Notes and Editorial Reviews
TDK presents the quintessence of operetta: a vintage Die Fledermaus, in a lavish staging from the theatre where it is most at home: the Vienna State Opera.
Director: Otto Schenk
Picture Format: 4:3
Sound Format: LPCM stereo
Running Time: 169 mins
Booklet Languages: GB, F, D
Subtitles available in English, French, German, Italian
Recording Date: 31 December 1980
Under the direction of theatrical living legend Otto Schenk, a dream-team of perfectly matched singers, supported by Austrian star actor Helmut Lohner made this a memorable night in true Viennese style. The premiere of this 1979 staging was greeted enthusiastically by the audience, and a legend was
created, one that has spread beyond Viennese opera-going circles. This prompted Austrian Television to broadcast Die Fledermaus live from the Opera a year later. Now retrieved from the archives and released on DVD, the show is as fresh as ever, reveling in that particularly sparkling New Year’s Eve spirit.
The cast of this unforgettable Fledermaus gathered some of the best operatic singer-actors of the 1980s: The wonderful Lucia Popp, who died much too early in 1993, creates a bourgoise Rosalinde with her own charm. Edita Gruberova is a brilliant Adele, and with her magnificient vocal prowess she is a far cry from the typical cliched soubrette. Bernd Weikl’s Eisenstein and Walter Berry’s Falke add an ironic touch to the operetta happiness and Brigitte Fassbaender is of course the incarnation of Prince Orlofsky – a mezzo with a perfectly ”male” bearing, portrayed by both her acting and her looks.
Performances of Die Fledermaus are a year-end ritual in Vienna and many other German-speaking cities. Since the legendary performance under Herbert von Karajan - premiered on New Year’s Eve 1960 - Die Fledermaus has become a regular feature at the Vienna State Opera and ever since 1960 roles from Rosalinde to Ida, from Eisenstein to Dr. Falke have read like the roll call in the Singers’ Hall of Fame. The role of Frosch in Act 3 was not beneath the dignity of Burgtheater players like Josef Meinrad or Karl Paryla nor illustrious guests like Heinz Rühmann and high-calibre singers like Erich Kunz.
Otto Schenk, the popular Viennese actor, director and theatre impresario, had played the role of Frosch 29 times before taking this opportunity to show Viennese opera lovers his own version of Die Fledermaus. It was a production in the best Viennese tradition, with all the features of opera buffa, classic operetta and popular entertainment; it had plenty of scope for comedy, was a little sentimental (just as you would expect, on the last day of the old year), receptive to every punch-line and ready for the moment of spontaneous improvisation; but very precisely crafted too. This Fledermaus recording from the Vienna State Opera on December 31, 1980 will surely win over DVD audiences to a wonderful Viennese tradition.
Gabriel von Eisenstein - Bernd Weikl
Dr. Blind - Anton Wendler
Rosalinde - Lucia Popp
Adele - Edita Gruberova
Frank - Erich Kunz
Ida - Karin Göttling
Prinz Orlofsky - Brigitte Fassbaender
Frosch - Helmut Lohner
Alfred - Josef Hopferwieser
Iwan - Karl Caslavsky
Dr. Falke / Notary - Walter Berry
R E V I E W S:
"This is a glorious production from Vienna of Die Fledermaus, the acknowledged ‘queen of operettas’...Conductor, Theodore Guschlbauer’s vivacious direction is felt right from the word go. The Overture crackles with vitality and playful mischievousness. Lucia Popp is a street-wise and impish Rosalinde...Brigitte Fassbaender is a celebrated Prince Orlofsky...but it is Edita Gruberova as Adele who really steals the show...A sparkling performance from a star cast; sumptuously staged and costumed. A real feast for eye and ear." - Ian Lace, MusicWeb
Works on This Recording
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr.
Erich Kunz (Baritone),
Edita Gruberova (Soprano),
Lucia Popp (Soprano),
Bernd Weikl (Baritone),
Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano),
Walter Berry (Bass Baritone)
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 12/31/1980
Venue: Vienna State Opera
Be the first to review this title