B1695. HANS BUSCH. Verdi's AĎDA - The History of an Opera in Letters and Documents. University of Minnesota Press, 1979. 688 pp. Index; Bibliography; Illus. (Pictorial thick paper covers) Superb, clean copy has mere hint of light fold on front cover. - 0-8166-0800-8
A Biographical Note:
“On the evening of 7 March 1933, the Dresden State Opera was scheduled to give RIGOLETTO under the baton of my father, Fritz Busch, the company’s general music director. The house was sold out that night, any remaining tickets having been bought up not by Verdi enthusiasts but by members of Hitler’s S.A. As my father made his way to the podium, the Brownshirts in the audience began a chorus of boos so deafening as to prevent the performance from even starting. My father laid down his baton and left the auditorium before any S.A.-planned riot could begin.
Long before the Holocaust, my father, with rare common sense, had seen, as it were, the swastika on the wall. For him the Nazis were nothing more than thugs, and outspoken as he always was, he made no secret of his contempt for the movement and its hateful ideology. So by January 1933, when Hitler came to power, Fritz Busch’s opposition to the Nazis was well known.
Following that ill-fated RIGOLETTO, my father resigned his position as music director at Dresden. Shortly thereafter he left Germany in protest, returning only in 1951, the year of his death.
The next time Fritz Busch raised his baton was at the famed Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. There, in summer, 1933, he made his long-awaited South American début conducting a series of memorable Wagner performances in the Colón’s German temporada (season), held each winter (our summer). Buenos Aires hailed my father as the greatest Wagner conductor it had ever experienced. Pleased by the Colón’s superb orchestra, chorus, and soloists, Fritz Busch happily returned for the German temporadas of 1934, 1935, and 1936, alternating between Buenos Aires, the Glyndebourne Mozart Festivals, and the Danish State Radio Symphony. By the time war broke out, he considered Buenos Aires his home.
The temporada of 1936 included revivals of productions of PARSIFAL and DER ROSENKAVALIER, both first seen in that debut season of 1933. Earlier I had had the opportunity to serve as assistant to the stage director of those productions, Carl Ebert; now, in 1936, I was to direct myself. Hard work and youthful enthusiasm compensated for whatever talent or experience I was lacking at that time. The distinguished cast, including Alexander Kipnis, Marjorie Lawrence, and my future brother-in-law Martial Singher, proved unfailingly helpful, kindly accepting my direction and lending all their moral support.
Marjorie Lawrence in particular took a kindly interest in her twenty-two-year-old director. At one point during rehearsals, Miss Lawrence, as Kundry, asked whether in Act II she should kiss Parsifal a second time. She was totally unfazed by the reply I hastily blurted out, resorting to the multi-lingual jibberish favored by the Colón’s stagehands of Italian descent: ‘Ne kiss pas otra volta’.
Many years later, when Miss Lawrence, now confined to a wheelchair, was in Bloomington to judge Metropolitan Opera auditions, she shared a good laugh with me as I quoted to her that rather bizarre direction of mine from 1936.”
- Hans Busch, A Personal Recollection