In 1938 C. immigrated to the
America and was soon engaged in Washington to paint sets
for "The Holy Johanna [?]"with Luise Rainer, then until
1940 sets and costume designer for the New York Balfour
actors, American League for Opera, the Austrian theatre
in New York and Civic Centre in Washington.
In 1940 C. was stage and
costume designer and instructor in the Academy of Vocal
Arts in Philadelphia, New York College of Music, as well
as in Piscator's theatre "Dramatic Workshop," and
dramatic work classes in the New School for Social
Research. In 1941 he was with various opera productions
in the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts, including the
world premiere of the American opera, "The Masterpiece"
by Paul Nordoff.
In 1942 C. designed sets for
the plays, "Criminalist," "Nathan the Wise," "War and
Peace," "Winter Soldiers," which was staged by Erwin
Piscator in New York's "Dramatic Workshop," In 1943 he
painted the sets or the opera, "Tales of Hoffman" in
Hunter College, New York, staged by Leopold Sachse, and
to I.J. Singer's "Family Carnovsky," which was staged by
Maurice Schwartz in his Yiddish Art Theatre. In 1942 he
also made contact with the Folksbiene in New York, for
which he became the constant scenery set designer or
every production, beginning with "Uncle Moses,"
"Riverside Drive"-- until the last production, "The
Wedding in Fernwald" (shortly before his death.)
In 1944 C. became the set
designer for the City Center Opera Company in new York,
where he painted the sets for "La Boheme," "Turandot,"
"The Master Singer," "Aida," "Salome," "Faust," "Madame
Butterfly," "Don Giovanni," "The Wedding of Figaro,"
"The Gypsy Baron," "Rozenkavalier," "The Old Maid and
the Thief," "Manon," as well as "Carmen" for the
Columbia concert with Leopold Sachse.
C. also created the sets for
"Sender Blank" by Sholem Aleichem, staged by Jacob
Rotbaum with the Yiddish Art Theatre; for Leivick's "The
Miracle of the Ghetto," and "We Will Live" by David
Bergelson, staged by Jacob Ben Ami (1944); "The Three
Gifts" by I.L. Peretz; "Dr. Herzl" by the Yiddish Art
Theatre (1945), "Mazl tov Molly" for Molly Picon, and
various productions for the "Ensemble Theatre" (ARTEF.)
On 6 November 1951 C. passed
away in New York and came to his eternal rest on the
grounds of the Workmen's Circle [Mt. Lebanon Cemetery,
Queens, New York.)
Boris Levin writes:
"... His last job was in
Berlin (his birth city) in "Yehudis" by Friedrich Hebbel
for the "Jewish Culture Bund." The sets were painted in
dark colors, as the life there was dark."
H.A. Conrad, in his life,
made many contributions to the theatre arts. To the
Yiddish theatre in America he contributed very wonderful
paints and colors. With his sets he artistically
illuminated every production in which he took part in.
... The "Bureau of Jewish Education" employed with
Condell's entry into the Yiddish theatre arts and
appointed himself to design for children's productions
for plays about all the Jewish holiday events, which
would be performed in the various types of Jewish
schools. The Bureau had all the designs for the stage
scenery and costumes published in a book, which were
used in every school that was associated with the
Bureau. His last job for the Bureau, which he had
already painted on his sick bed, was for a children's
production of Sh. Citrin's dramatization in English of
I.L. Peretz's "A din toyre mitn vint," "Der kuntsnmakher"
and "Di lbnh dertseylt."
In 1942 he became interested
in the Folksbiene, who brought in his wife Luba
(Lillian). The first production with the Folksbiene was
"Uncle Moses," then "Riverside Drive" and "A Goldfaden
Dream." Unfortunate were the figures of "Bobe
yakhne" and "Kuni leml." In them he had exalted love and
understanding. Today this "hiltserne ferdl" which
Hotzmakh had taken away sitting on him [lozt zikh
avek reitndik oyf dem] was literally a wonder for
the eye. We cannot forget the sets of "The Poor
Kingdom," the wet basement, the clothing of the beggar,
the lights, so also was Condell successful with
productions of "The Big Winner," "Menachem Mendel's
Dreams," and "In Polish oyf der Keyt."
The great artistic elegance
came with "Yehudis." Here, by himself, he transmitted a
completely different approach as to performance in
Germany. Here he was free in his art. He also felt the
struggle for freedom that the Jews had then felt in
Israel. In the sets of eyngemoyerte walls,
[behind] which Jews found themselves during the time of
siege, he threw the character into joyous rays, which
says about new hope, that the Jews will be victorious.
And when the Jews prevailed [against] the enemy
Holofernes, the sun broke in, entering through these
walls-- a harbinger of a new life.
Later in time Condell
painted the sets for "Joel the Fiddler," "A Story About
a Prince," and the last, unforgettable sets for "A
Wedding in Fernwald." In that production one could see
and feel the spirit of the artist. ... In the production
of "A Wedding in Fernwald," Condell displayed in his
fuller derhoybnkeyt. He and his sets and lights
went with the rescued Jews of the gas chambers. He felt
that he is one of them, that their fate also was his
fate, and when the refugees went into their new lives,
he also went with them. But he did not go with them for
long. The illness had ripped him away from the new life,
which he had found for himself in the country.
Condell was an artist who
had painted his work with a responsibility and
seriousness. The seriousness had expressed itself in his
attitude, punctuality and moods. He was a kind man, full
of ambition to create not only for the Yiddish theatre,
but also or the American stage."
The famous art critic Max
Osborn wrote about C.:
"Condell had continued to
bring out a khshufdik artwork. He creates an
oysshtatung that belongs with the color and taste of
plastics and unity in style of perfection and
reytsfulstn, which we have said that we had once
Sh. E. from
Boris Levin-- Der
farshtorbener bine dekorator H.A. Condell,
"Forward," N.Y., 30 November 1951.
[--]-- H.A. Condell,
Set Designer at City Opera, Dies, New York Herald
Tribune, N.Y., November 7, 1951.