Customer Reviews for: Romberg: Desert Song / Tozzi, Barr, Palmer, Engel

8 Reviews in Total
5 Star: 1 Review
4 Star: 1 Review
3 Star: 0 Reviews
2 Star: 2 Reviews
1 Star: 4 Reviews

Average Review

2.0 Stars (8 Reviews)

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 Great score misses in production February 10, 2013
By John Esche -- See All My Reviews
It is understandable that so many responses to this title should express such disappointment with it. THE DESERT SONG is one of Sigmund Romberg's supreme achievements in operetta composing, arguably even surpassing his STUDENT PRINCE and its content, fictionalized from headlines in the 1920's, retains timely aspects in the 21st Century. Given Lehman Engel's involvement in the beautifully recorded but brief (averaging about 22 minutes per show on a single LP side originally) Readers' Digest Operetta Box Set - which also used Peter Palmer - and the well mounted Broadway revival in 1973, one reasonably expected this recording to be close to a definitive preservation of the score. Sadly, it isn't. The reasons will vary from listener to listener, but the main problems from this perspective were 1) rushed tempos which robbed the work of its romance and mystery in too many places and still did not seem to allow room on the limited LP space for the essential comedy numbers, "It" and "One Good Boy Gone Wrong" which liven the show and complete its honest period feel and 2) the miscasting of the two leads (Tozzi and Barr) who didn't have the warmth or "chemistry" for THIS score at that point in their careers. The recording is never painful to listen to, and the Romberg, Hammerstein, Harnach, Mandel work (inexplicably UNCREDITED on the original LP cover!) is so enjoyable in almost any form that many will want this version anyway, but it isn't all it should have been. I wish someone on the site would note any differences between the original mono issue (LOP-1000) and the stereo version (LSO-1000) being burned for Arkiv. In the early days of stereo such differences were common and while I just burned a CD from my mono-LP, if there is different material in the stereo version I might still be interested in acquiring it; THE DESERT SONG remains one of my favorite scores - even in this over all disappointing version. Report Abuse

 Dreadful Recording October 29, 2012
By James W. (Carmel, IN) -- See All My Reviews
Whatever prompted Masterworks to release this bomb? Tozzi has a nice voice, but he sounds as though he's mailing in his performance, and the least said about Kathy Barr the better. Say what you will about Nelson Eddy, but his recording (with Doretta Morrow, et. al, also arranged and conducted by Lehman Engel) is far better. It has life and zest, much better soloists, and a superior chorus. The sound on my old LP is equal to this early Living Stereo release, and it's in old-fashioned mono! Come on, Masterworks. There are dozens of titles in your vaults more worthy of release than this. Report Abuse

 Disappointing Desert Song October 24, 2012
By Martin Halacy (Chicago, IL) -- See All My Reviews
This is a very dated recording. Tozzi is the only singer in the cast whose artistry outlives its era. The sound quality is quite poor especially when compared with that of other recordings from the early Fifties. Report Abuse

 Not worth reviving October 23, 2012
By Eugene G. (philadelphia, PA) -- See All My Reviews
RCA did some very impressive show and revival recordings during the late 50s, but this is not one of them. The sound totally lacks any theatrical ambiance, since it sounds like the performers are all singing directly into microphones. Worst offender is Kathy Barr who totally lacks the voice or technique for this quasi-operatic style of music. Final problem is the new, tacky and very late 50s orchestrations by Lehman Engle, who usually could be relied upon in this type of repertoire. Report Abuse

 Bel Canto fan October 22, 2012
By Perry S. (New Plymouth, -) -- See All My Reviews
I bought this recording as an LP about 50 years ago and it still probably has the best music selection of any disc of the Desert Song I have found yet. There is a vitality to the music that most studio recordings do not achieve. There are two disappointing aspects - 1. the heroine, Margo, played by Kathy Barr, is a bit loud and hard at times. The rest are great. and 2. Benny's two comic songs ( It and One good boy gone wrong ) are missing. Fortunately I could include them from another CD and with a different voice and style, they fit into this disc beautifully. Overall, well worth having in my collection. Report Abuse

 Operetta Rules ! October 17, 2012
By Frank Guerrasio (Brooklyn, NY) -- See All My Reviews
For anyone who loves classic operetta as I do, Arkiv's reissue of "The Desert Song" is truly a longed-for blessing. It's a terrific recording of this great score;great sound, great singing, great production. Kudos to Arkiv for bringing it back. In the absence of a sorely-needed complete recording of this score (especially the comedy songs), this will do just fine ! PS: Universal Music seems to be sitting on the Kapp Records original cast recording of the musical "Donnybrook !" from 1960. Many fans want it. How about it, Arkiv ? Report Abuse

 Desert Song Goes Flat October 10, 2012
By freeman gunter (New York, NY) -- See All My Reviews
Romberg's 1920's operetta was an enormous hit in its day and has been successfully revived through the years. On screen, it proved a sturdy vehicle for Mario Lanza as the dashing Red Shadow, by day the mild-mannered Paul. Its old-style romanticism is balanced by a then-modern day sensibility as shown by a song about attitudes toward sex appeal. This song, "It", and the other modern numbers are absent from this very disappointing recording from the late 1950's. Giorgio Tozzi, though strong of voice, is lacking in charm and thin-voiced, shrill Kathy Barr, some sort of night club singer, is perfectly dreadful, almost a joke, as Margot. Nelson Eddy and Doretta Morrow are infinitely better in these roles on a Columbia studio recording (that has never made it to CD). Both recordings share conductor Lehman Engel, whose work on the Columbia set sparkles with joy and verve, lifting the gorgeous melodies off of the printed page and sending them soaring. On this RCA set, with dreary and gratuitious new arrangements, nothing ever gets off the ground. I am sorry i bought this disappointing recording and never intend to play it again. I wasted my money. Maybe it would be a nice mini-frisbee. Report Abuse

 Save your money September 26, 2012
By Elliot F. (Granada Hills, CA) -- See All My Reviews
This recording was buried for 50+ years and for good reason. The great score is mercilessly cut (what happened to It and One Good Boy Gone Wrong). The performances are wooden and the sound is not good even though it says Living Stereo. The label lists LSO-1000 which must have been RCA's first Stereo release. The track listing has an Overture which disappears after about 32 bars into the first song. No recording site is listed but probably Webster Hall in NY--most RCA recordings from that site have poor sound. This was probably quickly withdrawn after Lanza's 1959 recording came out. Lanza's recording is better (if you can still get it) and the sound is also not great but at least is well sung and is more complete. I should have waited for other reviews first. Can I get my money back? Report Abuse

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