DYADO LIBEN – a wealthy man from Koprivshtitza
DELA – his wife
PAVLIN – their son
HADJI GENCHO – primary school teacher
TSONA – his wife
LILYANA – their daughter
YANKA – maid
IVAN – farmhand at Dyado Liben
ERCHO – the Nightingale
GERCHO – the Doctor
GIPSY – fortune-teller
NAYDA – a friend of Lilyana’s

Choir, orchestra, ballet
Location – town of Koprivshtitza
Mid-19 century


Beautiful Bulgarian town of Koprivshtitza. Lilyana and her girlfriends are amusing themselves with song and dance. When her father arrives, all women surround him solicitously, as typical for the patriarchal mores of the time. Hadji Gencho wants to marry his beautiful daughter Lilyana to Pavlin – the son of Liben Ludomladovets, but says nothing to his womenfolk to torment them a bit. Dyado Liben too would like to be his Lila future daughter-in-law. The two young people are in love.
The peasant girl Yanka, a maid at Hadji Gencho’s house, and Dyado Liben’s farmhand Ivan are in love too, but he is afraid to ask for her in marriage without the approval of his employer. Ivan comes to announce Dyado Liben’s visit and admits his love to Yanka.
Naturally, whenever an engagement or a marriage is in the air, the first to learn are the local busybodies Ercho the Nightingale and Gercho the Doctor. They have found out that there is a wedding in the air and come unbidden to eat and drink at somebody else’s expense.
Dyado Liben arrives. After beating about the bush for a long time, he finally comes to the point – a union of the two families. Everybody is happy. Ivan and Yanka also dream of a wedding, but the boy is vacillating. In the meantime, having enjoyed too much strong drink, the two older men have become unreasonable and take up their eternal argument – which nation is superior – the Russians or the English! They part company in anger and the upcoming wedding is again doomed to fall through.
The village gossip-mongers Ercho and Gercho start the rumor that there is a vampire in Hadji Gencho’s house.

Dyado Liben’s house. His son Pavlin is dreaming of sharing his life with his beloved Lilyana. The mother Dela is worried about her only son. Dyado Liben comes accompanied by the village gossips expecting another free meal. He wouldn’t listen to his wife’s advice to mend the fences with Hadji Gencho and quarrels with Pavlin. Dela manages to outwit her husband and sends Ivan to call Hadji Gencho so they can make up and discuss the engagement.
The Gipsy fortune-teller arrives and foretells a wedding, many children and long life together to Ivan and Yanka. Engrossed in the fortune-telling, the two young lovers forget about the orders of their ladies to invite Dyado Liben and Hadji Gencho to reconcile them.
The two old men meet again and start another argument – this time about who makes the best wine. Dela again tries to calm everybody. Reconciliation is achieved, the two of them come to an agreement, everybody is happy and starts singing.

The only topic for conversation in Hadji Gencho’s house is the upcoming wedding. Lilyana sings her song, admitting her great love for Pavlin. Feverish preparations ensue.
Pavlin comes bearing gifts. The parents leave the young people alone for a short while. Pavlin and Lilyana share in a love duet their great love. They are now promised to each other and Pavlin leaves to bring his parents so they can all celebrate the engagement.
Ivan and Yanka meet too. Ivan is unhappy, because Dyado Liben did not give his agreement to the wedding, but the two young people love each other so much that they would go to any lengths to be together.
The engagement. The engagement party arrives and Hadji Gencho’s yard fills up with merrymakers. Gifts are exchanged, the party is in full swing, there is singing and dancing. The two old men try to out-dance each other. Gossip-mongers have a field day. During the celebrations, Dyado Liben and Hadji Gencho, having imbibed freely, quarrel again and break the engagement.

Lila has entered a monastery. Dyado Liben and Pavlin come with a group of friends to abduct her. Ercho and Gercho are there too, dressed as nuns.
Meanwhile Ivan and Yanka help Lila escape from the monastery. Large crowds have come to the monastery for the holiday of St. Atanas. Hadji Gencho and his wife also come to visit with their daughter. Ivan and Yanka manage to trick the two sets of parents into making up and giving their blessing to the young people.

Finally all misunderstandings are cleared, everybody is happy and the exuberant newlyweds celebrate their married bliss.

Bulgarians from olden times

Added by

Mihail Valentinow


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