Operetta Research Center
30 May, 2012
One could call it revolutionary and decidedly up to date: a Viennese operetta biography published in English and (!) German, i.e. both texts printed alongside each other. And a biography that is laid out like a catalogue with many wonderful historic and rare pictures. That’s what you get with Carl Millöcker: Love and Passion of the forgotten Composer, written (or rather edited) by the Viennese real estate broker Marga Walcher and published by Bohmann.
In terms of written content, the book is (sadly) very old fashioned, if not stuffy. You read a lot about “golden Viennese hearts” beating in glorious three quarter time. But the historical documents presented between such out of date operetta clichés are definitely worth reading. In the case of Millöcker, the many letters extensively quoted from here. These letters were found in a house Marga Walcher bought, and it is to her credit that she decided to do something sensible with them – the result of which is this book. The mentioned authors are Joji Hattori, Elisabeth Patsios and Anna Zschokke. Also, experts such as Hans-Dieter Roser and Uwe Theimer get to write short essays that are inserted.
After some basic facts (“A life devoted to music” and “Up with the curtain! The evelopment of the Viennese operetta”) we get discussions of individual shows, from Das verwunsche Schloss to Der Probekuss and Nordlicht. The images presented in this context are stunning, they alone make this book worth having. And they certainly make one curious to know more about Millöcker’s shows aprt from the famous Bettelstudent and Gasparone.
There are two final chapters, one on Millöcker’s second wife LIna (“Lina – a centre of Millöcker’s life”), the other on “The notes make the melody. The legacy of a great master”. All in all, 255 full pages, including a catalogue of Millöcker’s works.
It’s the ideal starting point for anyone interested in Millöcker. Hopefully, a more substantial discussion and study of his works will follow sometime soon. Meanwhile, this is a beautifully designed coffee table book that points the way for the future: bi-lingual and full of visual delights!
For more information, check: www.bohmann-verlag.at/portal/Carl%20Mill%C3%B6cker.580.0.html