Conference Proceeding: From Siófok to New York to the American Southwest: The Life, Music, and Personal Library of Emmerich Kálmán, Composer of Arizona Lady

The Jewish-Hungarian Emmerich Kálmán (1882-1953) was a celebrated composer of Silver Age operetta. This light, entertaining genre of Viennese musical theater, a precursor of the Broadway musical, was immensely popular at the beginning of the 20th century (1905–1935), as was Kálmán himself. Yet his personal life was not as carefree as his music - he was able to escape Nazi persecutions again and again, but after more than a decade of displacement and itinerancy, the composer’s efforts to revive his career in the United States were defeated. Nothing represents that tragedy better than Kálmán’s last operetta, Arizona Lady (1954), which was nationally premiered in 2015 thanks to a collaboration of Arizona State University’s Center for Jewish Studies with Arizona Opera. The presenter will discuss Kálmán’s life, musical career, and reading preferences as they relate to his lesser-known western-à-la-operetta Arizona Lady.

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