Rediscovering Mischa Spoliansky – In Berlin And Weimar

Michael H. Hardern
Operetta Research Center
19 March, 2015

There is Spoliansky in the air, it seems. And it is certainly high time that this unique composer is rediscovered. After the Komische Oper announced a Mischa Spoliansky revue for next season, starring the Geschwister Pfister and Stefan Kurt, the Deutsche Nationaltheater in Weimar will present Wie werde ich reich und glücklich? this week-end.

Mischa Spoliansky in the early 1930s.

Mischa Spoliansky in the early 1930s.

This successful cabaret revue premiered in Berlin in 1930, at the Komödie am Kurfürstendamm. It tells the mad-cap story of an impostor in the midst of the economic crisis of the early 30s. Spoliansky uses jazz and chanson elements to tell his tale of survival in harsh times as a “Ein Kursus in zehn Abteilungen” – which roughly translates as a “Workshop in 10 Segments.”

His other great shows from that era are Alles Schwindel (1931), Rufen Sie Herrn Plim and Das Haus dazwischen (both 1932), and 100 Meter Glück in 1933. There have been various CD releases presenting historical recordings, among them a double-disc issue on KLEINaberKUNST which includes four numbers from Wie werde ich reich und glücklich: the title melodie sung by the Comedian Harmonists, “Ach, er hasst, dass ich ihn liebe” sung by the incomparable Blandine Ebinger, “Auf Wiedersehen” by Ebinger and the equally incomparable Oskar Karlweis, and “So ist das Leben”, again sung by the Comedian Harmonists. The other recommendable Spoliansky disc is the Duophon one with 22 well-restored tracks.

For the Weimar production, Jens Dohle has re-arranged the music. The staging is by Christian Weise, with Fridolin Sandmeyer and Nora Quest as the two stars.

Nora Quest in a Weimar Republic outfit for "Wie werde ich reich und glücklicj?" (Photo: DNT Weimar)

Nora Quest in a Weimar Republic outfit for “Wie werde ich reich und glücklich?” (Photo: DNT Weimar)

For more information and performance dates, click here.