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Lehár: Der Sterngucker / Goritzki, Odinius, Rohrbach, Et Al

Release Date: 05/18/2004 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 999872   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Lehár
Performer:  Hanna Dora SturludottirLothar OdiniusRobert WörleMarkus Köhler,   ... 
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Academy Neuss
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 29 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


I’m no Lehár expert, but surely even better-informed fans than I have had few opportunities to hear what in English we’d call The Stargazer. Conceived as a comeback for out-of-favor singer Louis Treumann (the original Danilo), the operetta was premiered in early 1916 with a libretto by Fritz Löhner and ran for only 79 performances — a failure, by Lehár’s standards. The composer substantially revised the work with librettist Arthur Maria Willner and opened the new version later the same year; this enjoyed some circulation, but never quite caught on. In 1922, the music was recycled for a completely new
Read more Italian libretto, La danza delle Libellule, and in that form, the score is still heard from time to time in Italy. But the first versions of Der Sterngucker have fallen into obscurity. The original score, in fact, has apparently survived only in piano reduction.

Lovers of silver-age operetta should welcome, then, what is apparently the first recording of Der Sterngucker. This is the German revision, without dialogue, but with the addition (with piano accompaniment) of a tenor ballad from the first version. The title character, Franz, is an astronomer with no interest in the opposite sex but who, through a series of misunderstandings, finds himself engaged to three women at once. Meanwhile, his sister Kitty develops a romance with Paul, who is already unhappily affianced to one of Franz’s fiancées, Lilly. The score abounds with ensemble numbers but no choruses; as you’d expect, it’s butter-smooth and rich, but the melodies, while soaring and plentiful, aren’t particularly memorable. The early pages have a fine sense of beauty and yearning, but the bulk of the work consists of graceful Viennese waltzes and similar music.

It all lacks the fizz of The Merry Widow or the depth and exoticism of Giuditta, yet it’s a pleasant way to pass an hour and 20 minutes. In this recording, Johannes Goritzki leads a warm performance and the principal singers all acquit themselves well—Claudia Rohrbach as Kitty proves to be a pure, soaring soprano, and Robert Wörle as Paul manages to be both ardent and lyrical.

--James Reel, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Der Sterngucker by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Hanna Dora Sturludottir (Soprano), Lothar Odinius (Tenor), Robert Wörle (Tenor),
Markus Köhler (Baritone), Angelika Bamber (Soprano), Alexander Bröer (Countertenor),
Claudia Rohrbach (Soprano)
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Academy Neuss
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1916; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
Rosenstock und Edelweiss: Overture by Franz Lehár
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Academy Neuss
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 

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