This performance was recorded by Decca in the transition
period between 78s and LPs. It had life in those formats but didn't
emerge on CD until the autumn of 1992: it did not last long in the catalogue
before deletion. Given a conductor born and bred in the Viennese tradition,
a starry cast similarly immersed by both practise, and in two cases
birth, one wonders why this set hasn't been more in the forefront when
considering this work? The answer could be the lack of any dialogue.
Idiomatic as it may be, it is more in the Volksoper tradition than the
larger voiced and bigger orchestra versions that quickly followed, particularly
those under Ackermann and Karajan.
Assessing its own virtues, this is a pleasing light
performance of what is, after all, an operetta not an opera. Krauss
conducts with fizz and Hilde Gueden is suitably minxish as Rosalinde.
Wilma Lipp is an agile Adele although her voice is a little harsh on
the microphone. Patzak is a convincing Eisenstein and the Alfred of
Dermota is suitably Italianate. The Orlofsky is too feminine and lady-like
to be convincing. The recording is rather flat to my ears, lacking depth
and warmth, even allowing for its age.
The booklet contains a very good track related synopsis.
As an example of the Viennese tradition of the time the issue has value.
For little more expenditure one can get much more of the work and in
the most modern sound. It should also be noted that this performance
has also been issued by Pearl, at mid price, with the addition of an
abridged version of Lehár's Zarewitsch with Rosewange
and the young Della Casa. I have not, however, been able to assess the
quality of those transfers.
Robert J Farr