“Bodies & Gender”: Operetta Symposium In Berlin

Kevin Clarke
Operetta Research Center
12 December, 2014

Finally, you might say. Or, as the Germans would put it: „Endlich!“ Yes, the Komische Oper Berlin will present the first operetta symposium at their house in January. It is entitled “Operette zwischen Bravour und Banalität,“ i.e. operetta between bravura and banality. A topic on which there is a lot to say, surely, between January 31 and February 2. The symposium is co-organized by the University of Chicago, the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and the magazine Opera Quarterly. So some of the talks will be in English!

The host: Komische Oper intendant Barrie Kosky. (Photo: Gunnar Geller)

The host: Komische Oper intendant Barrie Kosky. (Photo: Gunnar Geller)

There have been conferences on questions of operetta in Berlin before, notably at the FU. Their results have just been published by Cambridge University Press in a wonderful book called Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin: 1890 to 1939. A bundle of English language essays that are very worth reading.

The thing about such university conferences is that they are rarely noticed outside of university circles. So it is more than welcome that the Komische – always at the center of media attention – will host this new symposium and combine it with their first ever operetta festival, which runs parallel.

The symposium is being organized by Bettina Brandl-Risi, Clemens Risi (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) and the dramaturgy department of the Komische Oper. And: it is financially supported by the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung. (Three cheers to them, please!)

The program is vast, mildly put. But that makes it all the more interesting for people coming from afar to make the journey worthwhile.

On the website of the Komische Oper, only a German language announcement can be found right now. But is gives you some idea of what to expect.

Some of the scheduled talks cover topics that bring a huge smile to the face of all of us at the Research Center, because we have been battling to get these themes onto the agenda for years: “Bodies & Gender,” “The Extravagante Women,” “Revue & Brothel,” “Operetta Films As Vernacular Avant-Garde,” “What does it take to be an operetta star?,” “Volksgemeinschaftliche Ideologie und Operette im NS-Staat” etc. etc.

For more information and tickets, click here.