Ludwig Rain "Louis" | 04/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm mexican, and I hope write in english a little review of this great recording. This is my second favorite opereta of Johann Strauss,-the first is "Die Fladermaus"- because there are a many freshing, inteligent, e intense melodic moments. Also, there are an excelent structure's unity, and no only a lot numbers of "arias" and "dialogs". The style "narrative" is used with inteligence and the orchestration is more eloquence.
About the performance, I can say that the singers are excellents, specially, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Nicolai Gedda. Just listen the first love dueto of the second act. The orchestra, perfect: emocionally and technically. This is the last volume of the collection "Ackermann/Schwarzkopf", and this is my favorite: almost is complete -because in others, like the Volume I, there are many cuts-, and the performance is sublime. Just buy'it."
A CLASSIC VERSION OF A BEAUTIFUL OPERETTA
L. Mitnick | Chicago, Illinois United States | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"EMI recorded these, their "Champagne Operettas" from 1953 to 1955 ("The Merry Widow", "The Land of Smiles" of Franz Lehar, and "A Night in Venice", "Weiner Blut", and "Der Zigeunerbaron" of Joanne Strass) and ALL of them, though cut to essentials in the performing tradition of the time, have yet to be bettered. With a conductor like Otto Ackermann, who possesed all the fizz and panache necessary for ideal execution of the Vienese operetta, success was a pretty safe bet. The "safe bet" became a foregone triumph by the pairing of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Nicolai Gedda in all five of the operettas. Who, I ask, in this repertoire, has even come within miles of them? As it happens, this performance of "Zigeunerbaron" may be the best of the lot (although the same thing could be said of the others also!) These operettas are a joy to listen to, and perhaps BECAUSE of the cuts, are that much more listener-friendly and accessible. I don't know how long these classic recordings are going to be around, though I imagine that they'll always be available in SOME form, but as a set of five, and at these prices, they're a real steal. Buy all of them!"
An impeccable production that doesn't quite catch fire
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Johann Strauss, Jr. was plagued with frustrating failure in his attempts to repeat the runaway success of Fledermaus, and out of many works, only the Gypsy Baron comes close to that masterpiece -- but not that close. It's burdened by a libretto that leans hevily on local color and pasant humor that quickly wears thin. The drama also suffers from slow pacing -- our heroine Saffi, the Schwarzkopf role, doesn't appear until well into the first act. For these reasons, the operetta doesn't hold the stage outside Austria and Hungary. We are left to enjoy the lovely Strauss tunes, most of them assigned to the chorus and the gypsy baron himself, sung beautifully here by Nicolai Gedda.
This 1954 production, in reasonable mono sound, features EMI's platinum casting from top to bottom. None of the singers is anything less than admirable, and Schwarzkopf, as always, lifts the proceedings to a higher level of musical sophistication whenever she takes center stage. I can't summon as much enthusiasm as I'd like, however, and I lay the blame with Ackermann, whose conducting is knowing and proficient but no better -- where's the infectious high spirits that Strauss's operettas demand? In other words, this is a performance to admire more than love. Before investing in the latest reissue, I'd check out the earlier one, which sounds good and sells cheap at Amazon Marketplace. Better still, I'd seek out Clemens Krauss's classic reading, which circulates in rather fuzzy mono on several labels. It has a more gemutlich Viennese feeling and features great operetta singers like Julius Patzak and Emmy Loose."