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Amsterdam Yiddish Symposium 13: Yiddish Theater

17/01/2019 ,13:00 - 17:00

Yiddish Theater

The history of the Yiddish theater is not a straightforward one. In traditional Judaism, theatrical performances could only put on at the festival of Purim and by men. The texts performed that have come down to us are no fully developed dramas. This apparently started to change around 1700, since some texts of plays which have been preserved from that period onwards have the hallmarks of contemporary drama. However, we can only speak of a modern professional Yiddish theater from the second half of the nineteenth century.

With Evi Michels and Alyssa Quint, the Menasseh ben Israel Institute has been able to invite the two main researchers on these turning points in the development of Yiddish theater. Evi Michels will discuss the developments in the early modern period with a special emphasis on Amsterdam, Alyssa Quint will describe the beginnings of the modern Yiddish theater.

Het Menasseh ben Israel Instituut organiseert, in samenwerking met de Abteilung für Jiddische Kultur, Sprache und Literatur at the Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf, het dertiende Amsterdam Yiddish Symposium. met de volgende lezingen, die in het Engels worden gehouden:

Evi Michels (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen): Early Yiddish Theater Performances in Amsterdam

Alyssa Quint (YIVO, New York): The Accidental Rise of the Modern Yiddish Theater

Datum:                donderdag 17 januari 2019, 13.00-16.45 uur
Plaats:                 Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48
Kosten:                € 10,–; voor studenten en donateurs van het instituut  € 5.-
Registratie:          via email of telefonisch 020-5310325

Evi Michels obtained her doctorate in Yiddish Studies in 2001. She has taught at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg and at present she teaches at the University of Tübingen. She has published on the history of Yiddish performance and performance texts (Die Anfänge der jiddischen purim shpiln in ihrem literarischen und kulturgeschichtlichen Kontext, Hamburg 2003), Yiddish manuscripts (Jiddische Handschriften der Niederlande, Leiden 2013). and Yiddish polemics.

Early Yiddish Theater Performances in Amsterdam. Based on the variety of theater plays found from the 18th century, one can infer much about how they were influenced by theater productions in the Netherlands at that time, as well as by Jewish plays from Frankfurt and Prague. In this lecture Dr. Evi Michels will present her research on theater performances from Amsterdam at the beginning of the 18th century and their impact on the Dutch culture.



Alyssa Quint is the author of The Rise of the Modern Yiddish Theater (out this year by Indiana University Press) and two forthcoming edited volumes called Women on the Yiddish Stage and a scholarly edition of Goldfaden’s operetta Shulamis.

The Accidental Rise of the Modern Yiddish Theater. From 1878 to 1883, the modern Yiddish theater thrived in Odessa and other cities throughout and beyond the Pale of Settlement, including St. Petersburg and Moscow. It is unclear why Yiddish-language theater was even necessary. Before this time, Russian Jews were already enthusiastic visitors to the theater in a variety of languages. Moreover, even when the government was not legislating against Yiddish-language public performance, competing theaters were beneficiaries of generous government-subsidies. Quint’s talk will focus on the first years of the modern Yiddish theater (1876 to 1883) under the stewardship of the Russian-Jewish composer and theater pioneer, Avrom Goldfaden. What accidents of history and culture spurred the development of an institution that became a global force over the following decades.



13:00 - 17:00
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