The Essential Arizona Lady Playlist
Recommended by conductor Kathleen Kelly.
In anticipation of our production of Arizona Lady this fall, conductor Kathleen Kelly has compiled a playlist of additional music by Arizona Lady composer Emmerich Kálmán, and other related media to help better acquiant you with this lesser known gem of operetta history.
Die Czardasfurstin (The Gypsy Princess) was Kálmán’s huge hit in Vienna, and is a great example of something very typical from Viennese operetta. "Heia in den Bergen" is a piece for soprano and chorus that emphasizes the soprano’s gypsy heritage. Being Gypsy or Hungarian was code (to Viennese) for being hot-blooded, passionate, sexy. It’s that culture’s take on the stereotype of people from more southern cultures being “hotter.” There’s a piece like this in the first act of Arizona Lady, where Lona sings about her hot temper, and then about how much she wants to be in love, all with the chorus backing her up.
You’ll recognize this, from Oklahoma! In Arizona Lady, there is a huge number for the whole cast in praise of Arizona that owes a lot to this piece! Kálmán certainly saw the original Broadway production, which opened on Broadway in 1943.
From another Vienna hit of Kálmán’s, Grafin Maritza (Countess Maritza), a piece called “Komm, Zigany” (“Come, Gypsy”), where the hero begs a gypsy to play music so that he can forget his troubles. In Arizona Lady, there are two pieces like this, one each for the two secondary female characters, both about using singing and dancing to forget problems, and the two romantic leads have a big duet about losing themselves in the joy of dancing.
This is an actual aria from Arizona Lady, in German - sung by the leading man, a love song. You can hear how close it is to old Broadway!
This piece, also from the aforementioned Countess Maritza, really shows Kálmán’s gift for melancholy and longing, all wrapped up in a beautiful melody. Here, the great Fritz Wunderlich sings “Grüß mir mein Wien” (“Greet my Vienna for me”).
Here Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald sing “Sweetheart” from Maytime, a 1937 film version of a 1917 musical by Sigmund Romberg. Like Kálmán, Romberg was born in Hungary and worked in Vienna, before moving to the U.S. in 1909.
Some footage of the Kentucky Derby from the 1920s. Come cheer on Arizona Lady in October!