Franz Bauer-Theussl

Emmerich Kálmán & Franz Lehár: Die Schönsten Operetten der Welt

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After years of relative quiet on the classical front, the budget German ZYX label surfaces once again with the compilation Die Schönsten Operetten der Welt (The World's Most Beautiful Operettas). This consists of what German record companies have long called Querschnitt -- excerpts -- from Lehár's The Merry Widow and Paganini along with Kálman's Countess Maritza and Gypsy Princess. These are old German recordings, led by the ubiquitous Franz Bauer-Theussl leading the Vienna Volksoper, made in the 1950s and '60s, having previously appeared in countless guises on a bouquet of cheap labels going back into the era of LPs; the two discs in this set have been issued on single discs by ZYX as well. They are decent performances with generally good casts, although the sound quality is antiquated and tends to be a little bright and over-reverberant. There's no arguing against the none-too-dear asking price, and ZYX manages to come up with a snappier front cover this time compared to its past, ultra-cheap-looking issues. On the other hand, fully viable, more up-to-date alternatives exist for everything presented here and consumers deep into operetta likely already have these recordings. For beginners in operetta, this is OK, but you can still do better, especially in works such as The Merry Widow and Gypsy Princess.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), operetta
1 02:53 Amazon
2 04:06 Amazon
3 04:04 Amazon
4 00:40 Amazon
5 04:44 Amazon
6 02:32 Amazon
7 02:47 Amazon
8 03:22 Amazon
9 02:26 Amazon
10 02:57 Amazon
Gräfin Mariza (Countess Maritza), operetta
11 02:51 Amazon
12 03:58 Amazon
13 03:13 Amazon
14 03:45 Amazon
15 04:00 Amazon
16 02:51 Amazon
17 02:26 Amazon
18 02:19 Amazon
19 03:16 Amazon
20 04:17 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Csárdásfürstin (The Gypsy Princess), operetta
1 04:05 Amazon
2 03:03 Amazon
3 02:38 Amazon
4 03:07 Amazon
5 02:10 Amazon
6 03:01 Amazon
7 02:33 Amazon
8 03:25 Amazon
9 01:46 Amazon
10 04:01 Amazon
11 02:57 Amazon
12 03:01 Amazon
Paganini, operetta in 3 acts
13 02:16 Amazon
14 02:32 Amazon
15 03:32 Amazon
16 03:06 Amazon
17 02:27 Amazon
18 01:59 Amazon
19 01:16 Amazon
20 02:03 Amazon
21 02:52 Amazon
22 02:37 Amazon
23 02:47 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick