Der Bettelstudent, Carl Millöcker

Title Der Bettelstudent
English Title The Beggar Student
Composer Carl Millöcker
Librettists F. Zell (pseudonym of Camillo Walzel) and Richard Genée
Language German, Dutch translation available
Genre Light opera in 3 acts, 4 scenes
First performance 6 December 1882, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Time of action 1704 in the city of Cracow, Poland, during the reign of August II, Elector of Saxony
Place of action
  1. first scene: courtyard of citadel of Cracow
    second scene: spring fair in market-place in Cracow
  2. Hall in the house of the Nowalska family
  3. Garden of the same house
Main parts
  • Countess Palmatica Nowalska, contralto or mezzo-soprano
  • Laura, her elder daughter, soprano
  • Bronislawa, her younger daughter, soprano
  • Colonel Ollendorf, baritone
  • Jan Janicki, 2nd tenor
  • Symon Rymanowicz, 1st tenor
Prominence of chorus Chorus very prominent
Orchestra 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani/percussion, strings
Special demands Stage band required in finale I
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level The work is not particularly difficult to perform
Length Three acts; total time: about 2½ hours
Music One of the most popular works in the German repertoire. Many familiar tunes

Colonel Ollendorf takes revenge for a blow Laura Nowalska dealt him with her fan. He gets a penniless student from prison and passes him off as a millionnaire to the old but bankrupt Nowalska family. Thus he almost brings about their downfall, but of course there is a happy ending.


The opera is often done in Louis XV style (white wigs etc). This is not really right. The historical setting is clearly indicated: Cracow, 1704. The style of the period of Louis XIV would be more correct, with 'allonge' wigs and costumes as seen in a Molière comedy.

Pictures Odeon Alkmaar 2015 - opening of the play Odeon Alkmaar 2015 - market scene OdeonAlkmaar 2015 - 2nd act
Link Wikipedia

< La Belle Hélène | Track | Boccaccio >

Tags: Millocker | Zell | Fransen