Libretto by Kurt Kusenberg (G)
S,A,2T,2Bar,B,speaking role-mixed choir
Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes
for the world.
Suddeutscher Rundfunk, Stuttgart
|AGNES, his daughter, the lieutenant's bride
|WIDOW ABT, a baker's wife
|SERGEANT, her second husband
||Tenors / basses
|Male and female citzens, Soldiers, Slave-drivers
Time and Place
Tottenburg, the Middle Ages
The emperor wants to force the free city of Tottenburg to pay a war tax to finance his wars. But the citizens of Tottenburg offer fierce resistance and hold out against the siege by the emperor’s troops. The soldiers are suffering from poor morale, all the more as they have not been paid their wages for months. As the lack of discipline can only be made up with money and with fresh troops, the adjutant travels to Vienna for support from the emperor. In the meantime, more and more soldiers abandon their cause and secretly make friends with the people of Tottenburg, and many a soldier finds his love among the city’s daughters. Lieutenant Thomas, too, visits Agnes every night; she pretends to be the mayor’s housemaid, but in fact she is his daughter. The mayor himself seeks to achieve a liaison between her and the field commander in order to obtain not only peace but also a body of armed troops for the city. Thomas becomes a witness of one of the peace sessions without being noticed; he misunderstands, feels betrayed and withdraws from Agnes. When the adjutant unexpectedly returns from Vienna with money and troops, Thomas becomes a supporter of his cause again. A letter by Agnes sorts things out and reconciles the parties at the last moment. Behind the adjutant’s back, Thomas prepares his soldiers for the peaceful attack. Thus the city of the friendly Tottenburgers is taken by storm – followed by mutual embraces.