Thursday, 12 March 2009

Im weißen Rössl restored

Im weißen Rössl was a huge hit when it premiered in 1930. It merged Austrian folk dance and tunes with jazz and modern rhythms. Risqué too - near naked men prancing about, and some girls, too.

There were ballet sequences, dance acts etc. The whole thing was orchestrated for 250 players, the big string section divided 16 times. Plus a jazz combo and a Tirolean troupe battling out "old" and "new". Presumably shades of Kalman's smash hit, Die Herzogin von Chicago, which pits the Charleston against the czardas, American brashness versus Mitteleuropaische "breeding". People in the 20's and 30's were much sharper than people give them credit for now. Those who wanted to preserve a fake past won out, though, some of them coming to power in 1933.

It was reshaped for right-thinking folks and became "
banal family-entertainment in the harmless Disney style - no nudity, no modern rhythms, no nothing". Luckily, the original score has been found and the piece is being staged again in all its irreverent glory, in June 2009 in Dresden.

Read the whole story

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