“Some for Laughs, Some for Tears” – The Cabaretesque and Jewish Music

Thursday, March 29th, 2018
Phillip V. Bohlman

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

500 S. Goodwin, Urbana

Event Description

Word and song together join in the labors of the New Budapest Orpheum Society and Phil Bohlman as they explore the cabaretesque in Jewish music. The cabaretesque is a performative moment in which cultural, religious, and aesthetic differences of modern Judaism converge upon a stage, both metaphorical and physical, mediated by music to reframe the narratives of the everyday and of history. Music becomes a vessel for the cabaretesque by opening the possibilities of transformation: Identities change as sameness is enacted through the performance of otherness; a new dramatis personae accrues to narrative and drama; the backdrop of staged worlds becomes the mirror of lived-in worlds; social relations are turned upside-down and inside-out; the borders between the serious and the comic are blurred and blinded by the footlights. In the course of his pre-concert talk, Phil Bohlman presents cabaretesque moments from thirty years of research devoted to modern Jewish music, especially the traditions that connect the German and Yiddish traditions to modern Hebrew repertories in Israel. Songs from twentieth-century stage traditions form a counterpoint with songs from the Shoah. From the cabaret stage to operetta to Jewish film music, the cabaretesque offers a leitmotiv for interpreting the crisis of Jewish modernity in the twentieth century.

A performance by the New Budapest Orpheum Society follows at 5:00pm, with a reception at the Bread Company afterwards

Phillip V. Bohlman

University of Chicago, NBOS Artistic Director and UI alumnus