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Lehar: Das Land des Lachelns / Boskovsky, Donath, Jerusalem

Release Date: 10/10/2000 
Label:  Emi Classics Special Import Catalog #: 66376   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Lehár
Performer:  Siegfried JerusalemHelen DonathBrigitte LinderMartin Finke,   ... 
Conductor:  Willi Boskovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony OrchestraBavarian Radio Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 31 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Siegfried Jerusalem imparts to "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" a natural passion and fluency, and Helen Donath lends a lovely rich, creamy tone to her waltz song and blends beautifully in the big duets.

Das Land des Lachelns ("The Land of Smiles") epitomizes the more serious, more ambitious side of Lehár that increasingly superseded the elegant gaiety of Die lustige Witwe ("The Merry Widow") as the composer grew older. It may fall a little uneasily between the stools of light and serious music, and certainly Lehár's full-blooded orientalisms in Acts 2 and 3 (both set in China) can be hard to take. Yet there is much more to the work than the celebrated Tauber arias "Dein ist
Read more mein ganzes Herz", "Immer nur lächeln" and "Von Apfelblüten einen Kranz". There are, of course, a couple of beautiful duets for the leading pair, "Bei einem Tee a deux" and "Wer hat die Liebe uns ins Herz gesenkt" that show Lehár at his passionate, melodic best. Moreover, I never fail to be enchanted by the lilting opening waltz song for the heroine that gives a welcome reminder of the earlier, lighter Lehár. It seems musically at odds with much of what comes after, though it is entirely justified dramatically by the setting of an Austrian castle reception.

This set comes with obvious pedigree. Siegfried Jerusalem is a first-rate, intelligent singer with an easy tenor voice that imparts to "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" a natural passion and fluency, with contrasts of loud and soft emerging without any sense of striving for effect. Helen Donath may be a little tested at the top of her range by Lehár's challenging writing, but she lends a lovely rich, creamy tone to her waltz song and blends beautifully in the big duets. Boskovsky is idiomatic and utterly dependable, and the broad sonic range of the digital recording helps him to bring out the drama in the score and the full force of the big choral numbers.

Excellently though Brigitte Lindner and Martin Finke sing the soubrette and buffo roles, I could have wished for a greater contrast between their voices and those of the leading pair. I have little doubt, however, that the overall vocal effect surpasses that of the two earlier stereo issues of the sixties—with Rudolf Schock and Margit Schramm for Ariola/Eurodisc and Nicolai Gedda and Anneliese Rothenberger for EMI, I retain an affection, though, for the 1954 set in mono, with Schwarzkopf (matchless for me), Otto Ackermann a beautifully sensitive conductor and Kunz and the young Gedda in support. But, of course, 30 years of progress in recording techniques means a lot, and Lehár's genius as an orchestrator is well served by the digital recording. Moreover, this is the first recording to include the opening chorus of Act 3 and thus the first to offer the score absolutely complete. It arrived too late for inclusion in my "Critics' Choice" this year, but it should certainly find a place on many a present list this Christmas.

-- Gramophone [12/1982]
reviewing this recording on LP
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Works on This Recording

Das Land des Lächelns by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem (Tenor), Helen Donath (Soprano), Brigitte Linder (Soprano),
Martin Finke (Tenor), Klaus Hirte (Baritone)
Conductor:  Willi Boskovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1982 
Venue:  Bavarian Radio Studios, Munich 
Length: 91 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: German 

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