Thursday 18 April 2013

A Dance To The Music Of Time

One of the family sent a fascinating item from the BBC News today about how certain men who made their mark on the 20th Century all came to be in Vienna at the same time in 1913.  The link to the story which is short is:

This is the kind of thing to enjoy for those of a certain turn (or warp) of mind.  Having already located Lenin and Henry Hook VC, a hero of the Battle of Rorkes Drift in the Zulu Wars at the same place at the same time in London (find in my search) there have been many other examples to enjoy.

The BBC article names five people, Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Josip Tito, Sigmund Freud and Josef Stalin.  To these might be added Nikolai Bukharin to make up the six needed for the comment below.

What is of interest is what they did in their spare time when not planning world domination or the overthrow of Empires and Capitalism or playing mind games.  Might they all have attended a performance at the Vienna Opera at the same time?  Perhaps huddled together up in “the gods” on the cheap benches.

Perhaps Wagners “Gotterdamerung”, the obvious one about the collapse of a civilisation into ruins?  Perhaps, “Boris Gudunov” by Mussorgsky, about the usurpation of power and ruin of a Tsar?  Perhaps “Don Carlos”, a complicated business of lust, power and disaster in Spain by Verdi?  Perhaps “Elektra” by Richard Strauss, which is ancient Greek incest, murder and the overthrow of power?

If so, it would explain a great deal.  But what if they had all joined the same local operetta and drama company for companionship, developing their presentation skills and learning how to put the plot and the tune across?

A famous work at the time was “Florodora” by Leslie Stuart (see Wikipedia) in which one of the favourite scenes is where six men in dress suits dance with six lovely ladies of the chorus in flowing gowns singing “Come tell me pretty maiden do, are there any more at home like you?”, both charming and a major hit of the day.

I like to think that if this had been the case Leslie Stuart himself might have been in the audience, possibly bringing a message from Alois in Liverpool to Adolf in Vienna in his travels.  Might he have seen this team of chorus boys and girls and put them under contract for his next big production on Broadway in New York?

What if they had been a hit and gone on to the big time?  Imagine the six of them bestriding the world of Vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood.  They might have gone on to change the world of entertainment instead of the real world, although the one these days does seem to have taken over the other.

What could they have called themselves?

The Marxist Brothers?

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