White Shirt Monday: Victorious

your hat, renate!

[not really opera today, although one could call Renate Müller a very, very light mezzo (ist here such a thing as a soubrettezzo), but she does carry a Fedora and a black tie outfit like a seasoned White Shirt: Renate Müller (Susanne/Viktoria) and Adolf Wohlbrück (Robert) in the original “Viktor und Viktoria” by Reinhold Schünzel, Germany 1933]

Granted, the 1933 version is a lot less gay than the 1982 one with Julie Andrews – namely, Viktor is not gay where Toddy is – but it still has Renate Müller hitting on Hilde Hildebrand in a ploy to get Ellinor away from Robert, whom Susanne wants for herself.

Still, this movie – for all the period misogyny one has to sidestep – has a lot of dashing outfits, some fine tie-wearing and the nostalgic operetta songs of old that usually don’t come with a healthy dose of gender trouble (or do they?), among them the amazingly quirky “Come with me a bit to Madrid or wherever else you want to go”. How do you even come up with such a line?

I’ve recently discovered that this movie is now so old that it is available via archive.org for free (although it seems to have been pulled now – grrr – but there are still clips on YT and I do keep a copy in case anyone is interested); there just seems to be one lapse that my commercial copy also has, which is a gap between Viktor admitting to being “Viktoria” and then an already coughing Viktor dragging an already in-drag Susanne to replace him for the night’s performance – it seems there is a bit of film missing, right around the 16’00 mark (film buffs, what is your verdict?). Surely there should be a reaction shot to Viktor revealing himself as Viktor, a scene of devising the cross-dressing idea, and then a  dress-up scene?!

Still, clubbing in London never looked so good (just be careful on which ladies you hit).

3 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: Victorious”

    1. now THAT is a pitch – I wonder what angle Zemlinsky would have taken on this. A great chance to decontruct the soprano/tenor axis (but how to cast it?).


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