Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Die Fledermaus
Gerda Scheyrer Rosalinde Wilma Lipp Adele Luise Martini Ida Christ Ludwig Orlovsky Karl Terkal Eisenstein Anton Dermota Alfred Walter Berry Frank Eberhard Waechter Falke Erich Majkut Blind Erik Kunz Frosch       Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra Otto Ackermann
recorded in Kingsway Hall, London, July, 1959.EMI Double Forte CZS5 73851-22CD bargain price
Crotchet  Amazon UK  Amazon USA

Here is one of EMI's re-releases (latterly on Classics for Pleasure) of a perennial favourite for all who love genuine frothy Operetta. There is no reduction in price, but a saving in plastic, (the CFP release was in a double box; this one is in twofer format), and the basic synopsis is retained.

As I have not heard the CFP release, I am not in a position to say whether the new issue is an improvement, having now, we are told, been subjected to Abbey Road Technology remastering. In comparison with other recordings being subjected to this process, much depends upon the original recording, and this one was always very good. Based on listening to the current issue, I can report that it is very good indeed, a tribute to the skills of the various artists, and particularly to Walter Legge, whose production it was.

Much has been written about Legge's reluctance to embrace stereo, being a firm fan of mono. Also, having already recorded the Karajan performance with Schwarzkopf, the current issue must have been a difficult one for him, particularly given its illustrious predecessor. We need not be in the least bit concerned.

The performance bubbles with affection and good spirits from start to finish. It has top-flight singers, out to enjoy themselves, aided and abetted by perhaps the best recording orchestra and chorus of its time, all under the control of a master conductor of Viennese operetta, Otto Ackermann. If we then add the price level of this release, the only people not wanting it should be those who are hi-fi addicts, do not like Operetta, or already have it.

As with the CFP issue, EMI have seen fit only to supply a synopsis rather than a full libretto. Since the synopsis is quite detailed, (compared with others I have experienced), and allows us to follow the progress of the plot, there is little criticism here, given the low price and limited space in the "twofer" format.

The balance between the soloists and orchestra is masterly, so nothing is lost of the words (still, a pity about the libretto) or the orchestra, and the whole performance tingles with life and enjoyment. The principals are very good. Gerda Schreyer is not however a perfect replacement for Schwarzkopf, (who could be?). The other participants are quite the previous set's equals, so the only loss is that of a level of style which with the Karajan issue is unique. On the present issue this has been replaced by a genuine sounding Viennese atmosphere, so the new issue does not necessarily lose by comparison. At the price, you cannot lose.


John Phillips.


John Phillips.

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index