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Subject: Lilian Nordica, Batavia & Komedi Stambul
From: Greg Ralph <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:=?windows-1252?Q?Greg_Ralph?= <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 15 Nov 2006 16:36:37 -0500

text/plain (26 lines)

Just for the record, Lilian Nordica did not die on a 'remote Pacific 
island'.  She died in Batavia, the capital of the then Netherlands East 
Indies, and a large colonial city (now Jakarta).  She is often said to 
have been shipwrecked after leaving Australia, which calls up all sorts of 
Gilligan's Island images, but she wasn't far from the Australian coast and 
very soon resumed her journey - Batavia not being among the healthiest of 
places, that may not have been such a good idea.

Out of interest, as well as hosting the usual outposts of European 
culture, Batavia also had examples of peculiar local opera form, known as 
Komedi Stambul. This was popular especially in the Javanese cities of the 
North Coast (Semarang, Surabaya etc) but companies did tour the 
archipelago. A form of Stambul developed into Bangsawan, which could still 
be seen in post-war Malaysia.  It mixed European, Arabic and Chinese 
stories with Javanese urban melodies, the language of performance being 
usually bazaar Malay, and the performers often Eurasian in the early 
days.  Fascinating, and not enough known about it.  The name Stambul 
derives from Constantinople, scene of some of the more fabulous Arabian 
derived stories.

Greg Ralph

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