Friederike was a relatively late composition. The huge success of
TheMerry Widow occurred back in 1905. Between the
Friederike came other successes like:
Der Graf von Luxemburg (1909),
Paganini (1925) and
Der Zarewitsch (1927). Lehár, despite hostility loved
Friederike and regarded it as more opera than operetta - a realisation that would fully flower in his last great production,
Giuditta (1934) after another great success
Das Land des Lächelns (1929)
Friederike was consideredRead more to be very daring. Its concept was the early life and ill-fated love of Germany’s beloved Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Just imagine an English composer being rash enough to consider creating an operetta around the life of William Shakespeare! The critics loathed it. The public adored it.
Friederike with its more than 300 performances, was Berlin’s most successful work during the 1928/29 season. Yet, later, Hitler’s Third Reich would subsequently crush it as subversive to patriotic German sensibilities.
Richard Traubner writing in his book, “Operetta, A Theatrical History”, remarked, “
Friederike is one of the most passionate Léhar works, allowing Tauber a field-day.” Richard Tauber played Goethe for the then exorbitant evening fee of 2,000 marks. He had to repeat the operetta’s hit song ‘O Mächen, mein mädchen…’, alone, a total of five times at the premiere. In fact at the Berlin Six-Day cycle race in 1928 the crowd of 6,000 spectators frenetically demanded that he sing that song. ‘O mädchen, mein mädchen, wie lieb’ ich dich’ (‘O maiden … how I love you’) appears again and again, either subtly or overtly throughout the work as its basic motif; it is not sung until Act II.
Friederike, tells the rather improbable story of how the young Goethe had been kissed by a French girl who then cursed the girl who would kiss him after her. Consequently Goethe had been wary of allowing any other maiden within kissing distance of him - even Friederike the object of his love. Friederike, unafraid of the curse, kisses him and seals her doom because her lover is soon summoned to the court of Duke Karl August of Weimar who does not welcome attached creative artists. Friederike, anxious not to stand in the way of Goethe’s career sacrifices her love for him.
Lehár’s music scintillates as ever. Much of the music is true to 18
th century styles - the dainty and elegant Minuet that opens Act II - but it is also tinged with more modern, often ironic little orchestral colourations to comment on character, atmosphere and action. Ulf Schirmer directs the ensemble in a sunny and animated performance. Klaus Florian Vogt is hardly a new Tauber but he does make a good fist of Goethe. Both sopranos shine as the two sisters, Friederike and Salomea. Theirs are ingénue and soubrette roles that depart from the usual stock stereotypes. There are many highlights as well as that song. These include Goethe’s dreamily romantic Act I arias ‘O, wie schön, wie wunderschön’ (O how lovely, how wondrously lovely’) and ‘Sah ein Knab’ ein Röslein stehn …’ in which he confesses his love for Friederike, the magical Act II duet for Friederike and Goethe ‘All mein Fühlen, all mein Sehen …’; and the glittering tune-filled finale to Act I.
CPO are gradually working through and recording the Lehár operettas (see below). As before, one has to be familiar with the German language to enjoy these recordings to the full, especially the many German dialogue tracks so important to fully grasp the subtleties of the plot developments. Is it not possible for CPO to follow the lead of so many other recording companies, these days, and include access, via the Internet, to the libretto (preferably in three or more languages including English)?
Friederikeby Franz Lehár Performer:
Kristiane Kaiser (Soprano),
Klaus Florian Vogt (Tenor),
Daniel Behle (Tenor),
Sylvia Schwartz (Soprano)
Munich Radio Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1928; Vienna, Austria
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BELLISIMA OBRAOctober 26, 2013By Norberto YAŃEZ See All My Reviews"HE ESCUCHADO RECIENTEMENTE POR PRIMERA VEZ ESTA OBRA Y HE QUEDADO MARAVILLADO ESPECIALMENTE CON LOS TEMAS MUSICALES, ESPECIALMENTE "REINLHANDER" PERO NO PUEDO ENCONTRAR ESA MUSICA EN MI INVESTIGACION A TRAVES DE LA WEB"Report Abuse