The one-act Singspiel Der Schreiner (The Carpenter) premiered at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on 18 July 1799. Well received, it was given 25 performances at the court theatres and was also staged in Hamburg under the title Der Tischler.
The libretto was provided by the dramatist August Von Kotzebue (1761-1819), who adapted an earlier Lustspiel (comedic play) from 1787 with the same title by writer Paul Weidmann (1744-1801). Weidmann, having been taken aback by the surprise adaption of his play, quickly published his own Singspiel adaption with a pointed preface aimed at Kotzebue.
by Daniel Bernhardsson
The carpenter, Simon, and his apprentice, Nikodem, are building a room for the rich widow, Frau con Sternwald when his maid, Märtchen walks past the window. Simon calls her over and bullies her into giving him the basket of fritters she is carrying. He discovers that his wife has baked love-notes into her fritters and has sent them to another man, Dr. Marsan, to invite him to a rendezvous. Simon is dumbstruck, and Frau von Sternwald is furious because she and Dr. Marsan were to be married. Simon confides his troubles to his father-in-law, the locksmith, Herr Thomas, who reveals that the art of baking love-notes in fritters is a family tradition. Herr Thomas is not at all alarmed and offers his son-in-law the same solution that was offered him as a young cuckolded husband, a gift of 2000 Gulden. He suggests Simon can in turn pass it on to his son-in-law one day. Simon finds this to be a reasonable solution. Simon and Thomas visit the hapless Dr. Marsan and tell him that Judith is sick and needs his attention.
Working in her kitchen, Judith sings of her loneliness. She is bored and neglected, and feels that she is only a slave to her husband. Judith confesses to Märtchen that she really loves Simon, and she feels guilty for inviting Dr. Marsan – there is really nothing between them, she only likes to listen to him talk because he knows how to flatter a woman. Suddenly, Simon enters and announces to Judith that he knows everything and Dr. Marsan himself has betrayed her secret (Marsan, of course, knows nothing of this, having never received the infamous fritters). When Marsan arrives, he and Judith are left alone long enough for her to confront him with his treachery and tell him that she never wants to see him again. The Frau von Sternwald storms in and calls the wedding off. She knows Marsan does indeed flirt with his female patients and this is the final straw. Thomas brings the money for Simon, Simon forgives Judith, and everyone but poor Dr. Marsan joins in the chorus about how the married man who can endure fritters with a smile is to be praised.
by Marisa Solomon
Scoring: 2 Fl, 2 Ob, 2 Cl, 2 Bsn, 2 Hn, 2 Tpt, Timp & Strings
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