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Kurt Weill

Der Zar lässt sich photographieren, Op. 21

Translated titleThe Czar Has His Photograph Taken
SubtitleOpera buffa in one act
Text AuthorGeorg Kaiser
Instrumentation2.2.2.2;; piano, timp, perc; strings; on-stage gramophone (for recording of "Tango Angèle")


Authorized translations

English: Jonathan Eaton; Lionel Salter; Lys Symonette


Angèle, a photographer, learns that the Czar (nation unspecified) is coming to her studio to be photographed. Others have learned the same thing; before the Czar arrives, she and her assistants are kidnapped and replaced by villains who plot to assassinate him. Their leader, the false Angèle, hides her gun in the camera. When the Czar arrives, he wants to get to know her and delays the proceedings, offers to take her picture and finally asks her to dance. The would-be assassins, meanwhile, have learned that the police are onto them, and they escape as the false Angèle breaks away during the tango. At last the real photographer returns, and the Czar has his photograph taken. Zar was one of the first operas to incorporate recorded sound, the "Tango Angèle" to which the Czar and the False Angèle dance.


The Czar (baritone), Angèle (soprano) the Assistant (tenor), the Boy (alto), the False Angèle (soprano), the False Assistant (tenor), The False Boy (alto), the Leader (tenor) the Czar's Aide (bass), two detectives, conspirators, officers, policemen. Male chorus in pit.

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