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I love Johann Strauss II. Sometimes you are just in the mood for musical bon-bons, and almost no one does them better. Unfortunately, there are those who have the mistaken idea that a work of art lacking tragedy and angst-laden drama must inherently be "lightweight"... as if it takes less skill to express a joie de vivre than it does to wallow in suffering. I suspect that such a thinking is at the heart of the underestimation afforded to Strauss, Lehar, Offenbach, Bellini, Donizetti... even Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Mozart.

I love the old Willi Boskovsky recordings of Strauss' waltzes, Polkas, Marches... but even more-so (as to be expected of the opera lover I am) I am enamored of his operas/operettas.

Anyone ever heard/seen The Gypsy Baron operetta? I am looking for a good recording.

EMI recorded the so-called "Champagne Operettas" of Franz Lehar (Die lustige Witwe and Das Land des Lächelns); Friederich von Flotow (Martha), and Johann Strauss II's A Night in Venice, Weiner Blut, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron ("The Gypsy Baron") shortly after WWII (between 1953-55) and ALL of them, have yet to be bettered. The magic of these recordings lies in the fact that a great many of the conductors, musicians, and singers involved were essentially raised upon this music. I should mention that among the singers involved one might count Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Rita Streich, Nicolai Gedda, Erich Kunz, Eberhard Wächter and Hermann Prey:

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