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Musical by Jerry Bock

in German language

At the turn of the 20th century in the Ukrainian village of Anatevka, the poor milkman Tevye lives with his wife Golde and their five daughters. Three of them are to marry, though not as their father would wish. Nevertheless, he lives his life according to tradition until the Tsar commands the relocation of the Jews, resulting in Tevye emigrating to America with his wife and two youngest daughters.

Recommended from 9 years

The action takes place in the small Russian-Ukrainian town of Anatevka, 1905

Act I: The milkman Tevye knows how to remain hopeful and survive in spite of grinding poverty and the hostility of the outside world: one must balance like a “Fiddler on the Roof”, holding on to Tradition. 

Tevye is poor in terms of money, but rich in the number of women in his life: he has a wife who speaks her mind, Golde, and five daughters. The three eldest of these daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava, will have to be married off soon. The girls ask each other excitedly whether the matchmaker Yente will succeed in finding the right partner for them (Matchmaker, Matchmaker), for they feel that “with matchmaking there is no love”. Their father imagines to himself what his life would be like … If I Were a Rich Man.

At Sabbath prayers the family have a guest, Perchik, who has a modern way of thinking. After Sabbath, at the insistence of his wife, Tevye meets the rich widowed butcher Lazar Wolf, who is seeking Tzeitel’s hand in marriage. The two men seal their connection with copious amounts of alcohol (To Life!). On the way home Tevye is warned by the constable that before long there will be a “little unofficial demonstration” … a pogrom.

Tevye has reached agreement with the butcher, but has reckoned without the bride: Tzeitel is in love with the poor tailor Motel. After some reflection (Tevye’s Monologue) Tevye agrees to their marriage, and Tzeitel and Motel are overjoyed (Miracle of Miracles). Now he has to find a way of explaining this to his wife Golde: he invents a dream in which Tzeitel’s grandmother and Lazar Wolf’s deceased wife Fruma Sarah urgently advise him to marry his daughter to the tailor (Tevye’s Dream). The superstitious Golde believes the story, and Tzeitel and Motel are married (Sunrise, Sunset). 

An exuberant celebration takes place (Bottle Dance), but the festivities are rudely interrupted …

Act II: The second eldest daughter also surprises her father with wedding plans of her own: Hodel has decided to go to Kiev with Perchik. Tevye is furious (Tevye’s Rebuttal), but in the end he gives the young people his blessing. Tevye explains to his wife that “we are living in different times”, and asks Golde about her feelings for him (Do You Love Me?).

The Rumour is going round in Anatevka that Perchik has been arrested and sent to Siberia. Hodel follows him after bidding her father farewell (Far From the Home I Love).

When Tevye learns that his daughter Chava has agreed to marry the Russian Christian Fedya, he casts her off and in despair asks what he did wrong as a father (Chavaleh, Little Bird).

The constable brings the news that the inhabitants of the shtetl will have to leave their houses within three days – a pogrom is imminent. When he takes his leave of Anatevka, Tevye is also reconciled with Chava. Tevye, Golde and their two youngest daughters Sprintze and Bielke will go to America …


Matthias Davids
Mathias Fischer-Dieskau
Judith Peter
Melissa King

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