DIE BLAUE MAZUR
(The Blue Mazurka)
(Music by Franz Lehár:Book and lyrics by Leo Stein and Bela
Jenbach: * English by Harry Graham) - (1920)
Presented at Daly's Theatre, London - Opened 19 February 1927
Act I: The Medallion - Olinski Castle near Vienna.
The lord of the castle, and a Polish count, Julian Olinksi has just married in secret, since it is the fate of man to be bound in rosy chains. His ravishing Viennese bride, Blanka von Lossin thinks otherwise. After all, she knows that what gives life meaning is devoting one's whole life to one truly loved. She, herself, is an orphan and has inherited from her late mother, a talisman of wedded bliss, a little medallion; but opening it is strictly forbidden, with one exception - when great sorrow occurs in marriage. When she tells Julian all of this, he immediately feels as if he were in a novel, and demands her to follow him into the land of love.
Gretl Aigner, from the court ballet, suddenly bursts in. She is the Count's last lover, and is in a rage because of her lover's secret wedding. It is only with difficulty that his old drinking companion Adolar von Sprintz, is able to prevent her from spoiling the wedding celebrations. There is at least one explanation for Julian's contemptible behaviour, namely, that every man is a monster. Following his base instincts, he craves the female company. He can love deeply, but faithful he can never be.
Adolar is such an example in his own right, inasmuch as two souls can dwell in this heart at the same time. In the morally strict eyes of his uncle he plays the inhibited, hardworking student, Engelbert, but then at night he becomes a wolf and searches out the ladies. It is hardly surprising that Blanka has forbidden her husband from associating with this gambler, drinker and ladykiller, not knowing that her spouse once was even worse. She insists that Adolar be sent awayimmediately. Julian suddenly realises that he has lost his earlier freedom; from now on he must love only one woman.
He unburdens his thoughts to Adolar when he says that he means everything to Blanka - becausehe is her first love. "And what is she to me - to me, who has kissed so many women? One woman, more - no more!.
Unfortunately for him, Blanka has been spying on him from the balcony above. Even more unlucky for Julian is that Gretl again appears in order to create a scandal.. This time she succeeds in doing so. Blanka takes the medallion, opens it, and inside finds a note with her mother's message that she should seek refuge with Baron von Reiger. She asks the chauffeur to wait for her and when Julian returns declares their marriage to be null and void.
Meanwhile, the peasants in national festive dress , in keeping with Polish custom, pay their respects to the wedding couple. Blanka plays the role of the happy bride, first with some difficulty, thenbwecoming happier in the dance before fleeing unnoticed. While Julian desperately looks for her, the guests sing a serenade to the couple, thinking that they have stolen away for their wedding night. As if out of spite, his friend Freyhoff hands over Blanka's medallion to him, and now he realises that he wants to love only one woman and that one woman is his wife!
Act II: The Old Boys- The Gentleman's room at the residence of Baron von Reiger in Vienna.
The baron and his two old friends Klammdatsch and Planting nostalgically recall the days of their youth, for nothing invokes the happiness of the old boys than their memories.
Blanka, who has come straight from her wedding, puts an abrupt end to their reminiscing. The stunned Reiger is again overcome by his memories for he once loved Blanka's mother. Blanka tells him her story. Reiger immediately presents to her his good nephew Engelbert, known as Engerl, (Little Angel), a young man with thick books under his arm. He reminds her of someone unpleasantly familiar. Doubtless a case of mistaken identity involving his misguided twin brother, Adolar, as Engelbert falsely and regrettably informs her.
The celesta and wedding waltz arouse hidden feelings in the lonely woman; she longs for love with fiery passion. She undoes her hair slowly, fingers her dress whilst lost in thought. She indulges in reminiscences about her faded love, as a cold shiver comes over her. Overcome by fatigue she finally falls asleep. Reiger covers her with a blanket, and Juljan's voice becomes audible in a visionary experience.
Act Ill: The Blue Mazurka - Set in Baron von Reiger' country estate near to the residence
A spirited dance waltz is heard. Everybody dances, only Blanka, day-dreaming, sees herself receiving a magnificent bouquet of red roses. An accompanying note announces the arrival of her husband. Before the baron can close all the doors, he too is standing in the festive space. To Blanka's surprise, instead of remonstrating with her, he gives her her freedom: The dream has been dreamed out, but just dancing together, things go better than was thought possible.
The old boys have hardly come to terms with this new development when they are consoled: Gretl Aigner, as always, comes bursting in without prior notice and sings the dance song. But this is not why she has come. She wants to make amends for the chaos she has caused. These two people must be happy again. The two people of course have difficulties enough dancing a mazurka together that is being played in honour of Olinski. There is a special reason for this: the mazurka is the blue mazurka. The blue mazurka is the last dance at every Polish feast, and is one which is danced at dawn. It is danced when he and she have found each other. The Pole dances the blue mazurka with one woman alone, with one woman alone, for whom he fights and whom he courts, for whom he lives, for whom he dies!
In the meantime Gretl, havinghaving assuaged her conscience, resolves to vanish from the picture. Adolar, who has just rid himself of Engelbert, is supposed to help her in this. Julian's last resort is a decree of divorce. He hands it over to Blanka as a farewell present but should not be announced until he has danced the blue mazurka with his fellow Poles. The blue mazurka? Doesn't a Polish man dance it only with his one and only? Questions and more questions. Julian cannot bring himself to telling the story of Count Olinski, who on his wedding night, lamented his lost liberty and maligned the chains of marriage, and whose wife, thereupon, ran away from him. Since then he has desperately sought her; he has found her and gives her her freedom. For only then can he test her heart, to see if a little spark of love might still be glowing in it. Blanka understands the story only too well. She hesitates for a while, and then tears up the document which was a test of her heart.
Fanfares sound and the mazurka noisily begins; the rising sun shines on the dancing couple. Not until the ball is over and done does a genuine Polish man go on his way homel
Cast (Principals: 2 Female, 3 Male, SATB Chorus)
Blanka von Lossin (Soprano)
Gretl Aigner (Soprano)
Julian Graf Olinski (Tenor)
Adolar (Engelbert) von Sprintz (Tenor)
Clemens Freiherr von Reiger (Baritone)
Albin Edler von Planting (Baritone)
Leopold Klammdatsch (Baritone)
Jan von Zastoja (Baritone)
von Hanschmann (Baritone)
von Freyhoff (Baritone)
Language Versions: F. G. I.
*Selected arias only
The Blue Mazurka
Love's the Richest Prize
Life Is a Beautiful Garden
Shine Bright Moon
Three Masked Dances
World of Love
Just Look Around
I Hate You
When She Is Yours At Last
I'm Shy Young Chap