Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Lehar, Otto Ackermann, Philharmonia Orchestra of London|
Lehar: Die lustige Witwe; Das Land des Lächelns
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An incredible bargain for two classic operettas
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"EMI recorded both of these Lehar operettas in 1953. They were rapturously received and haven't been out of print since. The sonics were never good in the orchestral parts, the worse offender being Land des Lachelns (The Land of Smiles, meaning Japan), where microphone distortion and cramped boxiness makes for congested acoustics. The Merry widow comes off better. The orchestra and voices are farther away, which seems to minimize distortion.
In any case, this new remastering gives us both works in best sound. EMI's engineers have widened the soundstage considerably and freshened the voices. However, the improvement isn't so dramatic that owners of the older CD pressings should rush out to buy these new ones.
As for the performances themselves, Schwarzkopf and Gedda didn't remake Land des Lachelns in stereo, so this delicate, sparkling recording is it. They did remake The Merry Widow (although Gedda doesn't sing the lead in either version), and most listeners buy the second, stereo recording. But Schwarzkopf was even more delightful in this mono set, and real lovers of Lehar will own both. For this new budget packaging, three CDs have been compressed to two (each nearly 80 min.), so there's really no reason to hesitate, especially if you have never heard two incomparable classics (all the more marvelous because Schwarzkopf never sang the role of the merry widow on stage)."