B bábi, Tibor

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Blaha, Lujza (Louisa) (Ludovika Reindl) (Rimaszombat, now Rimavská Sobota, Slovakia, 8 September 1850 - Budapest, 18 January 1926) – Actress, folk singer, the “Nightingale of the Nation”. After the death of her husband, conductor János (John) Blaha, she took on his surname. At the age of 13 she already played leading roles. First she acted in rural theaters; thereafter she received a contract with György Molnár’s Folk Theater of Buda, where she had immediate success in the role of Rózsi in Szigligeti’s Herdsman (Csikós). After the failure of the Theater she played in country theaters. In Szabadka (now Subotica, Serbia) János Blaha, the conductor of the lancer band and of the Theater Orchestra, soon recognized her singing ability, started to train her, and in 1866 he married her. From then on the actress used the Blaha name until her death. Her husband died in 1870. After acting in Debrecen, Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and Nagyvárad (now Oradea, Romania) she became a member of the National Theater (Nemzeti Színház), Budapest in 1871; and a member of the Folk Theater (Népszínhjáz), Budapest from 1875. She became a life member of the National Theater (Nemzeti Színház). She was one of the greatest personalities of Hungarian Theater. Her wasp-waist figure, her sweet face, her miraculous voice, charming conversations, her irresistibly attractive appearance truly predestined her for folk roles, the type of art she embodied. At guest appearances in the Theater an der Wien (1883) the Austrian public and the press also surrendered to this stylized acting. However, Hungarian stage writers adjusted the tone of their plays and methods of performing to her personality, thus limiting the development of true folk dramas. Other than the Folk Theater, her playful, endearing style succeeded well in operettas, in comedies, and later on in silent films. Her outstanding interpretations were Rózsi Finum in E. Tóth’s The Troublemaker of the Village (A falu rossza); Erzsike (Elizabeth) in Csepreghy’s The Yellow Colt (Sárga csikó); Hanka in Almási’s The Slovak Girl (A tóth leány); Claire in Lecocq’s The Daughter of Madame Angot (La fille de Madame Angot, Angot asszony leánya), and Serpolette in Planquette’s The Bells of Corneville (Les cloches de Corneville – A corneville-i harangok). Her memoir is entitled The Diary of My Life (Az életem naplója) (1920). A main square and a theater in Budapest, as well as a Hotel in Balatonfüred bear her name. B: 0871, 1105, 1178, T: 7684, 7685.

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