Operetta "Violet of Montmartre": content, video, interesting facts, history

I. Kalman operetta "Violet of Montmartre"

"Violet of Montmartre" was not only the latest masterpiece Imre Kalman, but also the last great Viennese operetta - despite the fact that it was only formally. The composer wrote an unusual music for himself and departed from the usual development of events inherent in most of his previous works. The tragic plot, which formed the basis of the libretto, was turned into a cheerful story, so consonant with what is happening at the same time in the life of maestro Kalman himself.

Summary of the Kalman Operetta "Violet of Montmartre"and many interesting facts about this work read on our page.




Raoul Delacroixlyric tenorpoor artist
Florimon Hervetenorcomposer, his friend
Henri Murgebaritonepoet, their friend
NinonsopranoRaul's beloved singer
Violetta Cavallinicoloratura sopranostreet flower girl called the Violet of Montmartre

Violets of Montmartre

Paris, second half of the 19th century.

Three friends, Raoul, Henri and Florimon live together in a poor attic of an old house in Montmartre. The poet and composer compose the operetta "Karambolina". The artist paints pictures for which his beloved, Ninon, is posing. It is ambitious, it is oppressed by poverty and beckons the great opportunities that Paris offers, so Ninon breaks up with Raul. In search of a model, he draws attention to the pretty street flower girl, Violetta, whom everyone calls Violet of Montmartre. Three young people save Violetta from the cruelty of a big city, and she remains to live with them. The girl falls in love with Raul, but he can not forget Ninon.

Ninon, meanwhile, arranged her life, becoming the mistress of the Minister of Fine Arts. A bailiff comes to the Montmartre attic to evict the entire company for non-payment. Raoul and Ninon accidentally collide on the boulevard, the former feeling flashes again. Violetta becomes the witness of this meeting. She is saddened, but devoted to Raoul and helps him to get a job as a restorer in the Louvre, which he had long dreamed of. Ninon misleads the artist as if she contributed to his career, and demands his return. Raoul is helpless before her charms and renews their romance. Violetta's heart is broken, and she leaves friends.

It's been a few months. The Vaudeville Theater plans to stage the operetta of Henri and Florimon, in which Ninon will play the main role. But she receives a letter from Raul, in which he admits that she no longer loves her. Ninon leaves the theater. The performance remains without a prima donna, but suddenly Violetta appears, ready to play the main role. Raoul realizes that he is really in love with Violetta, they are explained. In the evening of the premiere, the girl learns that she is not a poor flower girl, but the daughter of the Countess, kidnapped in early childhood. Violetta, having gained not only love, but also her mother, is ready to go to her right away. The performance is again in jeopardy, but Ninon appears behind the scenes, who blesses the lovers and says that she is ready to go on stage.

Duration of performance
I ActAct II
70 min70 min

A photo:

Interesting Facts

  • Melody of the lullaby "Month looks out the window" Kalman composed for his newborn son, Karoy Imre Fedor.
  • The heroes of the operetta, the poor inhabitants of Montmartre, were unusual for Kalman, before that he mainly wrote about aristocrats and even royals (Prince Edwin, Princess Alexandra, Princess Jutta, Prince Rajami, Countess Maritz, Princess Feodor, Prince Sandor Boris).
  • "Violet of Montmartre" is often called not operetta, but musical, because Kalman far away from the classical Viennese canons. In the melodic lines of this operetta, one can hear the traditions of the French music hall, Puccini’s soaring motifs, the coloratura, and the harmonic structure more characteristic of R. Strauss’s music than the operetta.
  • The muse of this operetta, Kalman's wife, Vera Makinskaya, had a rather vague biography before meeting with the maestro. In a number of sources it is indicated that in fact she is three years older than is commonly believed (1907, not born in 1910), and her real name is Maria Mendelsohn, and she was not a Russian aristocratic woman.

  • In the tradition of Soviet productions, Raoul's party was transposed to tone down for performance not by a tenor, but by a baritone. This is not the only such case with the Kalman heroes - Mr. X in "Circus Princess", Prince Rajami in "Bayadere", Edwin in the "Queen of Chardash" in our country they also sing a baritone.
  • Another feature of the Russian tradition of the performance of "Violet of Montmartre" is the different deviations of the plot, depending on the will of the librettist. The main characters repeatedly changed their names (Florimon became Marcel, Ninon - Madeleine), introduced new minor characters (Madame Arno's concierge), composed his own final story.
  • In 1975, based on the operetta by Vladimir Gorikker, the film "Under the Roofs of Montmartre" (libretto by S. Bolotin and T. Sikorskaya) was shot with A. Kaidanovsky and E. Simonova in the main roles (sung by S. Menakhin and S. Lukashov). He was the only adaptation of "Violet of Montmartre" in the history of cinema.

The best numbers from the operetta "Violet of Montmartre"

"Carrambolina, Carramboletta!" ("Karambolina, Karamboletta!") - Ninon couplets (listen)

"Ich sing mein Lied im Regen und Schnee" ("Only the city subsides in the blue shade") - Violetta's output aria (listen)

"Dich ruft Paris mit tausend Stimmen" ("Can you forget how in the days of bad weather ...") - a duet of Raul and Ninon

"Warum sollen wir nicht frohlich sein" ("It's hard to have a meal once a week") - march-tertset

The history of the creation and productions of "Violets of Montmartre"

The novel “Scenes from the Life of Bohemia”, published in 1847–49, had not only a successful fate on the dramatic scene, but also proved to be an excellent ground for the birth of musical canvases. So, the desire to write an opera for this plot terribly embroiled two friends - Giacomo Puccini and Ruggero Leoncavallo - none of them abandoned their idea, the operas came out under the same name "Bohemia"With a difference of a year. Puccini left the championship in the speed of creating the score and the quality of the musical material. Thirty years passed, and this story drew the attention of the Viennese operetta master, Imre Kalman. The composer was no longer young," The Queen of Cardasa " Countess Maritsa "and" Circus Princess "have long conquered the world stage. But, having written so many magnificent melodies about love, the maestro himself did not experience personal happiness. Perhaps that is why the plot excited him with its main theme about unshared feeling. But despite that that romance and operas and we had a tragic end, in However, it did not happen operetta it was impossible. and in the composer's life.

Shortly before the premiere of "The Duchess of Chicago" in 1928 in a Viennese cafe, Kalman, 45, met a young Russian émigré, Vera Makinskaya. The girl was almost 30 years younger, good-looking and dreamed of becoming an actress - she played a tiny role in the production of his new operetta. The rapidly developing novel led to the fact that by the time the composer "Violet Montmartre" left the pen of a composer, Frau Kalman had already become a refugee from Perm and had dedicated his new creation to his happy husband. The libretto was written by the constant co-authors Kalman J. Brammer and A. Grünwald, this was their fifth collaboration with the maestro. The main part of the material was composed in the autumn of 1929, the work was intensive, interrupted for several days only when a newborn appeared in the house of Kalmans. Often, the librettists came by two o'clock in the afternoon and dispersed only by two in the morning. The room where the creative process was going on was called “screaming,” since the three men spared no effort in disputes and debates. Kalman composed the music in isolation from the text, so each time it was required to bring them into line.

Night vigils over sheet music ended in the early spring of 1930. March 21 at the Vienna Theater Johann strauss premiere was held. The production was not particularly impressive, as the theater was on the verge of closing. Despite the excellent cast, which included the soloist of the Vienna Opera Adele Kern and the popular tenor Hans Heinz, the Violet Montmartre did not collect full halls. After 170 performances, Kalman took the score, proposing it to the An der Vin theater, in which the second premiere of the operetta took place - incomparably more worthy and successful.

In the same year, overseas debuts of an operetta called "Paris in the Spring" in San Francisco and Los Angeles took place with full house. On the Russian stage "Violet of Montmartre" came in 1933, performed in the Leningrad Theater of Musical Comedy.

Imre Kalman will live another 23 years, but will write only 4 operettas, the premiere of only one of which will be held in Vienna. Then emigration followed and a complete ban on the performance of his operettas in Austria and Hungary, the loss of relatives in the Nazi concentration camps and serious illness. "Violet of Montmartre"will remain a symbol of carefree joy, youth and the passing century of a sparkling and bright genre of operetta.

Watch the video: Arias and duets in the operettas of Strauss, Lehar, Donizetti and Puccini (October 2019).

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