Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shmuel Alman


Born on 9 August 1877 in Sovolivke (Sobolevka), Podolia Gubernia, Ukraine. Father -- a Chasid, his mother -- the rabbi's daughter, used to write songs in Yiddish which were known in the town, but were not published.

He learned in a cheder, sang with cantors as an "alto", at age thirteen knew notes, and he began to write synagogal compositions that the local cantor sang. Until age eighteen, he learned in a Beit HaMedrash, then traveled to Odessa and entered into a conservatory. During his military service of four years as a military kappelmeister, he returned -- entering into the Kishinev conservatory, and completed compositions.

During the pogrom of 1903 he migrated away to London, and here again he studied in the Royal College. He was prevented from becoming a conductor in a Yiddish theatre, but as well he had not been able to reach(?), and he became there a chorister, and first began to study the songs with the chorus. He worked for five years with Feinman as a choral master.

When, in the Pavilion Theatre there was founded the Yiddish dramatic and opera theatre, (called "Kunst templ"), on 16 March 1912 there was staged for the first time in the history of Yiddish theatre, A.'s original opera in Yiddish "Melekh akhz" (libretto taken from Avraham Mapu's novel "Ashms shumrun"). The opera was performed twenty-three times, and was very well received by the English press.


A. translated the opera "Rigoletto" by Verdi, and "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Leoncavallo, which were performed by the same troupe in the Folks Theatre, and the operas "Faust" by Gounod, and "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini, which were performed in other theatres.

After the troupe disbanded, A. left the Yiddish stage and became conductor of the chorus and the Grand Synagogue of London.

A. issued a collection of fifty-seven compositions under the title "Shiri bit hakeneset" by Shmuel Alman, khlk rashun, lshbs vlimi khul. Hutsat "Yubl", Tel Aviv -- Berlin, "HaTrp"h."

A. also writes compositions to poems from Jewish poets.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 63.

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