Crai Nou premiered on 11 March 1882 in the Festive Hall Of The Romanian High School in Brașov. The first ever performance was given by a group of 60 amateur singers and was produced by the Romanian Society for Gymnastics and Chant and the income was donated to charity.
Ciprian Porumbescu conducted the Orchestra of Brașov Philharmonic Society and the following cast: Carolina Lengher (Anica), Cornelia Roman (Dochiţa), Andrei Bârseanu (Bujor), Vasile Voinea (Leonaş), Gheorghe Strâmbu (Ispravnicul), Zosim Butnaru. (Moş Corbu).
The performance was a success, the folk inspiration of the music being highly appreciated.
“The two performances of the operetta Crai Nou by Vasile Alecsandri, music by Ciprian Porumbescu met with unexpected success. The music of Crai Nou is vivid, pleasant to the ear and proves that the composer has diligently studied the works of modern composers: Offenbach, Genée, Strauss, Lecocq, a.s.o.”Aurel Mureșianu’s review in Gazeta Transilvaniei, no. 31, 1882, p. 3
Porumbescu was irritated for being compared with Offenbach and other composers, and replied that:
“And if there is a composer whose work I have been diligently studying, let me say then that creator is the Romanian people itself, whose work is above those by Offenbach, Genée, Suppé etc.”Ciprian Porumbescu