Monday, April 18, 2005

Victor Herbert

Victor Herbert received his early musical training in Europe at the Stuttgart Conservatory, where he developed into an outstanding cello player. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1886 to join the Metropolitan Opera—she as a soprano to sing the title role in the American premier of Verdi’s Aida and he as principal cellist.
In 1892, Victor Herbert exhibited another side of his musical life when he became conductor of the 22nd Regimental Band of the New York National Guard, succeeding the great Patrick Gilmore; the following year he took over leadership of Gilmore’s civilian band following Gilmore’s death. Then in another change of pace, Herbert conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1898 until 1902. Six years later, he founded the Victor Herbert Orchestra, and conducted programs of light orchestral music on tours and at summer resorts for many years.
In 1915, Herbert became the first man to compose a film score—for The Fall of a Nation, a forgotten sequel to The Birth of a Nation.
In the early years of the twentieth century, Herbert championed the right of composers to profit from their work and worked closely with John Philip Sousa and others in founding the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the organization that even today protects the rights of creative musicians.
In 1894, Victor Herbert composed the first of his operettas, Prince Ananias, and it was soon followed by The Serenade and The Fortune Teller. Starting in 1903, Babes in Toyland, Mlle Modiste, The Red Mill, Naughty Marietta, and many other successes made him one of the best-known figures in American music. He finally realized his long-standing intention to compose an Irish operetta, Eileen, produced in 1917.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Maria Schell

Maria Schell (born Margarete Schell on January 15, 1926) is an actress born in Vienna, Austria to a Swiss author and an Austrian actress. She is the older sister of actor Maximilian Schell.
Schell starred in such films as Gervaise (1956), Le Notti Bianche (1957), The Hanging Tree (1959), and Superman: The Movie (1978). She also had three guest appearances in the television series, Der Kommissar.
Schell was married twice, first to Horst H├Ąchler and later to Veit Relin. Her daughter by her second marriage, actress Marie Theres Kroetz-Relin (born 1966), who is married to Bavarian playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz, has recently made a media and Internet appearance as a spokeswoman for housewives (If Pigs Could Fly. Die Hausfrauenrevolution, 2004).
Burdened with old age and illness, Maria Schell lives as a recluse somewhere in the Alps.