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Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) (1883)
Track details at end of review
Nicolai Gedda (tenor); Erich Kunz (baritone); Karl Donch (bass-baritone); Peter Klein (tenor); Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano); Emmy Loose (soprano); Hanna Ludwig (contralto); Hanna Ludwig (contralto); Karel Stepanek; Hanna Norbert  and Anton Diffring (speakers)
Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/Otto Ackermann
rec. 25-28, 31 May, 25 September 1954, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD
First issued on Columbia 33CX 1224 and 1225
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111254 [78:51]

Johann Strauss II (the Younger) composed his operetta Eine Nacht in Venedig in 1883. The story was based on the French novel Chateau Trompette (by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré), and the text was provided by F Zell and Richard Genée, the latter having collaborated with Strauss to great success on a number of occasions. It sports a typically convoluted plot involving cooks, barbers, lady’s maids, fisher-girls, Senators, and a masked ball hosted by an amorous Duke, at which all the women disguise themselves as each other. But the various impending disasters are averted and all live happily ever after.
It was premiered in Berlin where both text and music were heavily criticised. Strauss and his librettists were forced to revise it – the ensuing Austrian production enjoying 44 performances. The composer Erich Korngold then revised it further, for another Berlin performance in 1923, and it underwent significant cuts, additions, re-orderings and re-working of material.
This Naxos Historical re-issue features a recording made in the Kingsway Hall in 1954, and the sound is reasonably good. The cast are, as one might expect, all of top quality, and there is some stunning singing in particular from Nicolai Gedda as the Duke - listen to the start of track 17, for example.
I do find it a shame, however, that the dialogue has been included, despite the fact that some highly rated actors take some of the speaking parts - including Karel Stepanek (from Sink the Bismarck, amongst many other films. There is a fair amount of this, and it does not come across particularly well. It sounds rather awkward in fact and can become rather tedious for non-German speakers.
On the whole, the music is pleasant and ebullient. It could be called generally unremarkable, but, in its favour, there are some meltingly tender and beautiful moments. A charming operetta, and excellent cast. Worth a listen.
Em Marshall

see also review by Göran Forsling

Track listing
Overture [6:32]
Act I [35:42]
Wenn vom Lido sacht [1:05]
Ihr Venezianer hort...Drum sei glucklich, sei selig, Venezia!        [1:11]
Makkaroni, Makkaroni di Napoli!  [ 0:50]
'S ist wahr, ich bin nicht allzu klug ... Wenn du dich krankst  [1:44]
Oho! ... Seht, o seht!... Frutti di mare! [2:10]
O, Annina, ich errate was Euch herfuhrt  [1:51]
Evviva, Caramello!... WHlkomen, Hebe Freunde! [2:07]
  Ja, Pappacoda, alter Makkaronikessel  [ \ :01] 
Annina'. Caramelto! ... Pellegrina rondinella! [ 2:45]
Hi, hi, hi ...Ja, Pappacoda, was hat sie denn [0:20]
Alle maskiert, alle maskiert [2:12]
Sei mir gegrufit, du holdes Venezia! [2:22]
Nun, Caramello, hast du Barbara gesprochen?  [1:42]
Hier ward es still... Der Mond hat schwere Klag' erhob [2:59]
Hast du mir ein Kostiim gebracht [0:56]
Komm' in die Gondel, mein Liebchen [2:27]
Messer Delacqua! [0:58]
Zur Serenade! [5:23]
Kaum, dafi mein Liebchen die schaukelnde Gondel enlfiihrt [1:29]
Act II [24:28]
Wo bleibt nur Caramello?... Venedigs Frauen herzufuhren [2:54]
Wasfuhrtdie Damen hierher [0:28]
Was mir der Zufall gab [1:35]
Ach, Gott sei Dank [0:49]
Hor' mich, Annina, komm in die Gondel! [1:47]
Caramello, ich bin mil dir zufrieden [0:27]
Sie sagten meinem Liebesfleh 'n [1:56]
Soldi' ein Wirtshaus lob' ich mi... Marietta, come va? [3:21]
Komm, Barbara [0:41]
Ninana, Ninana, hier will ich singen        [2:55]
Alles geht gut    [0:36]
Lasset die Andern tanzen da! Tra la la la! [3:20]
Jetzt ist's Zeit zur Lustbarkeit... Horch! von San Marco der Glocken Geldut  [3:42]
Act III [12:09]
Karneval ruft Each zum Ball! [0:59]
Die Tauben von San Marco [3:34]
Ach, wie so herrlich zu schau'n [3:09]
0, mein Weib 1st mir geraitbt warden! [ 0:49]
Tacke, tacke, tacke ... Aber wenn man erst gekostet hat [1:56]
Ciboletta, weiflt du nicht wo deine Herrin ist?[1:08]
Wie sich’s gebuhrt, hat er’s gespurt [0:34]


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