Gasparone, Carl Millöcker

Title Gasparone
English Title
Composer Carl Millöcker
Librettists F. Zell (pseudonym of Camillo Walzel) and Richard Genée
Language German, Dutch translation available
Genre Light opera in 3 acts
First performance 26 January 1884, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Time of action About 1820
Place of action

Sicily, Syracuse

  1. The inn of Benozzo
  2. In the house of Countess Carlotta
  3. Square in Syracuse
Main parts
  • Countess Carlotta, soprano
  • Count Erminio, tenor
  • Nasoni, governor of Syracuse, bass-baritone
  • Sindulfo, his son, tenor
  • Benozzo, innkeeper, tenor
  • Sora, his wife, soprano
  • Massaccio, his uncle, bass-baritone
  • Zenobia, a lady-in-waiting, contralto
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
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level About the same as Der Bettelstudent (The Beggar Student).
Length Three acts; total time: about 2½ hours
Music Gasparone contains comic numbers, popular waltzes like Benozzo's "Er soll dein Herr sein!", lovely duets and ensembles. Sora's spirited tarantella (Anzoletto sang: "Komm mia bella!") returns as the closing number.
Story The remarkable thing about this operetta is that the character mentioned in the title never appears on stage. Governor Nasoni wants his good-for-nothing son to marry the lovely and rich countess Carlotta. When, however, her fortune appears to have been stolen, reputedly by the notorious bandit Gasparone, Nasoni withdraws the proposal of marriage. But then it turns out that the thief was not Gasparone but the young count Erminio, who thus wanted to reveal Nasoni's greed. Beside the main story there is a secondary plot. Sicily is a smugglers' paradise. The smugglers have ample scope because of Nasoni's inapt police force. The young innkeeper Benozzo is also secretly a smuggler. He doesn't want his wife Sora to know, so he invents all sorts of stories to account for his nocturnal absences. She suspects he is unfaithful, and is greatly relieved when she discovers the truth, for she prefers her husband to smuggle rather than to deceive her. There is a happy ending for all the characters who deserve one.
Costumes Smugglers, town's people, uniforms, liveries.
Note In structure, Gasparone resembles Millöcker's best-known work, Der Bettelstudent. It is, however, by no means inferior to it, and deserves greater popularity. The composer considered it one of his best works.
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Tags: Millocker | Zell | Knoppers