Operetta Research Center
7 May, 2021
“Another opening, another show…” But not in Philly or Boston, as Cole Porter once rhymed for Kiss Me, Kate, but in Leipzig at Musikalische Komödie. The company reopens is traditional venue after a total renovation with Emmerich Kálman’s 1924 smash hit Gräfin Mariza. And the premiere will be streamed on 8 May, at 7 pm.
The official press release states: “After a two-year period of restoration and repair, the hall is set to be festively re-opened in the coming autumn, but now, the theater will be presented online by Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung and Culture Mayor Dr. Skadi Jennicke. In addition, Prof. Ulf Schirmer and Managing Director Torsten Rose will present the refurbished and redecorated facility together with the MuKo’s staff and musical ensembles.”
Whether the novel production by Ulrich Wiggers and especially the costumes and sets by Leif-Erik Heine represent a new dawn for the genre in Leipzig remains to be seen. Looking at the press photos, that have been made available in advance, you might have doubts and wonder whether this is the revival of a 1980s staging from Budapest or a brand new creation.
The Leipzig production is conducted by Tobias Engeli. Here, too, it remains to be seen how he handles the shimmies and foxtrots in the Kalman score, i.e. the modern side of 1920s jazz operetta that the composer carefully balanced with the more “traditional” Austrian-Hungarian elements.
Lilli Wünscher slips into the title role, and Adam Sanchez is Count Tassilo, a role Kalman and his librettists Brammer and Gründwald created for the unique dancing and acting talents of Hubert Marischka who was the male superstar at Theater an der Wien. (A CD with recordings of his partner Betty Fischer – who was the original Maritza – has recently been released by Truesound Transfers, click here for more details.) Not to forget the one-and-only Elsie Altmann who was Countess Lisa, the photo below was used in 1924 to advertise the opening of the new operetta in the Viennese newspapers.
Jeffrey Krueger gets so sing “Komm mit nach Varasdin” together Wünscher, and Mirjam Neuruer is the Lisa of today.
You can watch the stream here.