Ball im Savoy
Ball im Savoy is an operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...

 in three acts and a prelude
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

 by Paul Abraham
Paul Abraham
Paul Abraham was a composer of operettas.Abraham studied at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music in Budapest from 1910 to 1916...

 to a libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Alfred Grünwald
Alfred Grünwald (librettist)
Alfred Grünwald was an Austrian author, librettist, and lyricist. Some of his better-known works were written in conjunction with the composers Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Paul Abraham, and Robert Stolz.After the Anschluss the family emigrated to the United States in 1940 via France...

 and Fritz Löhner-Beda
Fritz Löhner-Beda
Fritz Löhner-Beda , born Friedrich Löwy, was an Austrian librettist, lyricist and writer.- Life :He was born in Wildenschwert, Bohemia ....


It premiered on 23 December 1932
1932 in music
-Events:*January 14 – Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto is premièred in Paris.*May 1 – The music to John Alden Carpenter's ballet Skyscrapers is recorded by the Victor Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Nathaniel Shilkret; in addition to be being issued as six sides on 78 rpm discs, the...

 at the Großes Schauspielhaus
Großes Schauspielhaus
The Großes Schauspielhaus was a theatre in Berlin, Germany, often described as an example of expressionist architecture, designed by Hans Poelzig for theatre impresario Max Reinhardt . The structure was originally a market built by architect Friedrich Hitzig, and it retained its external, gabled...

, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 The English language premiere was on 8 September 1933 at the Drury Lane Theatre
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, under the title Ball At The Savoy. This was Abraham's last major success.

Although Ball im Savoy is a relatively recent operetta, its characters follow the classic scheme: Aristide (tenor) is a rueful rake, excruciated by the possible betrayal. Madeleine (soprano) is a more modern person, ready to give as good as she gets, albeit plagued by scruples: a feminist before the term existed, who receives approval from the other women. Mustafa represents the stock comic. More interesting is Daisy (soubrette): sly, brave, she knows what she wants and how to get it.

The music

The score is more modern than the libretto, using an abundance of foxtrots and Latin American dances like tango
Tango (dance)
Tango dance originated in the area of the Rio de la Plata , and spread to the rest of the world soon after....

 and pasodoble
Pasodoble is a typical dance from Spain march-like musical style as well as the corresponding dance style danced by a couple. It is the type of music typically played in bullfights during the bullfighters' entrance to the ring or during the passes just before the kill...

. However, it also features the waltz
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in time, performed primarily in closed position.- History :There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance,- a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim...

 in its classic shape, known as the "English Waltz"
Waltz (International Standard)
Waltz is one of the five dances in the Standard category of the International Style ballroom dances. It was previously referred to as Slow Waltz or English Waltz....

. Sometimes —for example in the overture— Abraham inserts some more refined harmonic development, but only in sporadic flashes. His primary aim was, as he himself declared, to search for success, one eye to Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 and the other to the cinema.


Role Voice type
Voice type
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types...

Premiere cast, 23 December 1932
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

: )
Madeleine de Faublas (or Faublais) soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Gitta Alpár
Gitta Alpár
Gitta Alpár , was a Hungarian-born opera and operetta soprano.Gitta Alpár was born in Budapest as Klopfer Regina. At an early age she commenced the study of singing and pianoforte at the Academy of Budapest...

Marquis Aristide de Faublas, her husband tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Arthur Schröder
Daisy Darlington (Parker) (José Pasodoble), jazz composer soprano
Mustapha Bey, Turkish embassy attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

tenor Oszkár Dénes
Tangolita. Argentine dancer contralto
Contralto is the deepest female classical singing voice, with the lowest tessitura, falling between tenor and mezzo-soprano. It typically ranges between the F below middle C to the second G above middle C , although at the extremes some voices can reach the E below middle C or the second B above...

Trude Berliner
Trude Berliner
Trude Berliner was a German actress. She was one of many Jewish actors and actresses that were forced to flee Europe when the Nazis came to power in 1933....

Archibald, Aristide's servant baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Mizzi from Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey
Blanca from Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey
Lucia frome Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey
Mercedes from Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey
Trude from Berlin, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey spoken
Ilonka from Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, divorced wife of Mustapha Bey
Célestin Formant, lawyer spoken Victor de Kowa
Pomerol, headwaiter at the 'Savoy spoken
Monsieur Albert, head of a fashion house in Paris spoken
Ernest Bennuet, a young friend of Célestin spoken
Bébé, Madeleine's maid spoken
Guests at Faublas's, hotel guests and staff, ball guests, dancers

Act 1

Hall in a villa in Nice

The Marquis Aristide de Faublas and his wife Madeleine celebrate the return from their lengthy honeymoon in their villa in Nice, when a telegram
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

 from the dancer Tangolita arrives. In Aristide's turbulent past, he had promised her an intimate supper on a night of her choosing. Now she wants him to take her tonight to the annual Grand Ball at the Hotel Savoy. With the help of Mustafa Bey, Aristide persuades his wife that he has to go to the Savoy to meet the famous jazz musician José Pasodoble and that Madeleine can not go because the suitcase with her ball gown has not arrived. But Pasodoble is the pseudonym of Madeleine's American cousin, Daisy, so Madeleine now knows she is to be deceived.

Act 2

A foyer or lobby is a large, vast room or complex of rooms adjacent to the auditorium...

to the Ballroom of the Savoy in Paris

While Aristide meets his old friends from his bachelor days, Madeleine wants revenge. Hiding her face behind a veil, she flirts with Célestin Formant, a timid young man who hopes for the adventure of his life. Meanwhile, Mustafa is enchanted by Daisy.

Aristide and Tangolita withdraw for supper to a private dining room at the hotel, as do Madeleine and the courting Célestin. During dinner, Aristide asks for the telephone in order to call his wife, but the waiter Pomerol, accustomed to these situations, diverts the line to Madeleine's dining room, so that she can answer, pretending to be at home. Deeply disappointed, Madeleine decides to succumb to Célestin. While José Pasodoble receives praise from the Savoy Hotel and reveals her true identity, Madeleine announces publicly to have betrayed her husband.

Act 3

Hall in a villa in Nice

Madeleine's revenge receives general approval, while Aristide gets enraged in doubt: did she or did she not? Since Madeleine continues to confirm the betrayal, the Marquis calls a lawyer in order to start divorce proceedings. The lawyer arrives: it is Célestin Formant, but even from him Aristide cannot discover whether the betrayal took place. Mustafa proposes marriage to Daisy —and this time for life— but only if Aristide and Madeleine get reconciled, so Daisy reveals the truth to Aristide, and the couple gets re-united.

Notable arias

  • "Bist du mir treu?"
  • "Es ist so schön, am Abend bummeln zu geh'n"
  • "Tangolita"
  • "Toujours l´Amour"
  • "Wenn wir Türken küssen"
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