Article by Manolis Seiragakis, Assistant Professor of Theatrology, University of Crete
New York, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Athens, Thessaloniki, Constantinople (Istanbul), Smyrna (Izmir). This could be the route of an existing or imaginary Greek operetta troupe of the first half of the 20th century. This is at least what is evidenced by the recording locations of the Greek operetta records collected by Panagiotis Kounadis, which we have just listed.
...And this is just one of the many surprises that await the researchers who will examine this archive. The second is the impressive speed with which foreign operetta premieres in Berlin or Vienna were echoed to Athens. We are not only talking about the recording of a phonograph record with at least two of their songs but, in most cases, also a Greek premiere of the play. This temporal distance is something that is usually an indicator of assimilation for the theatrical life of an outlying country. In the case of Greek operetta it is impressively short, spanning from a few months to a maximum of one year. The cosmopolitan nature of the Greek operetta is confirmed by yet another source, while, at the same time, we are given a rare opportunity: by juxtaposing Greek and European operetta songs from the archive, we can easily compare the style and quality of local and foreign works, thus drawing safe personal conclusions. However, those who claim that the Greek operetta holds a worthy place in comparison with the European one now have the support of the specialized researcher of the genre Daniel Hirschel, who recently claimed that “a composer like Sakellaridis is certainly on the same level as Franz Lehár and Emmerich Kálmán, and I think that, in a unified Europe, it is time to discover all national musical theatrical traditions and to present them outside of their local borders”.