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Puccini: La Rondine (in German)
Giacomo Puccini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber
Puccini: La Rondine (in German)
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical
  •  Track Listings (35) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #2


CD Details


CD Reviews

Take a chance.
zaranda | Winnetka, CA United States | 05/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Definitely not a first choice for this title (for that see Moffo or Gheorghiu), but a great notion for that person impossible to buy for. "What? You don't have 'La Rondine' in German!" This 1952 set features two exceptionally intimate and appealing singers, Ljuba Welitsch and Anton Dermota, acquired tastes both. At this price certainly, it's worth the effort to get acquainted. For Welitsch, especially, one could easily develop a craving (doomed, alas, to be frustrated by her small discography.) It's overall a lovely performance.The sound is passable, but to be passed on if you can't take a little rasping at the top end."
"La Rondine" in German as "Die Schwalbe" is an unexpected tr
L. E. Cantrell | Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 01/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Source: 1952 broadcast by Austrian Radio.

Sound: Decent 1950s mono for the opera and reproduction ranging from painfully dire to just plain dire for the bonus tracks. Worst of the bunch is an absolutely appalling recording of Welitsch singing a rather appealing "Voi, che sapete" in German. A fifteen minute excerpt from "Salome" is the best of the bonus tracks.

Cast: Magda - Ljuba Welitsch; Ruggero - Anton Dermota; Prunier - Waldemar Kmennt; Rambaldo - Walter Berry; Lisette - Dorothea Siebert; Perichaud / Gastwirt - Kurt Dickel; Gobin - Kurt Equiluz; Crebillon - Leo Heppe; Bianca - Friedl Riegler; Yvette - Liselotte Markl; Suzy - Margarita Kenney. Conductor: Meinhard von Zallinger with the Grosses Orchester der Oesterreichischen Rundfunks and the Chor der Wiener Staatsoper.

Format: Disk 1, Act I, tracks 1-16; Act II, tracks 17-28; Act III, tracks 29-35; 70:22. Disk 2, Act III (conclusion), tracks 1-6; 15:24; bonus recordings by Ljuba Welitsch, tracks 7-15; 54:48.

Documentation: No libretto. Short history of the opera. Brief summary of the plot. Thumbnail bios of Welitsch, Dermota and Berry. Track list that provides both German and Italian track titles, identifies characters singing and shows timings.

"La Rondine" is firmly in the mind of the opera world as a lightweight Italian work, Puccini's failed--or at best, minimally successful--attempt to cash in on the Austrian operetta craze. "Die Schwalbe," then, will generally be regarded as an anomaly, just the German translation of the failed Italian opera. I think, however, that "Die Schwalbe" is the successful light opera that Puccini intended it to be and that "La Rondine" is the failed Italian translation.

"The Merry Widow" by Puccini's friend Franz Lehar opened in 1905. By 1913, after a slightly rocky start, it had become the most popular and profitable musical show in history. That year, Viennese producers commissioned Puccini to write an operetta to take advantage of the market created by Lehar. A German libretto with song texts in verse and stretches of spoken dialogue was duly delivered to the composer. Puccini diligently started composing, but he ran into intractable problems. He called on Adami, his Italian translator, for help. Adami tossed out the spoken dialogue and recast the piece as an opera to be sung through from beginning to end. The restructured piece was then given to the original German librettists who set it in the German language--and that was what Puccini put to music.

What was the effect of all this to-ing and fro-ing? "La Rondine" in Italian has long passages of oddly bloodless chitchat that seem curiously flat when compared to Puccini's other mature works. It comes fully to life, Puccini-style, only in the big ensembles that end Act II. In "Die Schwalbe," on the other hand, the precise German consonants dance and weave in the bright and clever manner of "Die Fledermaus" and only the big ensembles at the end of Act II seem overblown.

Whatever the comparative merits of the two versions, this performance is a charmer. "La Rondine" is a far better opera than its reputation and performance-frequency would suggest. Here we have what is in essence a Vienna State Opera cast giving it their very considerable best.

The opera is not very long, so Disk 2 is filled out with almost an hour of solos from the great and under-recorded Ljuba Welitsch. Quite maddeningly, the sound reproduction on some of the selections is atrocious. Welitsch was particularly famous for her Salome. Fortunately, her "Ah! Du wolltest mich nicht deiner Mund kuessen lassen" is the most listenable of the bonus tracks. Welitsch is the only Salome I have ever heard who sounds convincingly like a really screwed up teenager.

Five stars for anyone willing to take a chance."
Not the 1920 (2nd version) of the opera
pseudonym | Northeast USA | 09/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This appears to be the original Italian version of the opera (1917) sung in German, rather than the 2nd (German) version premiered in Vienna in 1920.
For instance: There is no "Romanza" at the initial entrance of the tenor in Act 1; the Act 2 Quartet is scored to include chorus (the 1920 version omits the chorus).
Is there a recording of the 1920 version of this opera?"