The ‘Arabian Nights fantasy’ is adapted from a 1911 play by British playwright Edward Knoblock about a beggar poet who rises to power in ancient Baghdad. The play was enjoyed for two years in Victorian London; the musical enjoys 583 performances and wins a 1954 Tony Award for Best Musical.
Much of the music is derived from several works of Russian romantic composer and chemistry teacher Alexander Borodin. Borodin dies in 1887 with many works incomplete; his opera Prince Igor is completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.
Beginning in April, 1955 the ‘Kismet’ musical enjoys success in London’s West End, with 648 performances at the Stoll Theatre. MGM’s 1955 musical film is the fourth film based on the play. ▷TCM:Kismet▹
One famous ‘Kismet’ song is Stranger in Paradise, with music from Prince Igor’s Polovtsian Dances. (*) Covered endless times, the romantic favorite garners US singer Tony Bennett his first UK#1 in May, 1955.
▷Musical on Film:Kismet▹
Julie Andrews, Richard Burton
In August, 1964 the show opens in London, where 578 performances are seen. Numerous revivals are staged in following decades. Unlike the musical, the 1967 film adaptation of Camelot is presented as a flashback. It stars Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave and wins 3 Academy Awards. ▷IDBD▹