Two New Ábrahám Biographies

Kevin Clarke
Operetta Research Center
2 Octoer, 2014

You could call it the battle of the biographers. Who will be first? Who will be better? Who will have more new information? Who will win the prize for being “best”? After Paul Ábrahám has been shamefully ignored by operetta researchers in the post-WW2 period, there are now two brand new biographies, plus a third one that had been talked about and that then disappeared, sadly. Now, the first one was actually published: Klaus Waller’s Paul Ábrahám. Der tragische König der Operette.

The cover of Klaus Waller's Abraham biography.

The cover of Klaus Waller’s Abraham biography.

Mr. Waller began his career as a sports journalist; he then became editor of the pocket-book series “rororo tomate” at Rowohlt Verlag. He himself wrote 15 successful non-fiction books on the side, including a biography of Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Now, he has written another biography and turned his attention to the last “jazz-master” of operetta, before the Nazis put a full stop to such carrying on in operetta land. Waller’s 240 page book had been in the making for some time. Previously, Mr. Waller had established a website dedicated to Ábrahám containing basic info. Now the full narrative follows.

His biography is written in German and is a self-publishing effort, so far, at least. We will have an extensive interview with Mr. Waller on this website soon, but we wanted to alert you to his new book now, since it just became available in Amazon this week.

Meanwhile, Karin Meesmann is putting the final touches to her manuscript of a monumental (read: more than 240 pages) Ábrahám biography.

It will certainly be interesting to compare both books and both perspectives on Ábrahám’s life and works.

Hopefully, this double-effort by Waller and Meesmann will finally overcome the curse of Volker Klotz’s “damnation” of Ábrahám’s “degenerate” revue operettas in Operette: Portrait und Handbuch einer unerhörten Kunst. It has been long enough that Ábrahám’s oeuvre suffered in the German speaking word because of it. People like Barrie Kosky have pointed the way as to how Ábrahám’s operettas can be made appealing and successful again, the opera house in Dortmund will unveil their production of the reconstructed Roxy und ihr Wunderteam in November 2014, and there is still that great film documentary by Janos Darvas in circulation that first showed how much fascinating material there is to discover – and to discuss. Stay tuned.

There are 2 comments

  1. Pino Nugnes

    Hello! I am Pino Nugnes from Italy. The three most important operettas has been shown more times in the last 50 years. And ROXY UND IHR WUNDERTEAM was a great success in Abbazia (nowadays Opatja in Croatia) in 1938. Italians love Paul Abraham’s scores. I have created a site on Facebook called “Ricordando il Re dell’Operetta Elvio Calderoni” (Remembering Elvio Calderoni the king of the Operetta). Calderoni played Janczy and Jim Boy and Celestin Formand in VIKTORIA UND IHR HUSAR, DIE BLUME VON HAWAII and BALL IM SAVOY. He was a great buffo-operetta. He was dead at 40 (in 1970) but many fans still remember him and are touched thinking about his sad end. Even if you do not understand the Italian language, go the this site please. Operetta fans will find very rare pictures of operetta scenes (including the three Abraham’s operettas). You can see many pictures about Rosy Barsony who was Calderoni alongside for 10 years at one of the most important Operetta Festival in Europe (in Trieste) during the ’50. Trust me. Go to this site. (I can answer you in English even if it’s not my mother tongue as you can see) Vielen Dank! (ciao Kevin!)

  2. Pino Nugnes

    ” The three most important operettas has been shown more times in the last 50 years” I mean in Italy of course….