Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Bittersweet Polish Valentine

Bittersweet in many ways! An extremely rare recording made off Kraków radio in 1958, a scrap of which almost miraculously survives. Listen to it HERE in good sound quality. Thank you so much to the man who found this tape, and to his father who lovingly made it off air. The tenor is Jan Kiepura, and the soprano Marta Eggerth. He was a famous tenor with an opera background, she a Hungarian-born operetta star, who appeared in Emmerich (Imre) Kálmán's Czardasfurstin, or Die Herzogin von Chicago  (read my review here).

Kiepura and Eggerth worked together extensively, blending their careers and branching out into film. A good symbiotic relationship. Together as a pair they were even hotter than apart. Kiepura spent many years in the US before returning to Europe in the 1930's, so during the war, he and Marta went into exile. But their return to Kraków must have meant a lot to them. Listen to how Kiepura talks enthusiastically to his Kraków audience, explaing what the English song means, and hear how they roar with appreciation. The song is "I'll see you again" from Noel Coward, Bittersweet. "....I'll see you again whenever Spring breaks through again, though my world may go awry, there my heart will ever lie, with the echo of a sigh, goodbye". Kiepura died suddenly in 1966, but Eggerth lives on and will be 100 years old this April. So bittersweet memories all round.  And HERE is a clip of Eggerth and Kiepura in a German film of La Bohème made in 1936. "Ah, Mimi!"

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