“Inselzauber”: Landesbühne Sachsen Streams Offenbach’s Genderqueer “Island Of Tulipatan”

Kevin Clarke
Operetta Research Center
7 May, 2021

Due to Corona, Landesbühnen Sachsen in Germany put on two small scale one-acters last year: Offenbach’s The Island of Tulipatan and Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. As a “magical island” double-bill. Now, due to the ongoing pandemic and lasting closure of theaters, the Landesbühne will stream that double-bill on 9 May, 2021, at 7 pm.

Bananas and opulent plants in Tahiti. (Photo: Tevei Renvoye / Unsplash)

Bananas and opulent plants in Tahiti. (Photo: Tevei Renvoye / Unsplash)

The two-part production is called Inselzauber, and after the initial stream you can watch the staging online for the next 24 hours.

Offenbach’s famous gender-bending farce – which represents the first discussion of same-sex marriage on the musical stage – is shown in Sachsen in a new chamber orchestra version by Hans-Peter Preu.

The singers are Andreas Petzoldt as King Cacatois XXII, Kirsten Labende as his “son” and heir, Prince Alexis; Kay Frenzel plays the crazy governor Romboidal and Antje Kahn his wife Théodorine; Florian Neubauer is their überbutch “daughter” Hermosa who defies gender conventions and finds her perfect match in Alexis, who defies them as well. It’s “queer” in a modern sense of the word, long before any sort of Queer Movement took off.

Sheet music cover for the quadrille of Offenbach's "L'Île de Tulipatan."

Sheet music cover for the quadrille of Offenbach’s “L’Île de Tulipatan.”

The staging of both pieces, Bernstein and Offenbach, is by Sebastian Ritschel, the arranger Hans-Peter Preu is also the conductor. Sven Stratmann is in charge of the cameras for the stream.

In order to watch, you need to buy an online ticket, they come in two categories: 10 Euros (full price) and 5 Euros (reduced). You can also make a donation, if you choose. To access the stream, click here.

The Albany Records release of Offenbach's "The Island of Tulipatan," 2017.

The Albany Records version of Offenbach’s “The Island of Tulipatan,” 2017.

If you want an English language version to better understand what’s going on, there is the recent recording on Albany Records with the forces of Light Opera of New York. (Click here for a full review.)