Paul Abraham


The Girl from the Dance Hall
Concert-based Operetta
Madame Butterfly as an operetta set in Vietnam! A wild mix of Puccini, Puszta and jazz, Abraham’s musical adventure concerns a French naval officer’s love affair with a dschainah, the Vietnamese equivalent of a Japanese Geisha. The »multicultural stew« was commissioned by the Viennese coffee magnate Julius Meinl II for his Japanese wife Michiko Tanaka. Almost 84 years to the day after its world premiere in Vienna, the work will now experience its belated German premiere – a very special find in the series of excavations and rediscoveries at the Komische Oper Berlin.
Lylo works as a dschainah in the Sing Song House in gloomy Dajak, Saigon. When she is put up for sale by her greedy and insensitive owner, the writer and naval officer Pierre Claudel steps in and marries her on the spot. How inconvenient that his fiancée Yvonne is waiting in Paris for his return! Indeed, for reasons concerning her inheritance, Yvonne must be married by a certain date. Fortunately, Pierre’s mother-in-law Hortense Cliquot took precautions before his departure, appointing a substitute groom. Thus Pierre is in no hurry to dissolve his »temporary Marriage« with Lylo and return to France. But a Madame Cliquot will do what she’s got to do, when necessary, and travels with daughter and entourage to Vietnam in an attempt to bring her unfaithful son-in-law to reason.

After his chamber operetta without chorus Fairytale at the Grand Hotel, Abraham returned through Dschainah to the exoticism of earlier works such as Victoria and her Hussar and Hawaiian Flower. Nonetheless, the operetta is still interspersed with Hungarian sounds and lively jazz rhythms. Appearing as the resolute Madame Cliquot, French actress and Singer Zazie de Paris – as known from theater, film and television – will read the riot act to Pierre, her cheating son-in-law!
Large operetta in two acts [1935]
Libretto by Alfred Grünwald and Fritz Löhner-Beda
Practical reconstruction for the stage by Henning Hagedorn and Matthias Grimminger
premiere as concert