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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Part II - The Reception of Operetta

  • Derek B. Scott, University of Leeds
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 159-160
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Summary

It is clear that the productions in the West End and on Broadway of The Merry Widow marked a distinctive new phase in operetta reception. The massive success of The Merry Widow opened up a flourishing market for operettas from Vienna and Berlin. This was confirmed by the huge success of Straus’s The Chocolate Soldier in New York (1909) and London (1910). The Berlin operettas of Jean Gilbert were soon in demand in the West End and on Broadway. Continental European operetta entered a marketplace dominated by musical comedy. The first major blow to the operetta market, especially in the UK, was the outbreak of the First World War. After the war, many creators of operetta were eager to escape to the comfort of historical romances. In the first three decades of the twentieth century, many people were prepared to pay for operetta, and an assortment of theatres and ticket prices enabled a broad social mixture to do so. In addition to critical-aesthetic reception, theatrical productions were open to moral concerns. The chapter ends with reflections on the reasons for the decline in productions on Broadway and in the West End post-1933.