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Kurt Weill

Der Kuhhandel

Subtitleoperetta in two acts
Year(s) composed1934
Text AuthorRobert Vambery
Instrumentation2.1.2 (alto and ten. sax).1;; harp, guitar (banjo, bass guitar), organ or harmonium (accordion), timp, perc; strings
Durationfull evening
PremiereOriginal Version, in German: June 18, 1994, Bautzen, Deutsch-Sorbisches Volkstheater, Wolfgang Poch, dir., Dieter Kempe, cond. in English adaptation as 'A Kingdom for a Cow': June 28, 1935, London, Savoy Theatre, Ernest Matrai and Felix Weissberger, dir., Muir Mathieson, cond.
Authorized translationsEnglish: Jeremy Sams
SynopsisThe Caribbean island of Santa Maria is the target of an unscrupulous arms dealer, who manages to sell a shipment of weapons to the pacifist president. He then stirs up the neighboring nation, which prepares to invade in order to defend itself. To make sure the war goes forward, the arms dealer organizes a coup in Santa Maria. Meanwhile, the rush to war is resisted by Juan, a humble peasant, whose cow is confiscated so the government can pay for the war effort. Sentenced to death, he is saved by the fact that none of the purchased weapons actually works. This discovery effectively halts the threat of war, Juan gets his cow back, and all ends happily, as the bad guys flee the island.
RolesSinging roles -- Juanita Sanchez (lyric soprano), Juan Santos (lyric tenor), President Mendez of Santa Maria (tenor buffo), Bimbi, the President's son (boy soprano), Ximenez (tenor buffo), Leslie Jones (operetta baritone), General Garcia Conchas (high operetta baritone), Bailiff (tenor buffo), Schoolmaster Emilio Sanchez (bass-baritone), Juan's mother (mezzo-soprano), Mme. Odette (mezzo-soprano), soldiers, guests, servants (tenors, baritones), chorus, SATB.

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