Love conquers all in The Csárdás Princess | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Love conquers all in The Csárdás Princess 

But what else can you expect from a Viennese operetta?

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge csardas_princess-1.jpg

courtesy of Folks Operetta

Composer Emmerich Kálmán was a Hungarian Jew who found fame in Vienna during the 1910s and '20s with such operettas asDer Zigeunerprimas (The Gypsy Band Leader) and Countess Maritza. Perhaps he sensed that, despite his success, he would always be a bit of an outsider in the world of Austrian high society that embraced his music, which distinctively fused elegantly romantic Viennese waltzes with the csárdás, a robust folk dance whose name derives from a Hungarian word for "tavern." One of his most popular works, the 1915 Die Csárdásfürstin (The Csárdás Princess), recounts the story of a Hungarian cabaret singer, Sylva, whose romance with a Viennese aristocrat, Edwin, seems doomed to failure: his stuffy parents forbid their son from wedding a girl from "the wrong side of the tracks" and have arranged for him to marry his childhood friend Stasi instead.

Of course, being a Viennese operetta, The Csárdás Princess reaches a happy ending, with a lot of lively music and dancing along the way. Kálmán's lush, tuneful, rhythmically charged score is the main draw in this revival by Folks Operetta, a local company dedicated to reclaiming the heritage of Jewish artists who contributed to Viennese operetta's "Silver Age."

The fine singers under Gerald Frantzen's direction include Katherine Petersen as Sylva, Jonathan Zeng as Edwin, Emma Sorenson as Stasi, and William Roberts in the comic role of Sylva's womanizing manager Boni. The offstage 25-piece orchestra under conductor Mark A. Taylor's baton is splendid, and deserves to be more visible.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Albert Williams

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 08
Performing Arts
Hannibal Buress Adler Planetarium Parking Lot
September 27

Popular Stories