La princesse de Trébizonde

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Work data
Title: The Princess of Trebizond
Original title: La princesse de Trébizonde
Shape: Opéra-bouffe in three acts
Original language: French
Music: Jacques Offenbach
Libretto : Charles Nuitter, Etienne Victor Tréfeu de Tréval
Premiere: July 31, 1869
Place of premiere: Baden-Baden Theater
Playing time: about 2 hours
  • Prince Casimir ( tenor )
  • Cabriolo, showman ( bass )
  • Trémolini, clown (tenor)
  • Sparadrap, educator of Prince Raphael (tenor)
  • Paola, Cabriolo's daughter ( old )
  • Zanetta, Cabriolo's daughter ( soprano )
  • Prince Raphael, Prince Casimir's son ( mezzo-soprano )
  • Régina, tightrope walker (soprano)
  • Flaminio, Page (soprano)
  • Francesco, Page (soprano)
  • Brocoli, Page (soprano)
  • Riccardi, Page (soprano)
  • Finocchini, Page (soprano)
  • Borghetto, Page (soprano)
  • Lottery director (tenor or bass)
  • Two lottery employees (tenor)
  • Two young girls (soprano)
  • People, peasant women, jugglers, young girls, two young men, pages, functionaries ( choir )

La princesse de Trébizonde (German title: "The Princess of Trapezunt") is an Opéra-bouffe in three acts by Jacques Offenbach , which was premiered in Baden-Baden in 1869 .


first act

Fun fair in the vicinity of Paris, 19th century: The showman Cabriolo misses out on customers because his competitor, the lottery owner, attracts them with a lock as the first prize. Cabriolo's daughter Zanetta breaks her nose while dusting his wax figures of the “Princess of Trebizond”. She must now take the place of the wax figure princess herself in costume. Prince Raphael escapes his tutor Sparadrap and looks at the wax figure exhibition. As entry he pays with a lottery ticket. He falls in love with the "Princess of Trebizond". The main prize of the lottery is drawn. It wins the lot with which Prince Raphael paid for his entry. Cabriolo and his jugglers are now castle owners.

Second act

Terrace in front of the castle: The funfair jugglers don't like the castle life. A hunting party with Prince Raphael, his father Prince Casimir and Sparadrap comes by. Zanetta and Raphael recognize each other. Because his father would not allow an improper marriage, Prince Raphael explains that he only loves the "Princess of Trebizond". Prince Casimir finally buys the entire wax figure collection for his son.

Third act

Room in Casimir's castle: the pages are bored while guarding the wax figures. Prince Raphael simulates a toothache in order not to have to go hunting and to meet Zanetta. Prince Casimir suspects and returns surprisingly. Only when Prince Raphael reveals that his father once married a circus acrobat does the latter agree to marry Zanetta.


The world premiere took place in 1869 at the Baden-Baden Theater. Offenbach's own ensemble, the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens Paris, took to the stage. The Baden-Baden spa orchestra played. Offenbach himself conducted the premiere on July 31st, as well as the repeats on August 1st and 2nd. In December he published a revised version of the work at the Bouffes-Parisiens. There were resumptions there in 1871, 1875 and 1876. In 1888 it was played at the Théâtre des Varietes. Although it had already received excellent reviews in Baden-Baden, the work soon disappeared from the repertoire. Internationally it was performed in 1870 in Brussels, London, Madrid, Copenhagen, in 1871 in Naples, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Stockholm, Prague and Berlin.

Karl Kraus included it in the canon of his Offenbach readings in 1929. In 1932 there was a re-performance at the Städtische Oper Berlin, 1966 at the Theater an der Wien, 1975 in Braunschweig and 1985 at the Chamber Opera Vienna. In 2015, The Princess of Trebizond returned to its premiere location, the Theater Baden-Baden, with a new production. La princesse de Trébizonde is one of Offenbach's most successful works and has remained one of his most unknown.