The success of Lehár’s Paganini (1925) prompted the composer to continue in the direction of historical drama. Thus, Der Zarewitsch (1927) was loosely based on a true story - that of Alexei, son of Russian Tzar Peter the Great. The operetta was written as a vehicle for acclaimed Austrian tenor – and long-time collaborator – Richard Tauber, whose voice and stage presence almost ensured the success of Lehár’s later works. Tauber once claimed that he and Lehár were brothers, without the luxury of a blood relationship. Lehár found Berlin audiences more responsive to his Romantic voice and relocated to Berlin shortly before beginning Der Zarewitsch, which thus received its premiere there in 1927. Lehár establishes the local colour of the operetta’s Russian milieu through orchestration, including balalaikas, and the use of the Neapolitan sixth chord and various church modes to create an exotic flavour. SYNOPSIS: The son of Russian Tzar Peter the Great, Alexei, places himself in exile by running away with a male dancer. Eventually, the young prince discovers that boy is actually a girl, Sonja, in disguise. The two fall in love and escape to Naples. Eventually the Zarewitsch learns that his father has died and he knows his relationship can not continue with Sonja as he is now the Tsar. The operetta ends with a bittersweet parting.
2(2 dbls Picc.).2.2.Tsax.2. / 126.96.36.199. / Timp / Perc / Bnjo / Cel / Hp / Str Stage Music