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Thread: Operetta.....what are your favorites.....

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Operetta.....what are your favorites.....

    I was inspired by Woodduck to do this thread.

    I like the fun spirit of operettas and there's
    some great music there too.

    What are your favorite operettas?


    You can add your favorite recordings if you like.
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-03-2018 at 17:37.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    All the Schwarzkopf champagne opera series with Ackermann conducting, though I do prefer the remake of Die lustige Witwe, with Wächter as Danilo and Von Matacic conducting.
    The others are
    Das Land des Lächelns
    Wiener Blut
    Eine Nacht in Venedig
    Der Zigeunerbaron

    Die Fledermaus was conducted by Karajan (his first recording of the operetta) and has a wonderful cast in Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Streich and Kunz. Pity about the tenor Orlovsky, but Rudolf Christ is so good, I can put up with him.

    Of Offenbach, I like
    La Vie Parisienne
    Orpheé aux Enfers
    La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein
    La Belle Hélène

    I like the Plasson recordings of the first three. Not sure which I'd go for for Hélène.

    My father was a huge fan of operetta and conducted quite a lot. I remember loving Lehar's Zigeunerliebe, but I don't have a recording of it.
    Last edited by GregMitchell; Sep-03-2018 at 17:52.
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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I favor the Austro-Hungarian operetta tradition. I like Johann Strauss's big two, Die Fledermaus and Der Ziguenerbaron. Fledermaus is still probably the greatest operetta score ever written. My personal favorite may be Emmerich Kalman's Grafin Mariza (Countess Maritza); the melodies are nonstop, and the Hungarian flavor gets my blood going (I'm half Hungarian). I'm surprisingly lukewarm about Lehar, and don't much care for Merry Widow. I've enjoyed Karl Millocker's Gasparone.

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    I would say I like all the really famous French, British and Austrian operettas, Strauss is perhaps my favourite. The Schwarzkopf series of recordings are wonderful, but I prefer more recent recordings of the complete works and am happy with the Schwarzkopf selections on the following:

    Operetta.jpg
    (This is a really good introduction to Austrian operetta.)

    I'm not hugely into Lehar, but I do enjoy Merry Widow and the following is a surprisingly good interpretation with Gardiner bringing out orchestral details that you don't perceive in other versions:
    Widow.jpg

    I tend to like the Cologne series for Strauss and am considering getting a couple of Kalman's in the series. Harnoncourt's Fledermaus and Gypsy Baron are good too (the Gypsy Baron includes music not found in other recordings of the operetta and is a reconstruction of Strauss' original ideas for something grander than an operetta, though still not quite an opera).

    I like G&S and the Decca series of all the works are mostly unbeatable, here's the Iolanthe (although there is a newer reissue with a different design).
    iolanthe.jpg

    Offenbach is a favourite too. La Belle Helene and Vie Parisienne are the two I like best.

    N.

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    Senior Member NickFuller's Avatar
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    With a passion that's intense, I worship and adore Gilbert and Sullivan. I have loved them with a Florentine fourteenth-century frenzy for full 21 years!

    The Mikado is brilliant. G&S at their most inspired, with a well-constructed comedy about beheading, burial alive, and boiling in oil.

    Pirates, Patience, and Iolanthe are also excellent.

    Princess Ida has some of Sullivan's most operatic music, such as the "World is but a broken toy" quartet, the three hulking brothers' trio ("No, no, we are not intelligent!"), "This helmet I suppose...", the "Gently, gently, evidently" trio, two excellent finales - and, of course, Gama Rex.

    I also love The Grand Duke, their last, generally unpopular work. It's full of clever ideas (the statutory duel, wheteby the loser is legally but not actually dead, and the winner has to take on his responsibilities), and has some great numbers: the sausage roll song; "Now take a card and gaily sing"; Ludwig's patter song in Greek ("In the period Socratic, every dining room was Attic - Which suggests an architecture of a topsy turvy kind"); Julia Jellicoe's Act II aria; the Herald's song; and the Roulette song. The wedding chorus is fun, so's the Baroness's hubble bubble song.

    The Sorcerer is rather stodgy, but I like the incantation trio, the rollicking teapot finale, the Act II quartet, and "My name is John Wellington Wells".

    Ruddigore satirises a genre that was old-fashioned even at the time, but it has THE patter trio, "The Ghosts' High Noon", and a heroine who lives life according to her little book of etiquette. "Here is peppermint rock for old gaffer Gadderby, a set of false teeth for pretty little Ruth Rowbottom, and a pound of snuff for the poor orphan girl on the hill."
    Plus the line: "They are all mad—quite mad! ... they sing choruses in public."

    Utopia, Ltd is a mess, but there's a wonderful soaring passage in the finale (about, of all things, the Joint Stock Company Act), and the minstrel ensemble is brilliant.

    Offenbach is also wonderful - great tubes, funny, clever. Of the early ones, I most like Ba-ta-clan (with its revolutionary trio in gibberish Chinese) and M Choufleuri restera chez lui le... (great spoof of Italian opera). Orphée, Belle Hélène, Grande Duchesse, Périchole, Brigands, and Vie Parisienne all topnotch. Hoffmann is one of my favourite operas.

    I like Suppé's overtures.
    Last edited by NickFuller; Sep-05-2018 at 09:26.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I favor the Austro-Hungarian operetta tradition. I like Johann Strauss's big two, Die Fledermaus and Der Ziguenerbaron. Fledermaus is still probably the greatest operetta score ever written. My personal favorite may be Emmerich Kalman's Grafin Mariza (Countess Maritza); the melodies are nonstop, and the Hungarian flavor gets my blood going (I'm half Hungarian). I'm surprisingly lukewarm about Lehar, and don't much care for Merry Widow. I've enjoyed Karl Millocker's Gasparone.
    I am getting into Kalman. Years ago I heard a duet from Czardasfurstin sung by two amateurs in Italian translation, they were good singers but the music did nothing for me (it was so long ago I can't remember which duet it was). They also sang Lippen Schweigen from Witwe in a dreadful Italian translation that used to send me spacing!

    I've listened to a few excerpts from Czardasfurstin and Grafin Mariza on the operetta set above and I love them. Which are the recordings to get of these? I only know the Rothenberger/Gedda ones, would you recommend them?

    N.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    I can't say I've had all that much exposure to operetta but Orphée aux enfers is crackling with fun from beginning to end, and it includes a beautiful change of pace at the beginning of act I scene II when we are introduced to the sleeping gods (entr'acte and 'slumber' chorus).
    Last edited by elgars ghost; Sep-05-2018 at 13:09.
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