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Title: The Operetta Empire: Popular Viennese Music Theater and Austrian Identity, 1900-1930
Authors: Baranello, Micaela
Advisors: Heller, Wendy B
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: fin-de-siècle
Subjects: Music
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Operetta was the most popular form of popular entertainment in the Vienna of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This dissertation examines a selection of works by four of the most prominent operetta composers of the genre's so-called Silver Age: Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, and Leo Fall. Considering operetta between 1900 and 1930, I argue that operetta was a hybrid genre whose multivalent influences enabled it to serve as an important nexus of late imperial cultural identity and, after the empire's disappearance, a site of imperial memory. As operetta became a mass art form, I argue, it altered traditional hierarchies of aristocratic, folk and popular culture, making its dismissal and condemnation by the high art establishment a necessity. My first chapter introduces Silver Age operetta as a cultural system, including its production as well as its historiography and historical background. In my second chapter, I outline the generational shift of composers that launched the Silver Age and its first great work: Franz Lehár's "Die lustige Witwe," which I argue targeted a newly cosmopolitan and modern Vienna and thematized operetta's own conflict between Viennese and French influences. My third chapter considers operetta's balance of the s critically privileged satirical and the often-condemned sentimental in light of, Oscar Straus's "Ein Walzertraum" and Franz Lehár's "Eva." My fourth chapter turns to the marketing of "Hungarian passion" to the Viennese through Emmerich Kálmán's 1912 "gypsy operetta" "Der Zigeunerprimas." My fifth chapter considers the role of operetta in World War I, examining Karl Kraus's critique of operetta as propaganda as well as Kálmán's actual propaganda operetta "Gold gab ich für Eisen" (1914) and the frenzied "Die Csárdásfürstin" (1916). My final chapter analyzes the legacy of the empire in several exotic operettas of the war and 1920s, including Leo Fall's "Die Rose von Stambul", Kálmán's "Die Bajadere," and Franz Lehár's "Das Land des Lächelns". My epilogue considers operetta's dissolution in the face of competition from revue and film, as seen in the fractured late operetta "Die Herzogin von Chicago" (1928).
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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