After the turmoil-ed marriage with a girl-wife, we get a rather pessimistic view of the aging Johann Strauss (Stuart Wilson). Not only has he failed in his marriage but also in relations with his close family, namely his younger brother Eduard Strauss (Tony Anholt). Ambitious, proud and determined, Edi performs at the Sperl and plays Johann Strauss's waltzes. Considering Schani 'out of date,' he believes that it is him that people come to see. Moreover, he does not object to the spreading rumor that Schani allegedly stole late Josef's works and plays them as his own. Quite difficult brother-brother relations but not sufficient dramatization, unfortunately. Edi's sarcasm towards Schani's 'out of date' approach to music will be cured in America which will make him 'old fashioned' and 'afraid.'
Schani's sisters are not quite a comfort either (mind you that they may remind you here of English ladies at tea). The reason for their outright objections, however, lies elsewhere - in a relationship with a woman that becomes a true haven and remedy for loneliness of the aging man, a woman for whom he was waiting all his life...
Adele (Lynn Farleigh) is a Jewess, a widow who lives alone with her little daughter Alice. Unlike the depiction in STRAUSS DYNASTY where Johann Strauss meets her in Budapest, the emphasis here is put on the fact that she lives in the same building as Schani's sisters. Respectable as she appears to all of them, it is hardly possible in Catholic Austria that Schani could divorce his girl-wife and get married again. This convention and the social situation is nicely depicted in a scene with Edi Strauss who highly objects to this, as he calls it, 'mad idea.' Yet, Adele finds Schani 'gentle and kind,' their relationship is not only based on passion but also understanding and he risks everything. Schani gets German citizenship, becomes a Protestant, divorces his wife Lili and marries Adele. Then, they come back to Vienna and...everybody waits for the reactions of the Viennese. His return is marked by the debut of the operetta 'Die Zigeunerbaron' and what follows are tributes... There is still success awaiting for the aging composer that is not merely resorted to 'glass cases.' Mind you that the episode spans quite many years of Schani's life and, therefore, we find him growing old very quickly.
Although the final episode is titled 'Adele' and Lynn Farleigh leaves a lasting impression of depicting a gentle, subtle woman of sophistication and dignity, the two most memorable scenes of the episode do not refer to her, actually. These are the second meeting of Johann Strauss and emperor Franz Josef and the 50th jubilee of Schani's career at the Dommayer's. The meeting with Franz Josef with the sounds of the beautiful and moody "Kaiserwaltz" in the background appears to depict the confrontation of popularity. The two aging gentlemen, in spite of the fact that they represent two 'worlds,' seem to have much in common, they care for their public (humorously Schani changes his looks in order not to be like the emperor). Their conversation echoes the one of episode 5 but it is more a talk of legacy than plans. Whose work will outlast whose? Meanwhile, the scene at the Dommayer's occurs to be the answer for the emperor's dilemma. 50 years later, there are no Claques who would mock the young composer but true fans who applaud their great musician, the symbol of Vienna on the day of his jubilee. Sentimental as the scene may seem, which also sets the tone for final impressions in a viewer, it leads the series to a jubilant conclusion.
Among the supporting performances of the episode, a mention must be made of the actor who plays Johannes Brahms in one short scene, short but memorable, too. In STRAUSS DYNASTY, there is also a scene with Brahms in a far more 'unusual' circumstances where he turns up to help Schani save his face and intends to state publicly that Strauss could never steal his brother's work.
Apart from some fine historical touches in the episode, there is also a notion of the first telephones, 'that thing' to speak to, as Schani calls it.
'All my life I was waiting for you...' a pretty nice thing for a woman to hear from her husband no matter how much older he is...a pretty nice reflection of a passing man. A statement that refers to true love, the only thing worth looking for, struggling for, creating for and withering for.
The empty Sperl, no Johann Strauss any longer, no dancers of that time but music lasts and is for always present in the air of Vienna, the waves of the Danube and the hearts of people.
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