2004-2008 “Prinzessin Süssüsan”. Opera for 10 soloists, choir and orchestra. Commissioned by the State Opera Bonn, Germany.


“Prinzessin Süssüsan” (Princess Süssüsan)
by Sandeep Bhagwati (Composition, Libretto) and Peter Truschner (Libretto)

Children’s Opera in 19 scenes with Prologue and Epilogue
for 10 singers, three choirs and large orchestra

World Premiere: February 22, 2008 (plus 15 performances until June)
Opera Bonn
Am Boeselagerhof 1
53111 Bonn

Musical Direction – Sibylle Wagner
Stage Direction – Mark Daniel Hirsch
Stage – Uta Heiseke
Costumes – Dieter Hauber

Princess Süssüsan has no easy life. She cannot go anywhere without her stupid bodyguards Ratz and Fatz. And yet she often succeeds in giving them the slip. One day her father, the king, has had enough. He commands Süssüsan to stay at home until further notice. This is too hard a punishment – and for her there is only one solution – to sneak out of the castle.

Her life in freedom, though, does not last long. She is kidnapped by the evil bandit baron, Brumbubu, who demands a princely ransom – all the king’s possessions ! But sly Süssüsan is not so easily subdued. She befriends her prison guard, Tigär, a talking tiger, a prisoner himself who also has a goose to cook with Brumbubu. Together they plan their escape – in the aftermath of a big bandit drunkfest, when all bandits have passed out. But they are spotted by Brumbubu who rouses his men and sets off in pursuit.

Meanwhile Süssüsan’s Great-Aunt Purlupan mobilises the king and his hapless generals to take action. They march towards Brumbubu’s stronghold and, while resting in a forest clearing, perceive Süssüsan and Tigär running towards them. Süssüsan convinces them that she is not threatened by the tiger, but rather by the bandits. Brumbubu menacingly appears on the scene, but without his men – in the preceding chase they have all drunkenly stormed against trees, fallen over roots and stones etc. He is arrested without much trouble, and the King proceeds to put everything in order.

But suddenly he is interrupted: Ratz and Fatz, the two slapstick bodyguards, have surfaced now and then during the action, always to hopelessly muddle the situation. Now they are still looking for the abducted princess, stumble onto the scene, and once more manage to create an avalanche of misunderstandings and chaotic tumult which ends the opera, inconclusively.

The Pro- and Epilogue are two songs by Süssüsan, with identical music and different text, that would allow to remember the entire opera as an elaborate daydream. Interspersed in the action are little canons and songs for the children and their parents in the audience.