Der Zigeunerbaron, Johann Strauss Jr.

Title Der Zigeunerbaron
English Title The Gypsy Baron
Composer Johann Strauss Jr.
Librettists Ignaz Schnitzler
Language German, Dutch translation available
Genre Comic opera (three acts)
First performance 24 October 1885, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Time of action 1742 – 1744
Place of action
  1. Southern Hungary
  2. Near a ruined castle in the same area
  3. Vienna
Main parts
  • Count Peter Homonay, tenor or high baritone
  • Count Ludovico Carnero, bass-baritone
  • Sándor Barinkay, tenor
  • Kálmán Zsupán, bass-baritone
  • Arsena, soprano
  • Mirabella, contralto or mezzo-soprano
  • Ottokar, tenor
  • Czipra, mezzo-soprano
  • Saffi, soprano
Prominence of chorus Large
Orchestra 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, harp, timp./percussion, strings
Special demands A large company is needed if complete performance of double chorusses in first finale is desired.
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level One of the more difficult operettas in the Viennese repertoire. The composer called it an opera.
Length About 2½ hours. Three acts

The composer spent two years’ work on this operetta, with obvious result. In close co-operation with the librettist, Johann Strauss Jr. has created a masterpiece, harmonically and melodically magnificent, wunderfully scored. Almost all its music is world-famous, for example the brilliant overture, Barinkay’s entrance-song, Zsupán’s very earthy song, Saffi’s csárdás, the free-love duet, the treasure-waltz, the gripping recruiting song and so on.


A charming rogue seeks the hand of a Hungarian swine-breeder’s daughter. The young lady, who has a secret relationship with a worthless cox-comb, tells him not to come back before he is a baron, at the least. Shortly afterwards he is made a wojwode by a troupe of gypsies, a title among them which is equal to that of baron. This does not satisfy the lady, who dislikes gypsies and gypsy-barons alike. The young man then chooses the poorest of the gypsy-girls to be his bride. When the poor girl turns out to be a Turkish princess, he feels unworthy of her and goes into the army. The third act brings a happy ending.

Costumes Eighteenth century: gypsies, hussars, country-folk
Pictures Bel Canto Oostzaan, 1993, scene from the 1st act Bel Canto Oostzaan, 1993, scene from the 1st act Bel Canto Oostzaan, 1993, scene from the 1st act
Link Wikipedia

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