DER FALSCHE PRINZ. Oper nach einem Märchen von
Wilhelm Hauff

Composer: Ostendorf, Jens-Peter
Playing time: 90:00
Opus/Year: (1989)
Genre: Children's opera
Instrumentation: S, MS, A, 3 T, Bar, 3 B 3(auch 2 Blfl),2,1,SoprSax,AltSax(auch Claves),0 - Pos (auch 2 Tempelbl) - Pk, Schl (3 Spieler: u.a. Holzbl, Cowbells, Tomt, kl. Tr, gr. Tr, Tam-t, Gl, Marimb, Vibr), Keyboard, Va, Vc - Tbd
Premiere performance: 26.11.1989 / Mannheim / D / Nationaltheater Mannheim


The tailor Labakan dreams of being a prince. One day, when he receives an assignment to alter the gala robe of Prince Selim, he cannot resist the temptation and tries on the robe himself. The precious robe fits like a glove – Labakan does not even take it off, but sets out on a trip wearing the state garment so as to find out what it is like to be a prince. In a caravan he meets Omar, who tells him that he grew up abroad and is supposed to meet his father, the Sultan, the next day. On an impulse, Labakan steals the sign of recognition (a dagger) from the sleeping Omar, and sets off for the arranged meeting place. The next morning the Sultan does indeed arrive with his entourage. The joy over the returned son does not last long, however, because Omar arrives there in a hurry, accusing Labakan of theft. The latter denies everything and maintains that Omar is a mad tailor. The Sultan has Omar chained up. The Sultan’s wife, waiting in the palace, does not recognise her son in Labakan, but in Omar. A fight ensues which is only ended when the Sultan commands that Omar be taken away, but that Labakan be dressed as a prince. The servant girl Melechsalah thinks out a test: the one who sews the most beautiful caftan will reveal himself to be a tailor. The test takes place with the approval of the Sultan. Labakan delivers a magnificent sample of his art, but Omar throws his sewing things at the feet of the Sultan. Following the advice of the fairy Adolzaide, the young men are tested again: faced with the choice of two boxes, Labakan finds a needle in the “happiness and wealth” box that he has chosen; Omar finds a crown and sceptre in the “fame and honour” box. The real prince has been found and Labakan is hounded out of the court. The poor tailor must now acknowledge that he was not made to be a prince, but he is more than compensated by the fairy Adolzaide, who makes him the most famous tailor in the Orient.