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Notes and Editorial Reviews
JOHANN STRAUSS II
Der Zigeunerbaron (Gesamtaufnahme · Complete)
Wolfgang Brendel · Siegfried Jerusalem Ivan Rebroff · Martha Mödl · Janet Perry · Ellen Shade
Staged and Directed by Arthur Maria Rabenalt
DVD-VIDEO NTSC 073 4437 |G|H|
STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: DTS 5.1
Picture Format: 4:3
Subtitles: German (sung texts only)/English
A production of UNITEL, Munich
* Johann Strauss´s popular operetta with Siegfried Jerusalem and Ellen Shade in the lead roles.
* Johann Strauss was nearly 60 when he completed Der Zigeunerbaron, which became
alongside Die Fledermaus his second masterpiece.
* The libretto of this Hungarian fairy story gave Strauss the chance to revel in such contrasting musical forms as the csardas and the viennese waltz and the style of the lied forms and ensembles is so original and finely balanced that Der Zigeunerbaron can truly be called a comic opera.
* Among the leading names of the stellar cast are Wolfgang Brendel, Ivan Rebroff, Janet Perry, Ellen Shade and Siegfried Jerusalem as Sandor Barinkay and Kurt Eichhorn conducts the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.
* Director Artur Maria Rabenalt uses for this filmversion of Der Zigeunerbaron – filmed in Yugoslavia in 1975 - a specific media-compatible stylistics and method of telling.
R E V I E W S:
“Director Artur Maria Rabenalt . . . has engaged lovely voices and good actors, got a slimmed-down Ivan Rebroff to sing and play the handsome Prince Zsupan, set the scene in a picturesque landscape and has certainly given many people great pleasure with this new production.” -- Berliner Morgenpost
Beautifully filmed with fine singers this production is a delight.
“By the time Der Zigeunerbaron was premiered at the Theatre an der Wien, on 24 October 1885, Johann Strauss was more than a national hero. He was an institution, one as cherished as the venerable Emperor himself … It was cheered to the skies at its première.” (Richard Traubner, Operetta, A Theatrical History). Strauss’s biggest hit, the greatest of all Viennese operettas, Die Fledermaus had been premièred on Easter Sunday, 1874.
This Hungarian-location film of Johann Strauss’s The Gypsy Baron looks stunning with its sumptuous costumes and picturesque landscapes. But it is also memorable as the film that launched the singing career of Siegfried Jerusalem who went on to debut as Loge at Bayreuth and to become a great Wagnerian lyric tenor. At the time this film was made the production team needed, at short notice, a tenor for the title role. It had been noticed that Jerusalem, then a bassoonist in the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra had been studying singing for some years. His friends persuaded him to apply for the part of Sándor Barinkay - the Gypsy Baron. He was successful.
The plot of this 18th century-set operetta is complicated but put simply, without dwelling on subplot intricacies, it concerns Barinkay, found as a common entertainer by Count Carnero who had been commissioned by the Austrian court to find him and restore him to his father’s estate where a treasure lies, reputed to have been buried by the fleeing Ottoman, Mehmet Kui Pasha. A gypsy woman, Czipra has been expecting his return and prophesies that Barinkay will soon marry. Furthermore, on his wedding night a dream will reveal the location of the treasure. But a roguish pig-breeder, Zsupán, is a fly in the ointment because he has helped himself to some of Barinkay’s land. Philosophically, Barinkay accepts the situation but asks about the pig-breeder’s pretty daughter, Arsena. Arsena is presented to Barinkay but she is not at all interested because she is already in love with Ottokar. A band of gypsies arrive and Czipra explains that Barinkay is their lord. Saffi, Czipra’s daughter admits to having fallen in love with Barinkay and when he realizes Arsena is not for him, he chooses Saffi as his bride. After the young couple’s first night together, Czipra reveals that she has had a dream about the location of the treasure and so the three of them find the jewels. Carnero is furious that Barinkay and Saffi have spent their first night together in an unmarried state. In the highlight duet of the operetta, ‘Wer uns getraut?’ Barinkay and Saffi evoke nature claiming that they were wed by the birds. A troop of soldiers arrives. Their leader, Count Homony is recruiting for the war against Spain. The pig-breeder, Ottokar and some of the gypsy boys are quickly recruited. After insults have been hurled at Saffi, Czipra angrily confesses that the girl is really not her daughter but a princess, the daughter of the last Pasha who had ruled the area. Sándor Barinkay now feels unworthy to be the bridegroom of a princess and to Saffi’s dismay he joins the army. Two years later and the scene shifts to Vienna where the army has returned victorious. Ottokar is reunited with Arsena, and Barinkay, because of his valour, is allowed to keep the treasure and is promoted to be a real baron so there is now no impediment to his marriage with Saffi who has been waiting devotedly for him.
Jerusalem, in fine voice, makes a charming, debonair Gypsy Baron, impressing from his first aria as he guilelessly sings (with the chorus) ‘Als flotter Geist’ with the sensual Viennese waltz refrain, ‘Ja, das alles auf Ehr’ (Yes, I swear it’s all true!). He is very well partnered by Ellen Shade as Saffi who stirs gypsy blood in her czardas. They both are sublime together in their show-stopping duet, ‘Wer uns getraut?’ (see above). The role of the captivating but sulky Arsena, is delightfully sung by lyric soprano, Janet Perry. Her entry and duet and ensemble with Barinkay, ‘Sieh’ da, ein herrlich Frauenbild’ (How fine a figure of a woman) is another highlight. Biserka Cveji? is the knowing gypsy woman, Czipra, although her youthful-sounding voice somewhat belies her rather aged make-up. Ivan Rebroff as the roguish pig breeder and father of Arsena is hilarious as he boasts of his adventures as a soldier and seducer in his Act III song. Contrastingly Wolfgang Brendel is suitably commanding in his stirring Recruitment Song.
Beautifully filmed on location in Hungary with a fine cast of singers, this production is a delight.
-- Ian Lace, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Der Zigeunerbaron by Johann Strauss Jr.
Wolfgang Brendel (Baritone),
Ivan Rebroff (Bass),
Biserka Cvejik (Mezzo Soprano),
Ellen Shade (Soprano),
Willi Brokmeier (Tenor),
Janet Perry (Soprano),
Hans Kraemmer (Baritone),
Siegfried Jerusalem (Tenor),
Martha Mödl (Mezzo Soprano)
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,
South German Radio Chorus
Written: 1885; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1975
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Bel Canto Fan December 23, 2011
By Perry S. (New Plymouth, -) See All My Reviews
"What a beautiful little film. Full of good music and full of good singing and acting. Almost a travelogue at times.
I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys operettas."