I couldn’t have an opera play-list without Fritz Wunderlich and so today’s track is Wenn es abend wird from Kalman’s Gräfin Mariza. And yes, the countess is operetta rather than opera, but my rules are flexible.
There are a whole host of reasons for choosing this track:
- Zeljko and me – it’s our song.
- The song is played in the novel and marks a turning point in the plot
- Happy memories of summers in Vienna
- It epitomizes how I always think of Vienna rather than how it actually is
- I’m a big fan of Fritz Wunderlich
But like so many opera singers, his life was as tragic as an opera plot. His father committed suicide as a result of life under the Nazis when Fritz was five; and then the great man himself fell down some stairs to his own death a mere thirty years later. Conspiracy theories abound as to whether he fell or was pushed by a jealous husband, who caught Fritz hitting on his wife. And then just to add to the drama, apparently a Los Angeles psychic wrote a book about her ten-year relationship with Fritzy in the afterlife. Tragically, I can find no trace of this book anywhere online, so if anyone has a copy, do let me know. And if not, NaNoWriMo2017 beckons …
His life story would make such a great film. @ Hollywood, put it on your ‘to do’ list for next year.
And as for my own evening? A night with Florence Foster Jenkins … more on that tomorrow.
Wenn es abend wird from Gräfin Mariza by Emmerich Kálmán