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The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene Present Opera Not Seen in Over 70 Years, THE GOLDEN BRIDE, 5/27

On Tuesday May 27th at 7 PM at the Baruch Performing Arts Center 55 Lexington Avenue, The Folksbiene will present a concert of a classic Yiddish Operetta not heard in New York in over 70 years.

Once a staple of 2nd Avenue repertoires, The Golden Bride, fell into obscurity until former Harvard librarian Michael Ochs discovered a hand written score and took on the mammoth task of restoring this important work which exemplifies a chapter in both Jewish-American history and in the development of the American musical theater.

This concert stars Dani Marcus, Stephen Mo Hanan and Eyal Sherf with Shira Averbuch, Susanne Katchko, Stuart Marshall, Naomi Miller, Adam Shapiro and Steve Sterner under the musical direction of Zalmen Mlotek. Produced and directed by Motl Didner.

The concert will be performed in the original Yiddish, with English and Russian translation supertitles.

The Yiddish-American musical theater of the 1920's served to help Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe make meaning of their lives as strangers in this new land. Like many newcomers to America, they faced homesickness, deprivation, and language difficulty. The Yiddish musical helped them come to terms with their environment by reminding them of the "old home" while highlighting the benefits of the New World. It confronted the past with the present and fused the folkloric songs, liturgical chants, dances, and theater styles of Jewish music with American rhythms and social topics to help resolve on stage the conflicts and stalemates in the lives of new inhabitants. These comic and dramatic musical works chart the evolution of a community in its acculturation to America and its eventual absorption.

Di Goldene Kale (The Golden Bride) premiered at the 2,000-seat Second Avenue Theater in New York on February 9, 1923, one of fourteen Yiddish programs in the city that night. It ran for eighteen weeks and then traveled to Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and other American cities (even Omaha, Nebraska!), as well as Buenos Aires, Manchester, England, and elsewhere in Europe. Thirteen recordings of songs from the show were released during its first run and sheet music for two numbers were published. The show became a staple of Second Avenue and was still performed twenty-five years later.

The music is by Joseph Rumshinsky (1881-1956), the undisputed dean of Yiddish operetta composers in the U.S. (aptly called "the Jewish Victor Herbert"), who wrote the music for well over a hundred such works. Possessed of an excellent music education in his native Lithuania, he is credited with many firsts in his efforts to raise the level of the Yiddish musical, among them introducing a 24-piece orchestra and incorporating large ballets. The book was written by Frieda Freiman. The lyrics are by the gifted Ukrainian-born Louis Gilrod.

The first act is set in a Russian shtetl. Golde, who has been raised since early childhood by the innkeepers Pinkhes and Toybe, has just inherited a fortune left to her by her father who had gone off to America many years earlier. The newly rich Golde is suddenly courted by all the young men in the shtetl, but she is in love with Misha, the innkeepers' son. Golde rashly declares she'll marry the first suitor to reunite her with her birth mother. The act closes as Golde leaves for America to claim her inheritance. The second act takes place in Golde's lavish mansion in America. On the night Golde hosts a masquerade ball, her suitors, who have been scouring the Earth for her mother, all converge to claim their prize. Which young man will win her heart (and her fortune?)

This is a free event, presented by The City University of New York.

Reservations are required. Call the Baruch Performing Arts Center box office at (646) 312-5073. The theater is located at 55 Lexington Avenue (enter the building on 25th Street between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue). On Tuesday May 27th, the doors will open at 6:30 PM for a 7 PM performance.

Since 1915, The Folksbiene has presented a window into the world of Jewish culture, engaging, educating, and igniting the imaginations of generations of theatregoers. The Folksbiene launches it's centennial season on June 9, 2014 with a Gala Concert celebrating the 50th Anniversary of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and will culiminate the Jubilee Year with a week long International Festival of Jewish Performing Arts in New York City in June 2015. The Folksbiene engages tens of thousands of viewers annually with Drama Desk Award Nominated Off-Broadway productions, touring concerts, an Outreach and Education Program and the newly formed Folksbiene.ru Russian division. www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org.



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