Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Isaac Katz

On 14 January 1895 the troupe of Kalman Juvelier performed in Bucharest, "Eliahu hanovi, oder, Aristobulus melekh yehuda, a historical operetta in five acts and one prologue, in written rhymes."

We bring here (rewritten by Y. Kara) the complete, anonymous review in Bucharest's "Folksblat," changing the orthography, and with short remarks about certain German publications:

"On the 14th and 15th of January [this year], this piece was premiered on the Yiddish stage by the 'Juvelier' troupe, and in spite of the fact that we see no great admiration for the Yiddish theatres as the reason we saw this cause, we must repeat the fact that this piece is interesting enough. It can be one of the best-regarded words ever published by Yiddish literature.

Although judging by the title, it is believed in the first paragraph there is one anachronism. "(Elijah the Prophet, or King Aristobulus [of the Jews])," immediately falls into one's impossibility, since from the first to the second is a four hundred year difference. First of all, the matter also becomes clear that Elijah is a phenomenon of heaven, which the task of the king Aristobulus of his wickedness to bring down, and to prevent the Jewish people of Petersburg to bevarn (gehitn). After the passage of this piece, this mission is not quite fulfilled.

However, the young author, who still has no thorough experience and ripe stage knowledge, must make some mistakes. Then our criticism is long overdue and we have no place here. Perhaps we will return to another number here. For now, however, we must add that the young author has talent, and for the first time suggested that it is possible to put our own story into one better grasp and one purer language writing, and when the handling of this piece still manages to wish ibrik what is still necessary, that he at least give us the hope of expecting better things from him later.

Speaking again of the performance of this piece does not allow us the room. The performers have made every effort to fulfill their duty. Mr. Juvelier, who has the difficult role of Aristobulus, is very good. His wife Kalich (Berta Kalich), as the queen, had been beaten? [unibertrofn]. Her fartreflekher figure helped her a lot. Mr. Rafalovich and Mrs. Juvelier, first as 'Na,' secondly as Queen Shulamis, had performed their roles well. Mr. Adler as Eliahu, as well as Messrs. Giltman, Rosenberg and Schilling, were very good in each of their roles. Mr. Rosenberg made us very happy with his singing. Mr. Margolius wore one good intrigue [awk]. The lustful couplet, however, did not suit his serious role. The music of this piece was put together by Mr. Perlmutter, and is very successful. The oriental songs, which are engrossed in some motifs of the the opera, 'Aida,' they are well adapted; the temple choir is very masterful. The accompanist deserves every praise.

But we still did not like the two comical drunks. One of them was not enough? When there come a time when we no longer see any clowns in such serious pieces? In this our public is guilty, which loves circus pieces. But we hope it will see good taste through good pieces. This hope entitles our Mr. Katz,  to whom we are offering a different direction to Yiddish theatre, and the ridiculous wild plays, such as "The Tenth Commandment" (by Goldfaden), "The Lost Soul" (by Latayner), "Meshiekh's tsaytn (The Arrival of the Messiah)" (by Goldfaden), etc., and not be driven out of the theatre."

In a later volume (112) it is reported that Katz had completed a lebensbild, "Raykhtum un libe (Riches and Love?)," which was played quickly in "Zhignatsa" Hall. About that production, there is no information.

In May 1895 K. was reported to be living in Bucharest, that the Yiddish theatres and dramatic unions obtained his "plays, dramas, comedies, vaudevilles, etc."

Sh.E. from Y. Kara.

  • [--] -- Theater-kritik, "Dos folksblat," Bucharest, N' 90, 3 February 1895.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7,  page 6167.

You can see his original "Lexicon" biogaphy in Vol. 2 by clicking here.


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