n Slavic Almanac : The South African Journal for Slavic, Central and Eastern European Studies - Peter Potemkin and musical theatre

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1025-3386


The article comments on the surprising creative incarnationof Petr Potemkin as a translator of librettos for operettas and comic operas. One of the translated librettos was for the comic opera 'Versiegelt', by the German composer Leo Blech, translated into Russian by Potemkin in 1913. The manuscript of this translation, which was discovered in the collection of the St. Petersburg Theatre Library, is included in the Appendix. It has never been published before. Although approved by the censors, this opera never premiered in St.Petersburg, probably due to the outbreak of the First World War. Nevertheless, research related to the fate of this translation led to the discovery of a further two librettos, translated by Potemkin in a collaboration with E. Spero. These were the librettos for the operettas 'Der Nachtschnellzug' and 'Sterben verbotene Stadt', which were eventually staged in the Summer Buffo Theatre in May and June 1914, and which are discussed in some detail in this article.

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