The Many Lives of Otto Kahn
Here was a man who was both equipped and disposed to be the most considerable Maecenas in the history of our theater wrote Alexander Woollcott. It is the man behind that legend whom Mary Jane Matz brings. to life in this spirited biography.
Otto Kahn The King of New York in the twenties had virtually created the city’s new Metropolitan Opera with his enormous energy and financial backing. He was responsible for introducing Stanislavski Nijinski the Abbey Players the Moscow Art Theater and practically every other important personage and event in the most vigorous era of American theatrical history. He subsidized sponsored and had close relationships with Toscanini Caruso Chaliapin Pavlova Pirandello Eugene O’Neill Paul Robeson Grace Moore and hundreds of other artists whose names are now part of that history.
This was the Otto Kahn whose fame lives on today-the man who was an activating force in American opera and theater for more than two decades. But there was another Otto Kahn now less well known who was more than a theatrical patron. The other Otto Kahn had amassed a banking fortune through his perspicuity and integrity in the era of unbridled Big Business and had gone on to win the respect of the nation with his political economic and humanitarian activities in the First World War and its boom-and-bust aftermath. That Otto Kahn a partner in the banking firm of Kuhn Loeb was often accused of being a socialist.