“This is Jimmy Berg from New York:” Dreams, Expectations, and Reality

"This is Jimmy Berg from New York:" Dreams, Expectations and Reality

By Julia-Katharina Neier

Jimmy Berg was born in 1909 in Kolomea as Symson Weinberg. He was a musician, composer, lyricist and journalist. In 1938 he had to flee from Austria because of his Jewish origins and his work in the communism-related cabaret theatre group ABC. Thanks to an affidavit of the industrialist Otto Eisenschimmel Berg was able to enter the US via Southampton on the S.S. Manhattan on November 24,1938.

READ MORE
“This is Jimmy Berg from New York:” Dreams, Expectations, and Reality2021-06-29T18:15:23+00:00

Rosa Wien: Gay Rights, Schlager and Self-Exile: 1918-1938

Rosa Wien: Gay Rights, Schlager and Self-Exile: 1918-1938

By Casey J. Hayes

So…What comes to mind when you hear the word “Cabaret”? Perhaps…Liza Minelli? Yet, however historically accurate this depiction of the 1920s Weimar Berlin cabaret scene may be (I doubt they had Liza or Bob Fosse) it was a more reserved cabaret culture that developed within the Austrian capitol; more quick conversation, jokes, political statements, and sentimental chansons; less drag queens and spectacle. It would have, I believe, looked much more accessible to the conservative Viennese and less like the pages from a Christopher Isherwood novel. Yet, there are many historical yet little-known events that played out at the intersection of the struggle for civil rights for western society’s gay communities, the National Socialist’s persecution of homosexuals, and the fate of some of Europe’s greatest performing artists self-exiled in Vienna. The wildly hedonistic world of German-speaking Cabaret would be the backdrop for a collision which resulted in the ultimate elimination of the art of the “Kleinkunstbuhne” throughout Central Europe.

READ MORE
Rosa Wien: Gay Rights, Schlager and Self-Exile: 1918-19382021-06-14T21:17:17+00:00

Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna

Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna

By Mona Horncastle

In 1928, after two successful years in Paris, Baker starts her first tour of Europe with great expectations. Yet her victories are always accompanied by controversy. In Vienna, the first stop on her journey, Baker is omnipresent: posters advertising her second film La Revue des Revues show the almost naked Baker in pearls and feather jewelry throughout the city. The poster for her revue Black and White is no less revealing. Vienna is not Paris, and the entertainment culture of the Music Hall is still completely foreign to the city, which leads to agitation among cultural conservatives: Catholic circles mobilize before Baker even arrives in Vienna. When her train from Paris arrives, the church bells of the Paulanerkirche are chiming to warn the population of the "Black Devil." However, an unfazed crowd gathers to cheer enthusiastically as Baker arrives on the platform of the train station. The authorities are also ambiguous: on the one hand, Baker is promised police protection for the duration of her stay in Vienna, on the other hand, the Ronacher Theater is not permitted to show the announced revue.

READ MORE
Raptured and demonized: Josephine Baker in Vienna2021-03-09T14:42:53+00:00

Transatlantic Journeys in Musical Practice with Christiane Tewinkel

Transatlantic Journeys in Musical Practice

with Christiane Tewinkel

In this podcast, Dr. Christiane Tewinkel shares many fascinating aspects of her musicology research as related to Theodor Leschetizky and his American students. Born in Galicia in 1830, Theodor Leschetizky, a pianist and composer himself, became internationally famous as a piano teacher with over 1,000 students, including Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler, Elly Ney, Ignacy Paderewski, and Arthur Schnabel.

Although Leschetizky had enormous influence during his time, his personal records had never been studied. That is, until now. Christiane Tewinkel traveled to the Leschetizky Association in New York to see their special collection for herself.

LEARN MORE
Transatlantic Journeys in Musical Practice with Christiane Tewinkel2021-03-22T20:30:16+00:00

VOICES

VOICES

"Der Traum von einem Feentempel" - "The dream of a fairytale temple" By Katherine Baber

When, on May 25, 2020, the Salzburg Festival announced it would proceed amid the pandemic, it seemed an act of profound optimism—perhaps not unlike Max Reinhardt's ambition to have a dedicated Festival house, conjured by Hugo von Hofmannstal as a "dream of a fairy temple, in which people from every nation on earth discover each other again." In reality, the Salzburg Festival did become one of the first "deeds of peace" after World War I, and it revived itself as a cultural peace project after World War II. Now in 2020, the Festival Direktorium has dedicated its anniversary edition to the Festival’s original principles, returning to themes of "community, the relationship of the individual to the whole, radical individualism and, as a great hope, the idea that the world can be changed through communal solidarity, through a new humanity."

READ MORE
VOICES2021-03-22T21:01:58+00:00

VOICES

VOICES

"Wie sich doch in einem Augenblick mein ganzes Schicksal wendete!" - "How in a moment my whole fate has changed!" By Katherine Baber

Near the end of the first act of Così fan tutte, Dorabella and Fiordiligi are bewildered, mourning the sudden departure of their fiancés for war. They have no idea how much more profoundly their lives are about to be disordered. As the sisters retreat to their garden, Mozart tempers the words of Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto by casting their duet in a tranquil mood, setting them up to have the rug pulled out from under them moments later in a typically rambunctious finale. What ensues—deception, disguises, loss of innocence, the questioning of love and loyalty—alters all. The couples who are married at the end are fundamentally different people than they were at the beginning. This Italian-style opera buffo is comic, yes, but also cautionary. Mozart might have warned us about 2020.

READ MORE
VOICES2021-05-18T19:57:33+00:00