Operetta: A Theatrical History

By Richard Traubner | Go to book overview
Save to active project

BROADWAY

THE GENUS Broadway operetta, as distinct from the nineteenth-century comic opera, had two major influences: Victor Herbert and the Viennese operettas of the Silver Era. Sigmund Romberg and Rudolf Friml were the leading composers of the late teens and 1920s, and both had middle-European backgrounds. Though much of their work in the teens was frankly, requisitely imitative of Herbert, their operettas of the '20s were as spectacularly romantic as the gushing costume operettas of Lehár, if not more so. The uniformed male choruses that Herbert had held over from the older comic operas were retained by Friml and Romberg, and given similarly stirring marches. Perhaps influenced by the close-up intimacy and spectacular passion of the hugely popular silent screen, operettas were forced to be increasingly romantic and full-blooded, rather than satiric or comic.

What is astounding about the '20s is that while these hot-blooded romantic operettas were being created and consumed, the same years saw the birth of the fast, dancing, jazz musical comedies of Gershwin, Youmans, and other composers, as well as excellent revues, both spectacular and intimate, and also attempts to modernize operetta into something almost as zippy as musical comedy. It was truly the Golden Age of the American musical theatre, and one that did not really end in 1929. The potent romantic and sentimental elements that had made The Student Prince and Show Boat such superb operettas were simply streamlined in the 1940s and transformed into the "musical play, " a euphemism for romantic operetta. The main differences between the 1920s and the 1940s operetta involved the replacement of passion with compassion and psychology, cleverer segues into songs that had to do more sophisticatedly with character and plot than before, an attempt to use the comedian and soubrette more effectively in the story, and, most importantly, the use of ballet for story or mood

-377-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Operetta: A Theatrical History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 461

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?