  • Prince Clemens Metternich, State Chancellor of Austria (actor)
  • Countess Orlowska (actress)
  • Count Caulaincourt (tenor)
  • four cavaliers (actors)
  • Stage manager (actor)
  • Dance folder (actor)
  • Theater servant (actor)
  • Fireman (actor)
  • Lackey (actor)
  • Society, ballet, Provençal singers, court slaves, stage workers, guards ( choir , ballet and extras)

Hofball in Schönbrunn is an operetta in a prelude and three acts by August Pepöck . Josef Wenter wrote the libretto . Bruno Hardt-Warden contributed the lyrics . It premiered on September 3, 1937 in Vienna .


Two flutes, an oboe, two clarinets, a saxophone, a bassoon, three horns, two trumpets, three trombones, a bass tuba, a banjo, a guitar, a harp, a celesta, a piano, percussion and strings

Place, time and sets

The operetta has a historical background, but does not take the historical facts very seriously. It is set in Vienna in 1830. Picture 1 (prelude) shows the stage of the court opera, picture 2 (act I) shows Fanny Elßler's dressing room , picture 3 (act II) shows a salon in Schönbrunn Palace and picture 4 (act III) shows the ballroom in this palace.


The young Napoleon Franz , son of Napoléon I , was made Duke of Reichstadt and now lives in Schönbrunn Palace as if in a golden cage. He dreams of becoming Emperor of France one day, like his father. His plans did not go unnoticed even by the Austrian emperor and his state chancellor. So everything must be done to dissuade him from his intentions. The pretty 20-year-old prima ballerina of the Vienna Court Opera, Fanny Elßler , should serve as a tool . Although both only act as pawns in big politics, the game soon becomes serious. They genuinely fall in love with each other.

Napoleon Franz wants to use the exuberant atmosphere at the court ball in Schönbrunn Palace to flee to France. A few friends who are loyal to the emperor help him with the preparations. Fanny is also privy to the plans and wants to leave the country with her lover. Unfortunately for both of them, there is a leak at the conspirators, which contributes to the fact that State Chancellor Metternich is informed of all the details of the escape plan.

As soon as Napoleon Franz has left the castle, he is seized by Metternich's captors. They force him to return to the ball immediately. As he and his lover weigh himself there in three-four time, Fanny suspects that this will be their last waltz together. The State Chancellor orders that Fanny has to go to London the next day.

Musical highlights

  • Most beautiful woman of Vienna (waltz song)
  • I know an officer (duet)
  • Let me hug you one more time, my love (duet)
  • O see, beloved, how the sea rests (Tango)
  • Girl, love comes in a polka step (duet)

See also

The dancer Fanny Elßler , an operetta with posthumous music by Johann Strauss (son) , which also deals with the encounter between the dancer and the Duke of Reichstadt, but comes to a different conclusion.