In the summer of 2003, only 3,500 people listened to the hits of Roland Kaiser (70) on the banks of the Elbe as part of the “Dresdner Filmnächt” (Dresden Film Nights). Fortunately, the organizer Semmel Concerts had a good idea of the enthusiasm of the people, recognized the ingenious combination of summer, hits and cityscapes – and immediately planned to repeat it next year. The “Kaisermania” was born.
“It was an experience”, remembers Roland Kaiser. But one that worked. In 2022, the “Woodstock des Schlagers” attracted more than 10,000 people to the banks of the Elbe – six evenings in a row. Those who didn’t have tickets sat with a picnic basket on the meadows around the concert area and celebrated aloud lines like “Santa Maria, the island born of dreams… “
The “Kaisermania” – a man, a city, a show
For the 20th anniversary of this exceptional musical history, ARD offered the Schlagerkaiser 180 minutes of air time: a potpourri of numerous concert recordings, embellished with comments by Roland Kaiser. The stage belongs only to him. No off-screen speaker, no background information, no interviews: From a journalistic point of view, there could have been more to the “Kaisermania” phenomenon. But “Kaisermania” is just a one-man show. The ARD bowed to the concept.
Even those who had hoped to finally be able to peek behind the scenes or learn new anecdotes were disappointed. Fans have long known that the text of “Santa Maria” was created under the influence of frustration and red wine and was actually intended as a joke. But they probably won’t mind hearing it again.
Roland Kaiser and Dresden – “More than just a liaison”
Why Dresden as the venue for the annual imperial ceremony? Born in West Berlin as Ronald Keiler, skilled car dealer Roland Kaiser has lived in Münster for many years. But the relationship between him and Dresden is very special, he says. “It was only meant to be business,” says his Dresden anthem. But “the city and I – it’s actually more than just a bond,” he says. Namely “a very great love”. On both sides.
While the ladies wear sheer dresses and spaghetti strap shirts in front of the stage on hot summer nights, the Emperor is always on stage in a three-piece suit; When it’s 30 degrees in the shade, the handkerchief in the jacket pocket keeps his cool, just like the man in the jacket. Ties and jackets are only removed for recall. This late-hour concession roughly matches Kaiser’s much-loved colleague Udo Jürgens († 80) bathrobe.
Roland Kaiser from past to present
The most beautiful images of his life
See pictures (1/21)
“Awesome and grateful” for the success
World overlord Schlager turned 70 last year, but the hype surrounding him has become more rather than less over the years. Tickets for the first four “Kaisermania” concerts in 2023 sold out in ten minutes – despite the four-ticket limit per person per date. And despite a ticket price of around 95 euros.
However, when Roland Kaiser talks about the success of the summer show that has developed around him, his hits and the city in two decades, he does not appear imperial, but humble in a sympathetic way: “To be able to live this experience makes me very happy, very respectful and grateful.” He underlines the special position of the public in Dresden who, year after year, welcome their Kaiser with open arms and with ever greater enthusiasm. “Fans of “Kaisermania” are a phenomenon”, he jokes: “I already know some of the first series personally.”
The magic of community spirit – for one evening
To understand the phenomenon, you have to have danced in the middle of the crowd on a hot summer night on the Elbe and shouted together “To love you, to touch you, my desire to feel you”. The magic of “Kaisermania” is difficult to convey to the screen; the ARD show is no exception.
“Living the community” is for him the heart of this event, says Roland Kaiser – a small treasure, especially in a time that is characterized more by opposition than by solidarity. “Love can save us, free us from all chains,” Kaiser sings. In Dresden, spectators then wave white handkerchiefs, a cheerfully waved capitulation to the good news. In Schlager, hope is always only a verse away.