Die Zirkusprinzessin

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Emmerich Kálmán

Die Zirkusprinzessin (The Circus Princess) is an operetta in three acts by Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán to a German libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald. It premiered at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 26 March 1926 and went on to 344 performances there.[1]


The plot revolves around a romantic intrigue with interpolated circus sequences. The mysterious "Mister X", a dashing circus performer, is hired by a disappointed suitor of Princess Fedora Palinska to pose as a nobleman and marry her. "Mister X" is in fact a nobleman, the disinherited nephew of a deceased prince. One of the work's most well-known arias, Zwei Märchenaugen (Two fairy-tale eyes), has been recorded by several famous tenors, including Fritz Wunderlich,[2] Charles Kullman,[3] and Richard Tauber.[4]

International productions[edit]

The operetta was swiftly performed in Hungary, in an adaptation by Ernő Kulinyi and Imre Liptai, at the Király Színház in Budapest, on 24 September 1926. Productions in Sweden (Stockholm, Vasa-Teatern, October 6, 1926); Germany (Hamburg, Operetten-Teater, October 17, 1926), and - as Mister X - in Russia (Moscow, November 23, 1926). There were also productions during 1926 in Czechoslovakia, Italy, Finland and Poland.

An English language version, The Circus Princess, adapted by Harry B. Smith - first seen at the Apollo Theatre, Atlantic City, on April 4, 1927 - enjoyed a successful run at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City from 25 April 1927 starring Guy Robertson, Desiree Tabor, and Robert O'Connor. The circus sequences in the American production were particularly lavish, including equestrians, aerialists, and a famous clown of the day, Poodles Hanneford.[5] The show was staged by J. C. Huffman.[6]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 26 March 1926
(Conductor: – )
Fedja Palinski, Mr X tenor Hubert Marischka
Princess Fedora Palinska soprano Mizzi Zwerenz
Miss Mabel Gibson soprano Elsie Altmann
Toni Schlumberger tenor Fritz Steiner
Prinz Sergius Wladimir baritone Richard Waldemar
Count Sakusin
Lieutenant Petrovitsch
Director Stanislawski bass Hans Moser (actor)
Carla Schlumberger, hotel manager contralto Betty Fischer
Samuel Pressburger
Society, officers, circus people – chorus



Several Zirkusprinzessin films have been made, including The Circus Princess in 1925, Mister X in 1958 and The Circus Princess in 1982.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Traubner, Richard (2003) p. 271.
  2. ^ The Very Best of Fritz Wunderlich (EMI Classics 75915)
  3. ^ Charles Kullman - European Columbia Recordings (Nimbus Prima Voce NI7939)
  4. ^ Richard Tauber – Pardon, Madame! (Dutton CDBP9783)
  5. ^ Smith, Cecil (1981) p. 159.
  6. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2006-01-01). Enter the Playmakers: Directors and Choreographers on the New York Stage. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5747-6. Retrieved 2014-05-30.