The Nuremberg Doll
DIE NUeRNBERGER PUPPE
In one act by A. ADAM.
Text by LEUVEN and BEAUPLAN, translated into German by ERNST PASQUE.
This Operette, though almost buried in oblivion, has been revived by
merit of its true comic humor, which is so rare now-a-days. The music
is very simple, but melodious and natural and in Bertha's part offers
ample scope to a good songstress.
The scene takes place in a toy-shop at Nuremberg. Cornelius the owner,
has an only son Benjamin, whom he dearly loves, notwithstanding his
stupidity, while he is most unjust to his orphan nephew, Heinrich, whom
he keeps like a servant, after having misappropriated the latter's
The old miser wants to procure a wife for his darling, a wife
endowed with beauty and every virtue, and as he is persuaded, that such
a paragon does not exist in life, he has constructed a splendid doll,
which he hopes to endow with life by help of doctor Faust's magic book.
He only awaits a stormy night for executing his design. Meanwhile he
enjoys life and when presented to us is just going with Benjamin to a
masked ball, after sending at the same time his nephew supperless to
bed.--When they have left Heinrich reappears in the garb of
Mephistopheles and clapping his hands, his fiancee Bertha, a poor
seamstress soon enters.
Sadly she tells her lover, that she is unable to go to the ball, having
given all her money, which she had meant to spend on a dress, to a poor
starving beggar-woman in the street.
Heinrich touched by his love's tender heart, goodhumoredly determines
to lay aside his mask, in order to stay at home with Bertha, when
suddenly a bright idea strikes him. Remembering the doll, which his
uncle hides so carefully in his closet, which has however long been
spied out by Heinrich, he shows it to Bertha, who delightedly slips
into the doll's beautiful clothes which fit her admirably.--
Unfortunately Cornelius and his son are heard returning, while Bertha
is still absent dressing. The night has grown stormy, and the old man
deems it favorable for his design; so he at once proceeds to open
Faust's book and to begin the charm.
Heinrich, who has hardly had time to hide himself in the chimney, is
driven out by his cousin's attempts to light a fire. He leaps down
into the room and the terrified couple take him for no other than the
Devil in person, Heinrich wearing his mask and being besides blackened
by soot from the chimney. Perceiving his uncle's terror, he profits by
it, and at once beginning a conjuration he summons the doll, that is to
say Bertha in the doll's dress. Father and son are delighted by her
performances, but when she opens her mouth and reveals a very wilful
and wayward character, Cornelius is less charmed. The doll
peremptorily asks for food, and Mephistopheles indicates, that it is to
be found in the kitchen. While the worthy pair go to fetch it,
Mephistopheles hastily exchanging words with his lady-love, vanishes
into his sleeping room.
The doll now begins to lead a dance, which makes the toymaker's hair
stand on end. She first throws the whole supper out of the window,
following it with plate, crockery, toys etc. Then taking a drum, she
begins to drill them, like a regular tambour-major, slapping their
ears, mouths and cheeks as soon as they try to approach her.
At last, when they are quite worn out, she flies into the closet. But
now the father's spirit is roused, he resolves to destroy his and the
Devil's work; however he is hindered by Heinrich, who now makes his
appearance, and seems greatly astonished at the uproar and disorder he
finds in the middle of the night. He only wants to gain time for
Bertha to undress and then escape.--
Resolutely the old man walks into the closet to slay the doll. But he
returns pale and trembling, having destroyed her while asleep, and
believing to have seen her spirit escape through the window with
fiendish laughter.--Yet awed by his deed, he sees Heinrich returning
who confesses to his uncle, that he has found out his secret about the
doll, and that, having accidently broken it, he has substituted a young
girl. Cornelius, half dead with fright, sees himself already accused
of murder; his only salvation seems to lie in his nephew's silence and
instant flight. Heinrich is willing to leave the country, provided his
uncle give him back his heritage, which consists of 10,000 Thalers.
After some vain remonstrances, the old man gives him the gold.
Heinrich having gained his ends, now introduces Bertha, and the wicked
old fool and his son see too late, that they have been the dupes of the
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