The Vagabond King
Quantity in Basket: None RUDOLF FRIML The Vagabond King TROY738-39 - Price: $33.98
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First complete CD recording of the blowved romantic comic operetta.

The 15th century poet Francois Villon, between scrapes with the law in Paris, wrote lyrics both poignant and bawdy. At the end of the 19th century, novelist R.H. Russell sentimentalized his career in a plot that borrowed the king-for-a-day motif, thus allowing Villon to defeat France's enemies and win the hand of an aristocratic lady, all in under 24 hours. Adapted as a play in 1901, by New York writer Justin McCarthy, If I Were King served as a star vehicle for E.H. Southern in a Broadway stage production. In 1923, Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart were at the very start of their careers. They devised a musical version of the McCarthy play for a Manhattan girl's school and then looked for a more prestigious venue for their collaboration. Broadway backers turned down the young artists, but liked their idea, "borrowed" it from Rodgers and Hart and commissioned the more established Rudolf Friml to fashion a professional musical from the plot. Friml's Rose Marie was then enjoying great success in New York. Born in what is today the Czech Republic in 1897, Friml enrolled at age 14 in the Prague Conservatory (which was headed by Dvorak) and completed the six-year course in three years. He toured Europe and the United States as accompanist for violinist Jan Kubelik and made a piano debut in this country onstage at Carnegie Hall in 1904. Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony premiered his Piano Concerto two seasons later, with the composer at the piano. Friml's true calling was as a composer of songs. In 1912, he was called in by Arthur Hammerstein to complete the music for a new work which Victor Herbert had abandoned, owing to a run-in with a temperamental soprano. The resulting operetta, The Firefly, was his first Broadway success, and would be followed by many others. Friml continued to live in America for much of the 20th century long after his sentimental musical style was considered old fashioned. As late as 1969, he was celebrated by Ogden Nash on the occasion of his 90th birthday in a couplet which ended: "I trust your conclusion and mine are similar: It would be a happier world if it were Frimler."
Rudolf Friml, composer
The Vagabond King
Cast, Chorus & Orchestra of Ohio Light Opera, Steven Byess, conductor

Review to come.
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