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Giuditta was Lehar's final work (1934), and it was premiered at the Vienna State Opera. With the political tensions in Austria building, Lehar, by now in his sixties, found little incentive to compose any more. He died in 1948 (the same year as Tauber) at the age of seventy-eight. As with the previous releases of The Czarevitch (CD-80395) and The Land of Smiles (CD-80419), the works are sung in English.
It must have felt eminently fitting to Franz Lehár, himself a proficient violinist, to write an operetta based on episodes in the life of the great virtuoso Paganini. Dispensing with the idea of an overture for Paginini, he even caused the show to open with an extended violin solo, almost like a miniature concerto. The story is set in Italy, at the court of Princess Anna Elisa Bacchiocchi (sister to Napoleon), and the score contains Lehár’s customary impassioned and beautiful love duets, and tenor arias (written with the great tenor of the times, Richard Tauber, in mind).
“Giuditta was Lehár's last stage work and the peak of his compositional development. Written for the Vienna State Opera, it's a highly ambitious score, containing some fiendishly difficult vocal writing and using a large orchestra featuring mandolin and other exotic instruments. For this recording some two hours of music have been compressed into 78 minutes by means of snips here and there and the omission of a couple of subsidiary numbers. The piece has a Carmenlike story, about the disenchanted wife of an innkeeper who persuades a soldier to desert, before eventually abandoning and ruining him as she goes from lover to lover. The best-known number is Giuditta's 'On my lips every kiss is like wine', here gloriously sung by Deborah Riedel; the leading male role was written for Tauber, and there are some marvellous and demanding tenor solos, equally superbly sung by the impressive Jerry Hadley. Despite writing for the opera house, Lehár remained faithful to his formula of interspersing the music for the principal couple with sprightly dance numbers for a comedy pair, here in the hands of Naomi Itami and Lynton Atkinson. Assisted by Richard Bonynge's lilting conducting, these contribute richly to the appeal of the recording.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
Natalia Ushakova (Giuditta), Mehrzad Montazeri (Octavio), Markus Heinrich (Pierrino), Julia Bauer (Anita), Peter Uray (Manuele Biffe), Friedrich Schwardtmann (Antonio), Stephan Paryla (Sebastian), Gunther W. Lämmert (Lord Barrymore), Volker Wahl (Adjutant)
Festival Orchestra Mörbisch & Mörbisch Festival Choir, Rudolf Bibl
(also available to download from $10.50)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.