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This 1922 operetta was a Europe-wide smash, and finally brought international fame to Leo Fall just two years before his early death. It was written for Berlin, which lends it a certain cheerful vulgarity, and the role of the goer Madame P was created by legendary Fritzi Massary. Annette Dasch has a decent shot at it, but this live recording from the Vienna Volksoper is somewhat tame, not without charm but lacking a certain rascally pizazz. Fall was a deft orchestrator, and if there’s nothing that would sound out of place in a work from the 1860s (except the Carmen parody, I guess) there’s plenty to keep you amused for an hour: the usual waltzes and polkas, an Orientalist fantasy about Potiphar’s wife and a cute guitar chanson for the heroine. Andreas Schüller conducts with an ear for the score’s elegance (it channels the 18th century a bit) rather than its vitality, the miking is not particularly sophisticated, and some of the roles are a bit hammy, but it’s all very likeable.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica

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