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Workshop 3

Friday 27 January 2017, 14.00-16.00
East Parry Room, Royal College of Music, London

Silver-Age Operetta Workshop

This study day is part of GOLNY (German Operetta in London, New York, and Warsaw: 1906-1938: Cultural Transfer and Transformation), a research project undertaken by Dr Anastasia Belina (RCM) and Professor Derek B Scott (University of Leeds), funded by the European Research Council.

14.00-14.45  Silver-Age Operetta: The Power of an Early Twentieth-Century Transcultural Entertainment Industry, Professor Derek Scott.
14.45-15.15  Tea break
15.15-16.00 Operetta in Early Twentieth-Century Warsaw, Dr Anastasia Belina. This talk will be illustrated with performances of some of the most popular operetta numbers, sung in Polish.
Ana Šinkovec-Burstin – Piano
Klaudia Magdon – Voice

Silver-Age Operetta: The Power of an Early 20th-Century Transcultural Entertainment Industry

Derek Scott

During the first three decades of the twentieth century, a music industry that had already been growing for more than fifty years became transnational and, in some of its activities, global. Studies of this period have a tendency to focus on the significance of the music business in New York, especially Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, and neglect the importance of a transcultural operetta industry emanating from Berlin. For some time, it was unclear whether Broadway or Berlin’s Friederichstraße would carry the greatest influence over the world’s musical stages. This presentation explains why.
The picture below shows Lily Elsie as Franzi, leader of the women’s orchestra in A Waltz Dream (Oscar Straus), wearing a dress by London fashion designer Lucile. Operetta was always closely linked to the fashion industry. In Germany, the critic Theodor Adorno commented that the long dresses he saw women wearing “looked as if they had been stolen from operettas.”

Operetta in Early Twentieth-Century Warsaw

Anastasia Belina

In the beginning of the twentieth century, operetta was a hugely popular theatrical attraction, and productions from Vienna and Berlin travelled all over Europe. Silver -Age operetta enjoyed great successes in Poland, where opera and operetta houses in Warsaw, Krakow, and Łódź regularly presented works by Lehár, Kálmán, Fall, Abraham, Nedbal, and others. There is no English-language study on how operetta developed in Warsaw, and no study exists in any language, to date, on the actual adaptations of German operettas in Poland. This talk will present an overview of operetta scene in early twentieth-century Warsaw, Polish transformations and adaptations of popular works, and famous Polish operetta stars and their successes with the Polish public. The talk is illustrated with rare archival material and live performances of selected operetta numbers in Polish.