Posted on 12/22/2014

Photo taken on December 11, 2014

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Sík Gizella
Nemzeti Színház
early photography
carte de visite
National Theatre
albumen print
Kozmata Ferencz

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Photos with the keyword: early photography

Sík Gizella, Hungarian operetta singer

Sík Gizella, Hungarian operetta singer 

albumen print on cardboard, carte de visite
Kozmata Ferencz, Budapest, ca. 1880 - first half of 1883.
purchased from an Israeli antique dealer, with other photos of late 19th century Budapest actors and singers (see below)
entry number: cdv.2014.17

Sík Gizella was an operetta singer at the Budapest National Theatre (Nemzeti Színház) in the early 1880s; judging from her roles, she seems to have been a soubrette capable of performing both mezzo-soprano and soprano repertoire. As far as online resources could help, there seems to be no available biography or review of her career, so I will summarize here the information I managed to gather from several sources.

- 1882, Oct. 7th: plays Orestes in the Hungarian version of Offenbach’s La belle Hélène (Szép Heléna, libretto by Meilhac & Halévy), Budapest National Theatre, apparently Sík Gizella’s début.
- 1883, April 23rd: plays the Countess in the Hungarian version of Offenbach’s Madame l’Archiduc (A hercegasszony, libretto by A. Milaud), Budapest National Theatre. [MS]
- 1883, June 5th: plays Josefa in the Hungarian version of Lecocq’s Le cœur et la main (A kertészleány, libretto by Nuitter & Beaumont), Vienna (?).
- 1883, Dec. 28th: plays Charlotte in the Hungarian version of Planquette’s Rip van Winkle (libretto by H.B. Farnie), Budapest National Theatre.
- 1884, Jan. 12th: plays Marianne in the Hungarian version of D’Ennery & Cormon’s Les deux orphelines (Két árva), with new music by Serly Lajos, Budapest National Theatre.
- 1885, March 18th: plays Albert the painter in the Hungarian version of Offenbach (et al.)’s Les pilules du diable (Az ördög pilulái, libretto by Laloue & Anicet-Bourgeois), Budapest National Theatre.

After 1885, complete silence. What happened to Sík Gizella, described by journalists as a promising young singer and “one of the three graces of the National Theatre” (alongside Ligeti Irma and the great Blaha Lujza)? Did she abandon singing and fade into obscurity, or might she have faced a more tragic ending? Any additional piece of information is more than welcome.

In any case, this photo has a story of its own to tell: it surfaced in Israel, in a set which included, among several unidentified family photos, portraits of Blaha Lujza, of fellow Budapest actor Imre Nagy (1849-1893) and his wife Benza Ida (1846-1880), and of the opera singer Ellinger József (1820-1891), all datable in the late 1870s or early 1880s. One may assume that these were part of the heirloom of a Jewish-Hungarian family with some connections to the theatrical world of Budapest, whose descendants managed to escape Holocaust and eventually settled in Israel. After all, not just Sík Gizella’s story remains untold…

* Ren.Art *, Christine Boes-Schiller, Roséha D. and 2 other people have particularly liked this photo

Thank you!
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