Michael H. Hardern
Operetta Research Center
26 March, 2015
The Ohio Light Opera has announced its 2015 season. After all the razzle-dazzle last year and the many rediscovered goodies then, the upcoming season is more standard, with a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan and Kurt Weill’s One Touch of Venus as the “rarity.”
Admittedly, it’s hard to readjust to a somewhat regular-fare programming after having enjoyed so many wonderful excursions into rarer operetta territory in 2014. Just to remind you: there was Kalman’s Der kleine König, for the first time in nearly 100 years, there was Victor Herbert’s hilarious grand-opera spoof The Magic Kingdom, and there was a Jerome Kern Princess Theater musical, next to the “other” titles, among them Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madame with a stand-out leading lady.
This summer, there is a G&S double bill on offer: The Yeomen of the Guard and Ruddigore. Add to this romantic Lehár with Friederike, the bitter-sweet tale of Goethe’s young love; a show written for Richard Tauber and Käthe Dorsch; a challenge to pull off, because you need two very unique super troupers to carry the show. Fans of Broadway rarities will probably enjoy Gershwin’s Oh, Kay! (1926), a musical written two years prior to Lehár’s tragic operetta; which should make for interesting comparisons.
The classic Broadway repertoire on offer in 2015 is: Cole Porter’s Can-Can (1953) and Lerner/Loewe’s Brigadoon (1947). And then, of course, there is Kurt Weill’s Broadway hit One Touch of Venus. For Americans, this title may not seem too unusual, German operetta and musical comedy fans, however, are not likely to encounter the show too often in Europe. For various reasons, the German language theater scene considers Weill’s American works less valuable than the early collaborations with Bertolt Brecht. So One Touch of Venus is hardly ever staged on this side of the world. The most recent production was in Dessau, presented during the Kurt Weill Festival in 2010.
This year round in Ohio there will not be an international operetta conference to add to the sparkle. Let’s hope 2016 will see a revival of this wonderful (new) tradition.
For more information on titles, casts and performance dates, click here.