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Offenbach
The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
Operetta in 3 Acts. (1867)
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy.
English Version by Adrian Ross and Ian Gledhill.

SYNOPSIS
The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein has, up to now, left affairs of state to her Chamberlain, Baron Puck, and her Commander-in-Chief, General Boum. Now that she is 21 Puck plans to keep her occupied by finding her a suitable husband, Prince Paul. Sadly the Grand Duchess shows no interest in the ineffectual Prince, so to distract her attention Puck declares war on the neighbouring state of Rottenburg. On the eve of battle the Grand Duchess comes to inspect her troops, and her attention is caught by a young soldier, Private Fritz. Although she is put out to learn he already has a sweetheart, Wanda, the Duchess rapidly promotes him to Captain. When Fritz ridicules General Boumís plan of campaign she invites him to take over as Commander-in-Chief. The new General Fritz leads his army off to war and soon achieves a resounding victory, and as reward the Grand Duchess installs him in the palace. She plans to offer him her favours, only to find he is intent on marrying Wanda. Incensed, she joins forces with Puck, Boum and Prince Paul in plotting Fritzís downfall. Just as it looks like Fritz will be assassinated on his wedding night, the Grand Duchess is diverted by a newcomer, Baron Grog, ambassador from Prince Paulís father. To keep Grog at her court she agrees to marry Paul, and Fritzís punishment is reduced to having his wedding night ruined and being demoted even more rapidly than he was promoted. Too late, the Grand Duchess discovers that Grog has a wife and four children of his own. Philosophically she decides that if you canít get what you like, you must learn to like what you can get!


2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon,
2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones,
percussion,
strings.

Orchestration

A military encampment
The Grand Duchessís throne room
The bedchamber of the Crimson Suite
The encampment, as in Act One


Act One:
Act Two:
Act Three, scene 1:

Act Three, scene 2:

Settings

Soldiers, peasant girls, vivandiers, ladies in waiting. (SATTBB) 55%


Chorus

Iza (soprano)
Olga (soprano)
Amelie (mezzo)
Charlotte (mezzo)

Nepomuc (baritone)
Baron Grog (bass)

Lesser Roles

The Grand Duchess (mezzo-soprano)

Wanda (soprano)

Fritz (tenor)
General Boum (bass)
Puck (tenor or baritone)
Prince Paul (tenor)

Major Roles