K‡lm‡n, Stolz, Benatzky, Zeller, J Strauss II, Korngold, Millšcker & Leh‡r

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Benatzky,J Strauss II,Kalman,Korngold,Millöcker & Lehár,Stolz,Zeller
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The World Is Beautiful
WORKS: Arias by Kálmán, Stolz, Benatzky, Zeller, J Strauss II, Korngold, Millöcker & Lehár
PERFORMER: Jerry Hadley (tenor); Munich Radio Orchestra/Richard Bonynge
CATALOGUE NO: 82876 50468 2
Eight distinguished Viennese operetta composers are represented by 15 (mostly) unhackneyed numbers from such unfamiliar works as Millöcker’s Gasparone (1884), Benatzky’s Meine Schwester und ich (1930) and Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago (1928). All are seductively melodious, artfully crafted songs but soon begin to sound remarkably similar to each other in tempo, texture and character – and a little short on echt Viennese lilt in Bonynge’s hands.

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American Jerry Hadley is a hugely versatile singer and the 58 undemanding minutes in his company pass by most pleasantly. He has a beautiful voice (even if its lower register speaks less well than its middle, and his one top C is less than ingratiating) but sung German needs to be more forwardly placed in the singer’s mask than here. Missing are the crisp consonants and textual clarity of a Fritz Wunderlich or Marcel Wittrisch (no texts are provided, by the way – for these you are asked to log on to a website). Listen by contrast to Richard Tauber in the Serenade from Frasquita, for example, and you hear a man at ease with himself, relishing the language, charming the ear with every phrase. Hadley, despite his gifts, sounds bland by comparison. Jeremy Nicholas