Kalman’s Tango-Operetta “Der kleine König” at Ohio This Summer

Operetta Research Center
20 May, 2014

The Ohio Light Opera in Wooster (“America’s Premiere Lyric Theatre Festival”) has announced its 2014 season. It will make fans of rare Viennese operetta listen up. Because, as usual, there is a rare Emmerich Kalman title among the offerings. This year, it’s his 1912 operetta Der kleine König, written for Louis Treumann, the world’s first Danilo and a mega-star of the era.

The young and rising star composer Emmerich Kálmán in 1909.

The young and rising star composer Emmerich Kálmán in 1909.

Der kleine König is mostly forgotten today, though it contained the first “tango” Kalman ever wrote. If might, in all honesty, sound a bit like a pseudo-csardas to modern ears. But still, it was Kalman’s first step towards a more “transatlantic” style that ultimately resulted in shows such as Die Herzogin von Chicago and his Broadway operettas Golden Dawn and Marinka. (Not to mention Miss Underground, written with Lorenz Hart.) The photo on the right shows the young Kalman in 1909, the year of his first Viennes success, Ein Herbstmanöver, which Ohio already performed and released on CD.

The other rarity in Ohio this year will be Victor Herbert’s 1906 operetta Dream City and the Magic Knight, and of course, Jerome Kern’s 1918 Oh, Lady, Lady!

You can find the full program here.

Kálmán's first hit show, "Ein Herbstmanöver", in a CD recording from Ohio.

Kálmán’s first hit show, “Ein Herbstmanöver”, in a CD recording from Ohio.

In addition to the operetta performances themselves, Ohio will offer, for the first time ever, a symposium this year devoted to various questions of operetta research. It’s an international affair, so there will be scholars from the USA as well as Kurt Gänzl from New Zealand and Stefan Frey Germany. The Operetta Research Center Amsterdam will also be present with two talks by Kevin Clarke on Cross Dressing and the “American” side of Kalman’s oeuvre.

The symposium takes place from Tuesday, July 29, to August 1. More information can be found here.