Die Csárdásfürstin

Operetta by Imre Kálmán
Libretto by Leo Stein and Béla Jenbach, translation by Mart Sander
World premiere on November 17, 1915 at Johann Strauß-Theater (Vienna)
Premiere at the Estonian National Opera on September 16, 2010

Imre Kálmán is the third great composer of the Vienna operetta besides Johann Strauss and Franz Lehár. The operetta Ein Herbstmanöver that premiered at the Theater an der Wien in 1908 showed the talent of the young composer in this genre. Commissions for many theatre’s followed – seven more operettas fit between Ein Herbstmanöver and Die Csárdásfürstin that premiered in 1915. The brilliant, passionate and sentimental Die Csárdásfürstin is considered the peak of Kálmán’s creation and one of the most important pieces in the history of operetta. The composer tried to give dramatic profoundness to the plot line of the operetta and this is why Die Csárdásfürstin can be considered an operetta version of La traviata with a happy ending. The rhythms of waltz, czardas and foxtrot have been blended into the music of the piece. Die Csárdásfürstin already conquered the hearts of the audience in the dress rehearsal and the review published in Das Neue Wiener Journal after the successful premiere noted: “Kálmán has written very captivating music, the sound of his melodies offers an extraordinary lyrical pleasure!”

The stage director Mart Sander: “Die Csárdásfürstin is in a way of taking the easy way out, but then it cannot be argued: such melodies as “Machen wir’s den Schwalben nach” and “Ganz ohne Weiber geht die Chose nicht” are familiar even to those who have never been to theatre. It is a good material for a stage director: it can be staged as a real comedy or the tragic undertone of the story can be emphasised. Or it can tell a sincere story of the people who, being trapped in the cogwheels of social systems, yearn to be just people but cannot afford it. Since there are sharp parallels with the contemporary world in this nearly a hundred-year-old story, I decided to accentuate them not by modernising the subject matter but by “making it old” – I am trying to stage a show that sends a modern message despite its visual side being pronouncedly, almost ridiculously old-fashioned.“

Staging team

  • Music Director and Conductor: Jüri Alperten
  • Stage Director and Designer: Mart Sander
  • Choreographer: Marina Kesler
  • Fight choreography: Hellar Bergmann
  • Lighting Desinger: Anton Kulagin


  • Sung in Estonian with subtitles in Estonian and English
  • Approx. running time 3 h 35 min, two intermissions

See Also

Coming soon