Thursday, 12 April 2012

Marta Eggerth is 100 and still singing

Marta Eggerth is 100 years old today and still singing. We need to know because she's a living relic, or as the Japanese say "A living National Treasure".  Born in Hungary before the First World War, she was a megastar in 1930's operetta. She appeared in Emmerich (Imre) Kálmán's Czardasfurstin, or Die Herzogin von Chicago  (read my review here). Plus just about all major operettas, musicals and movies she could be signed for. In 1926, she married the tenor Jan Kiepura and together they went on to even greater success. Kiepura and Eggerth are also important to us now because they were artists who moved  freely between genres. No viciousness then about "crossover". Today they'd be pilloried  by media trolls.

Please read two articles, this one from the Washington Post, which is good on her life in New York. "I live in the present", which mentions a new recording by her son with Kiepura, whose name is Marjan (get it?) and the piece I wrote in February with the very rare clip of Eggerth  and Kiepura singing together in 1958 in Kraków . (two music clips). They were a sensation especially because conditions in post-war Poland were harsh. Kiepura and Eggerth were a reminder of how glamorous things were before the war and the Iron Curtain. No wonder their appearance had such an impact!

Below two more clips of Marta Eggerth, one from Kálmán's Czardasfurstin, and two  from a 1933 movie "Unfinished Symphony" about Schubert . Alas that kitsch image of the composer persists today. Below, she sings Ständchen . In the background peasant girls are singing Der Lindenbaum and Heidenröslein. "It's from Goethe" she tells Schubert, who knew already. Both songs were often sung by amateurs and entered the popular imagination as "folk song", which they weren't, originally. The movie sounds like a scream. "Without rhythm, music would be unthinkable" says Schubert. I'll write more later about the film.

No comments: