Co-Production Volksoper Wien – Phoenix Music Media
Anyone accustomed to the style of the Weill-Brecht “Songspiele” is in for a surprise with this DVD production from the Viennese Volksoper. The plot alone, in which an unscrupulous arms dealer pulls a fast one on an imaginary Southern states island, where the cow belonging to the young farmer Juan is pawned in exchange for a machine gun, roused the audience to enthusiastic applause. There is of course a happy end – all with imaginative, humorous and lively music by Kurt Weill, in the best tradition of operetta!
Kurt Weill started to compose the work after his exile from Germany in 1933 with Robert Vambery, former chief dramatist of the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin. Both in search of a new identity, they began to collaborate on a new, original work. Unsatisfied with the original version, Weill continued to work on it until his death in 1950. When Weill died, the work was still lying in the drawer, unedited and unfinished.
Phoenix Edition is pleased to present the world première recording of the revised version of the opera by Robert Vambery. The performance received great reviews, not only praising the colourful, comical and highly resourceful production, but also for the work itself, which clearly confirmed the quality criteria mentioned by the composer; an operetta which should be funny with a social and political background, completely in the spirit of Jacques Offenbach.
“The production's virtues are that it looks good, is unapologetically full-blooded in its caricatures and very well sung. Ursula Pfitzner's alluring Juanita, Carlo Hartmann's comically ineffectual President and Wolfgang Gratschmaier, as the Mephistophelean factotum Ximenez, are the stars of a generally strong cast.”