"Die Fledermaus" Abridged
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 08/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The CD market for shortened versions of operas and operettas is supplied nowadays by assembling a collection of selected passages from complete recordings. Things were done more thoroughly and effectively 70 years ago, when this abridged version of "Die Fledermaus" was created. It formed one of a series of a dozen operas and operettas abridged and produced by Polydor Records, in Berlin. The conductor was Hermann Weigert, who also had a hand in planning the abridgements. A roster of eminent singers from the Berlin State Opera was used. This 52 minute abridgement is particularly successful. Almost all the musical numbers are there, and some lively dialogue links them together. With original sound quality that rivalled the best of its time, this historical reissue should be a winner. Sadly, the transfer has sometimes distorted rather than enhanced the original sound. Any of the singing above the stave in pitch and above mf in volume tends to acquire a strident, brassy edge. Some knob-fiddling can make this problem less apparent. The cast listing, supplied with this CD, has the part of Frosch given to Eduard Landl. Other source and reference books name his as Eduard Kandl. No overture was provided in the original abridged recording. Pavillion Records have included on this CD an idiosyncratic version recorded in 1944 by the London Palace Theatre Orchestra conducted by the famous Austrian tenor Richard Tauber."