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Franz Léhar ushered in a so-called Silver Age of operetta, Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow, 1905) his biggest hit. A new version comes from the Oper Frankfurt, recorded live in 2018. It’s good, though my enthusiasm fizzles there. I’m certainly not bubbling over, unlike Joana Mallwitz’s conducting which is lively and sometimes runs away with her. Someone’s shaken this bottle before they popped it. The cast sings with delicious smoothness. Marlis Petersen is an elegant Hanna, the titular widow; Iurii Samoilov a pleasant Danilo; and Martin Mitterrutzner a polished Camille. But none of them sounds very sexy – strange considering how good-looking they all are. I’m guessing that the production brought a lot more to their performances. Only Kateryna Kasper’s Valencienne projects personality from the speakers. Well recorded, but no libretto.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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