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The Gipsy Princess

Cover to studio cast recording

(Die Csárdásfürstin)

Music by Emmerich Kalman, Book & lyrics by Leo Stein and Béla Jenbach

Johann Strauss Theater, Vienna - 17 November, 1915
New Amsterdam Theatre, Broadway - 24 September, 1917 (Book and lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton as The Riviera Girl) - (78 perfs)
Prince of Wales Theatre, London - 20 May, 1921: Transferred to Strand Theatre (Book and lyrics by Arthur Miller and Arthur Stanley)

Still one of the most popular operettas on the Continent, and recently filmed with Anna Moffo in the title role. This is the story of the love of a famous cabaret star for a Prince who cannot marry a commoner. His mother, Princess Karen, eventually saves the day with a last minute disclosure about her own past. The score includes some of the most delightful operetta melodies ever written, and there are several good comedy parts.


Act 1 The Orpheum Cabaret Theatre, Konigradz The year 1905

The patrons of the Orpheum Cabaret Theatre are celebrating the final appearance of the singing star, Sylva Varescu, before her departure for a tour of America. Prince Peter von Leydersheim has become deeply attached to Sylva, and she to him. He is under pressure from his family to abandon this unsuitable liaison and return to Vienna but he cannot face the prospect of losing Sylva. As time is running out he has to make a decision. This becomes even more urgent when he is told to report to his regiment in Vienna. Peter makes up his mind and before leaving for Vienna he signs a document binding him to marry Sylva within three months. Her trip to America is to be cancelled. But unknown to Peter his parents have arranged a marriage between him and his cousin, Countess Anastasia (Stasi). Sylva is shown an announcement of Peter's engagement, assumes that he has cheated her and decides to fulfil her American contract accompanied by Boni as her manager.

Act 2 Prince Leppold von Leydersheim residence near Vienna.

Prince Leopold and Princess Karen (Peter's parents) are holding a soiree with the intention of announcing that Peter and Stasi are now formally engaged. Peter and Stasi enjoy an affectionate brother and sister relationship but Peter and Sylva's three months still have 24 hours to run and Peter, who has never understood why Sylva deserted him is still desperately hoping for news from America. Two unexpected guests arrive - Sylva and Boni. She has cut short her tour and persuaded Boni to bring her to tonight's reception, pretending that they are now man and wife. Peter is livid with Boni for his apparent treachery; Peter and Sylva are still in love and Stasi and Boni fall for each other at first glance. Peter persuades Sylva that she should divorce Boni but Sylva needs to be accepted as Sylva Varescu, cabaret singer, not the ex-wife of a Count whom she hasn't actually married. She storms out, dragging Boni with her. 

Act 3 The foyer of the Holzberg Hotel, Vienna, later the same night.

Sylva and Boni return to their hotel, but also staying there is an older friend Count Feri and the dancing girls from the Orpheum. A solution to this complicated series of events presents itself from an unexpected quarter and the classic happy ending ensues.

The Cast:

Sylva Varescu - A singing star
Kisch - A Notary
Prince Leopold von Leydersheim
Prince Karen von Leydersheim - his wife
Captain Eugen von Rohnsdorff - their son
Countess Stasi - their cousin
Count Bonifaska (Boni)
Count Ferencz (Feri)
Senator Bland - An American Diplomat
Mrs Bland - his wife
Miksa - Manager of the Orpheum cabaret


Act I - Orpheum Cabaret Theatre, Konigradz. Farewell performance of Sylva Varescu

Opening Chorus: Live, Love, Laugh (Sylva and Chorus)
Sextet: The ladies of the Chorus (Juliska, Aranka, Rizzi, Andrey, Feri and Boni)
Duet: Love Alone (Sylva and Peter)
Song: The Girls (Boni and Girls)
Supper Song: Fill a Glass (Principals and Chorus)
Song: I Was Born a Romany (Sylva and Ensemble)
Song: To Love and to Be Loved (Peter)
Finale - Act 1

Act II The residence of Prince Leopold von Leydersheim, near Vienna. The Betrothal Party

Opening: The Waltz Song (Peter, Stasi and Chorus)
Duet: Noblesse Oblige (Leo and Karen)
Duet: The Swallow Song (Stasi and Peter)
Song: How Could I Know? (Stasi)
Quartette: Nobody Else (Sylvia, Stasi, Peter and Boni)
Love, Love, Love! (Sylvia, Peter and Chorus)
Finale Act II

Act III - The entrance Hall of the Holzberg Hotel, Vienna. Later that evening.

Quartette & Chorus: Ladies of the Chorus (Juliska, Aranka, Rizzi, Andrey & chorus)
Trio: A Hundred Years From Now (Juliska, Andrey and Feri)
Reprise: The Girls (Boni and Girls)
Reprise: Noblesse Oblige (Leo and Karen)
Finale - Act III


Flute, oboe, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, percussion, harp, strings

Professional version

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 percussion, harp, celeste, strings

New performing versions:

Adaptation for amateur performance by Phil Park and Ronald Hanmer.
Professional Version: English book and lyrics by Nigel Douglas