Jonas Kaufmann traces the paths of great singers and composers during the last years of the Weimar Republic (between Germany's defeat at the end of World War I in 1918, and Hitler's rise to power in 1933). Weimar Germany was a centre of artistic innovation, great creativity, and considerable experimentation.
One the one hand there was widespread latitude for varieties of cultural expression led to an explosion of artistic production; on the other hand Germany was facing severe political crises, unemployment and an instable economic situation. Both of these factors also lead to an increased production of popular entertainment.
Weimar Germany was, arguably, the last great experimental laboratory for music in which the ‘popular’ and ‘classical’ truly intermingled.
Elements of popular music, dance numbers and Jazz-elements found their way into classical operetta music structures, which proved to be enormously successful. Sadly, after the Nazi seizure of power in Germany such music and the musicians, who created and performed it, were systematically suppressed. The erstwhile celebrated musicians became victims of racial fanaticism who had to suffer the most tragic fates.
The film includes excerpts of Jonas Kaufmann’s recording session for his album in the Funkhaus Berlin. Interview partners are Yvonne Kálmán (the composer’s daughter) and Clarissa Henry (the stepdaughter of Robert Stolz).
The interwoven archival footage is a selection of various operetta movies (“Ich liebe alle Fraun”, “Ein Lied geht um die Welt”), reports covering current affairs, radio-documents, hit records (e.g. Joseph Schmidt, Jan Kiepura), and historic material of. Marta Eggerth, Franz Lehár and Richard Tauber.