In The Women’s Paradise

The Great Divas of the Roaring Twenties

Associated Project

An evening with Ethel Merhaut and Stefano Bernardin, in which Vinzenz Praxmarer and his orchestra Divertimento Viennese revive the sound of light music of the 1920s and 1930s.

(Original title: Im Frauenparadies)

Subject to change

Ethel Merhaut (vocals), Vinzenz Praxmarer (conductor), Marie-Theres Arnbom (dramaturgy) (artists)
Vinzenz Praxmarer, Martin Kaburek, Stefan Lehofer, Christine Schoppmann (project managers)
Sonja Zobel (Project Management for the 2024 European Capital of Culture Salzkammergut)

11.03.2023, 7:30 pm

About the project

Robert Stolz’s film operetta “The Women’s Paradise” inspired the title of this program. Filmed in Vienna in 1936, this operetta, adapted to modern times, takes us into the world of Viennese fashion. One of the most beautiful songs – “Sag, was Du träumst” – also enchants the audience of our program.

Vinzenz Praxmarer and his orchestra Divertimento Viennese revive the sound of light music of the 1920s and 1930s. Original arrangements from the time of origin transport in proven salon orchestra tradition into the atmosphere of the entertainment theaters between Vienna and Berlin.

These were characterized by mostly Jewish divas: Adored, revered, admired, they created small, fine chansons, large, pompous leading roles, witty hits and frivolous petitessen. They sang, played and danced from waltz to shimmy in operettas, on cabaret stages and in the young talkies. Today their names are forgotten – our program wants to snatch them from oblivion and breathe new life into them. Rita Georg and Betty Fischer, Rosy Barsony and Gitta Alpar, Martha Eggerth and Zarah Leander: they all entertained their audiences and shaped the entertainment of their time. Ethel Merhaut slips into the role of the divas: from romantic arias to swinging dances to frivolous hits, her diverse talent ranges. Stefano Bernardin leads through the evening as impresario, who is closely connected to the great, competitive, eccentric divas and provides insight into their professional and private lives.

The program includes well-known and unknown works by Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Fritz Kreisler, Paul Abraham, Kurt Weill, Robert Stolz, Werner Richard Heymann, Abraham Ellstein, and others. The texts are by the greats of their guild: Fritz Löhner-Beda, Ernst Marischka, Julius Brammer, Alfred Grünwald, Robert Gilbert, Bruno Balz etc. Originalklang of a different kind entertains at a high level and immerses the audience in a diverse musical world.

Following the concert, the dance school “Tanz&More” accompanied by the orchestra Divertimento Viennese will introduce the dances of the 1920s and 30s.