Marylou, an American, travels incognito to the French Riviera to convince the elite at a luxury hotel in Cannes to take part in a Hollywood blockbuster movie. She’s looking for genuineness – real people! – and is joined in her search by Princess Isabella. Together, they discover all the false fates and genuine feelings of the people at the hotel. After many twists and turns, the story has a happy ending.
Director Mirja Burlin’s swinging musical cracker fills the stage with 1920s flair and dreams of riches, glamour and love. There are dazzling dance scenes with tap, tango, minuettes and barbershop – as well as slapstick routines.
When Berliner Paul Abraham – one of the great opera composers of the early 1930s – wrote his stylish comedy Märchen im Grand-Hôtel in 1934 (The Göteborg Opera’s production has been renamed Det var en gång på Grand Hôtel), he was already living in exile because of his Jewish origin. The work was premiered in Vienna, and then fell into oblivion. In recent years, this ‘jazz operetta’ has enjoyed a renaissance in Germany. Now it’s time for Marylou, the Princess and other characters to take Sweden by storm.
Märchen im Grand-Hôtel and this season’s spectacular musical Cabaret are both set around the same time. Yet they are essentially different. While Cabaret immerses us in the darkness that enveloped Europe with the onslaught of Nazism in the 1930s, Märchen im Grand-Hôtel portrays the buoyant effervescence of the late 1920s.