We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Toni Goldman, Tino Honegger, Hanna Elizabeth Young, Lars Redlich, and Erich Rausch

The mission of The German Forum is to provide performance opportunities in the USA for young artists from the German speaking world and to provide unique cultural events for New Yorkers. There are at least four events each year and we would hate to miss a single one.

Last night was Cabaret Night at the Gotham Comedy Club and the gemütlichkeit of the evening brought pleasure to a wide audience. Natürlich, if one spoke German you could understand more of the words-- but our non-German speaking companion had a marvelous time. There were plenty of songs in English and the ones in German were either translated or needed no translation, due to the communication skills of the artists. The evening was hosted by Henry Meyer-Oertel, President of the German Forum.

The partnership of Lars Redlich and Tino Honegger is a remarkable one, marked by lots of synergy. We have heard the "Habanera" from Carmen countless times but we have never heard it performed the way Mr. Redlich did it--releasing his inner anima (look it up!) in fine falsetto and with rap dialogue.  We cannot imagine how George Bizet might have reacted, but the audience responded with gales of laughter and wild applause.

Mr. Redlich kicked it up a notch for "Frauensongmedley" in which he parodied popular American songstresses.  You have never heard "You Made Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" sung like that!

Even funnier was "Sockensong" which paid tribute to the lonely socks whose partners have mysteriously disappeared.

The opening number gave Swiss artist Tino Honegger an opportunity to sing Bodo Wartke's "Liebeslied" in a plethora of languages, including Finnish. We got a kick out of "Taubenvergiften im Park" by Austrian-American composer/cabarettist Georg Kreisler which reminded us of Tom Lehrer's song "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park".  We were driven to find out who copied whom but learned that each man claimed his work was original!  Apparently both cultures enjoy black humor!

Toni Goldman has a deep soulful voice and entertained us with Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed"  and a song by Michael Kingsley which she has recorded--"The First Crack". We also liked "Irgendwo in Berlin" (Peter Plate/Ulf Sommer). She was accompanied by Erich Rausch on keyboard.

Hanna Elizabeth Young is a different type of singer--bluesy and torchy--and lovely to listen to.  She sang Joe McCoy's "Why Don't You Do Right", and "Speak Low" (Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash).  Our favorite was "Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte" by Friedrich Hollaender (whose daughter married the afore-mentioned Georg Kreisler). She also was accompanied by Mr. Rausch.

The program ended with a bi-lingual version of "Mack the Knife" in which everyone participated. Who doesn't love Kurt Weill's music! We prefer the original German text of Bertolt Brecht which cuts deeper (pun intended) than Mark Blitzstein's translation which was moved into pop territory by Frank Sinatra.

What a team these five artists made! Ms. Goldman herself directed the evening, entitled "Love Lost and Found Again".

As is customary with German Forum evenings, a lavish buffet preceded the performance with more to eat and drink afterward. The artists mingled with the audience and many toasts were made with fine German beer.

Anyone who appreciates German culture would do well to join the German Forum and participate in their wonderful evenings!

(c) meche kroop

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