Notes and Editorial Reviews
JOHANN STRAUSS II
Eine Nacht in Venedig · A Night in Venice (Gesamtaufnahme · Complete)
Anton de Ridder · Sylvia Geszty Trudeliese Schmidt · Julia Migenes · Erich Kunz
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks Münchner Rundfunkorchester
Staged and directed by Václav Kašlík
DVD-VIDEO NTSC 073 4435 |G|H|
STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: DTS 5.1
Picture Format: 4:3
A production of UNITEL, Munich
* This beloved operetta, which takes place during Carnival celebrations in 18th-century in Venice, shows Strauss’s descriptive writing at its best, helped by his love of
* Eine Nacht in Venedig inspired Strauss to compose some of his most successful operetta-music. The Italian atmosphere, the sun, the sea and the Venetian way of life appealed to his creative imagination.
* The stellar cast includes such eminent singer as Anton de Ridder, Sylvia Geszty, Julia Migenes and Trudeliese Schmiedt; Kurt Eichhorn conducts the Münchner Rundfunkorchester.
* This film-production from 1973 was made by the well known Czech conductor and stage director Vaclav Kaslik.
* Among other songs in this operetta, two in particular immediately come to the music-lover´s mind: the infatuating yearning “Komm in die Gondel mein Liebchen” and the captivating waltz ‘”Ach wie so herrlich zu schauen sind all die reizenden Frauen.”
R E V I E W:
An altogether delightful divertissement.
This is an imaginative, sumptuous filming of Johann Strauss’s operetta set in a fantastical, studio-set, 18th century Venice at carnival time. Its theatricality is enhanced by artful devices designed to accentuate the drama and wit of the story: artifices that include mirrors, distortions and even a roving telescope to convey the deception being planned in the first finale’s opening ensemble. The sets and costumes are lavish and the splendid DTS 5.1 Surround Sound of this first international DVD release of the original Václav Kašlik (Czech producer, composer and conductor) film adds icing to a delicious confection.
A Night in Venice was first performed in Berlin in October 1883 but was a flop because of dramatic fumbling and calamitous, inane lyrics. Strauss demanded an immediate overhaul for the Viennese premiere, six days later, at the Theatre an der Wien. This was far more successful and the operetta has retained its popularity ever since.
Unsurprisingly the plot is complicated. I will attempt a broad-brush description. It opens with middle-aged womaniser, the Duke of Urbino, taking an elixir - an early version of Viagra - concocted by Casanova so that he can fully enjoy the temptations of the Carnival in Venice. Senator Delacqua is keen to further his business ambitions by currying favour with the Duke. He has a young beautiful wife, Barbara who is lusted after by Enrico, Delacqua’s nephew. Enrico persuades pasta chef Pappacoda to take Barbara a note suggesting a tryst. Pappacoda’s girl friend, Ciboletta, is jealous when she catches Pappacoda flirting with Annina, Barbara’s foster-sister. Pappacoda after explaining to Ciboletta that Annina was looking for Caramello, the Duke’s personal barber, manages to win Ciboletta over with the hope that they can get married if the Duke employs Pappacoda as his personal chef. Tension also develops in the relationship of Annina and Caramello for she is none too happy with his slowness to commit to marriage. With the Duke determined to conquer Barbara during the masked festivities, the stage is set for complications galore particularly when Barbara duly runs off with Enrico leaving a masked Annina to pose as Barbara in order to meet the Duke and further Delacqua’s ambitions. Later Ciboletta arrives at the festivities claiming to be Barbara too, much to the confusion of the Duke and the jealous rage of Caramello and Pappacoda.
Although A Night in Venice, cannot compare with Die Fledermaus, it nevertheless has delightful waltzes and other dance melodies. The international cast all impress and they clearly enjoy the fun of this sparkling production. The cherubic-faced Anton de Ridder is excellent as the ambivalent Duke of Urbino, his lyric voice gracing such highlights as the celebrated ‘Sei mir gegrüsst, du holdes Venezia’. The two other tenor roles shine too: Jon Piso as the quick-witted Caramello, especially in his lovely aria as he takes ‘Barbara’ in the gondola to the Duke’s party. Cesare Curzi’s Pappacoda delights as he tries to assure Ciboletta of his unswerving devotion. Sylvia Geszty and Julia Migenes - at the time, based in Munich - are fiery and spirited as Annina and Ciboletta, their long-suffering and vengeful ladies. The veteran singer, Ljuba Welitsch appears in a cameo role as Agricola the leader of a gang of ageing lady admirers of the Duke.
An altogether delightful divertissement. Just right for a rainy afternoon.
-- Ian Lace, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Eine Nacht in Venedig by Johann Strauss Jr.
Karl Dönch (Baritone),
Ljuba Welitsch (Soprano),
Michael Lenz (Voice),
Erich Kunz (Baritone),
Trudeliese Schmidt (Mezzo Soprano),
Julia Migenes (Soprano),
Cesare Curzi (Tenor),
Anton de Ridder (Tenor),
Sylvia Geszty (Soprano),
Jon Piso (Tenor)
Munich Radio Orchestra,
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Written: 1883; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1973
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