Between the two world wars, during the so-called "silver age" of Viennese operetta, the coloratura soprano Marta Eggerth, who has died aged 101, reigned supreme on stage and, above all, on screen. In the films of the 1930s, the blonde, wide-eyed beauty's bright bell-like tones and charming personality provided a welcome relief from ruinous inflation, world depression and the approaching sound of Nazi jackboots.
The leading operetta composers of the day, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Straus, Robert Stolz and Paul Abraham, all wrote songs for her films. However, by 1938, after the Anschluss, with the exception of Lehár, all of them, being Jewish, had fled Vienna for the Us. Eggerth and her husband, Jan Kiepura, the celebrated Polish tenor, who both had Jewish mothers, also left Austria for America, where they continued their singing careers.
Hitler loved Viennese operetta,
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