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‘O Katharina!’

April 10, 2013

song sheet cover for the song, ‘O Katharina!’ from the 1925 edition of Nikita Balieff’s entertainment, Chauve-Souris, 49th Street Theatre, New York, 14 January 1925
(published by Leo Feist Inc, New York, 1924; artwork by Andrei Hudiakoff)
The central caricature in the design of this song sheet is a portrait of the Armenian vaudevillian Nikita Balieff (1877? -1936) whose bat-shaped eyebrows are a reference to the title of his successful series of entertainments known as Chauve-Souris.

‘O, Katharina!’ written by L. Wolfe Gilbert, with music by Richard Fall, was introduced to American audiences in Chauve-Souris by Darian Birse, ‘a Russian grand opera singer,’ in Russian peasant costume. The song was something of a hit that year and was recorded for the Victor label (19628-A, mx 32227-3, 3.2mb) by Billy Murray on 19 March 1925.

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