Goodbye Berlin!Aloha Hawaii!


915 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

Join us on a journey from Weimar-era Berlin to the shores of Hawaii as Folks Operetta kicks off its 2019 season with “Goodbye Berlin, Aloha Hawaii.” In this multimedia concert, we’ll be exploring the music of Paul Abraham, the king of 1930s operetta. Abraham combined operetta with jazz, and the result was a string of hugely popular shows, from Viktoria and her Hussar (1930) to the exotic Flower of Hawaii (1931) to Fairytale in the Grand Hotel (1934) and beyond. You’ve never heard anything quite like this music, with its unique combination of influences. 

Abraham, one of the most successful composers of the Weimar era, had to leave Berlin overnight after the Nazis took power in 1933. As a Jewish composer whose work was heavily influenced by African-American music, he embodied everything the Nazis hated. He continued to work in Vienna and Budapest until the annexation of Austria and the threat of war compelled him to leave for America. Once there, he faced mental health problems. Abraham would spend 10 years in the Creedmoor Mental Hospital in Queens, New York. After the war, Abraham and his wife returned to Germany, where he lived quietly for the rest of his life.

Abraham’s life was a tragic descent from the pinnacle of success to exile, illness, and obscurity. He took operetta in a new direction, but his career could not survive persecution and war. His life is thus also the story of what might have been if his art had continued to develop without interference.

Come hear the whole story – and enjoy the irresistibly catchy melodies of a forgotten operetta master.