- (or Kalich), Bertha(1874-1939)Born in Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bertha Kalish studied at the Lemberg Conservatory before acting in Polish opera and Yiddish theatre, where she achieved success before moving on to the Bucharest National Theatre. Anti-Semitism forced her immigration to America with her husband and children in 1896. Kalish became one of the leading figures in New York's burgeoning Yiddish theatre community, with her beauty, lyrical voice, and grace enhancing performances in a range of important modern works and new Yiddish plays. She was particularly well-received in Avrom Goldfadn's Shulamis and Jacob Gordin's Sappho and The Kreutzer Sonata, as well as Yiddish-language versions of A Doll's House and Madame Sans-Gêne, among others. Beginning in 1905, producer Harrison Grey Fiske presented Kalish in English-language productions of Fedora (1905), Monna Vanna (1905), Sappho and Phaon (1907), Marta of the Lowlands (1908), The Unbroken Road (1909), The Witch (1910), and The Riddle: Woman (1918). Failing eyesight curtailed her career around World War I, although she occasionally returned to the stage in Yiddish revivals of her earlier successes.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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