Theatre scholars and musicologists from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany came together in spring 2017 at the Centre for Popular Culture and Music for a symposium, where they discussed for the first time the topic “Popular Music Theatre under Socialism: Operetta and Musical in the Eastern European States between 1945 and 1990”. This involved general questions such as: Did the uniform (prescribed) worldview lead to identical plays, or are there – in spite of a transnational ideology – national specific differences? And what did these differences possibly look like? The authors of this volume describe the phases of development, the national productions went through, and what influence the import of plays from abroad had on it, whether from the “fraternal socialist countries” or the “capitalistic West”. They examine the government guidelines for authors and composers over the decades. Who were the most important authors and composers? Was there any “socialist operetta”, any “socialist musical”? And what political, social and ideological topics were negotiated on stage?
The volume demonstrates the importance of a topic, that has so far received little attention in research on European theatre and music history.