Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Decca Entartete Musik
WORKS: Die Herzogin von Chicago
PERFORMER: Endrik Wottrich, Monica Groop, Deborah Riedel; Schöneberg Boys Choir, Berlin RSO & Chorus/Richard Bonynge
CATALOGUE NO: 466 057-2
Emmerich Kálmán’s operetta the Duchess of Chicago is guaranteed to give the most sweet-toothed operetta-junky a sugar rush. It’s like a souped up version of Lehár’s Merry Widow spiced with paprika and Twenties jazz. Prince Sándor, heir to the throne of Sylvaria is enjoying one last fling at the ‘Grill américaine’ in Budapest before an enforced marriage to the lisping Princess Rosmarie. Enter rich American Mary Lloyd who is on a bet ‘to buy what is most difficult to obtain for money’. The plot revolves around her attempt to dance the Charleston with the heir-apparent of Sylvaria but Sándor only likes the csárdás and good old Viennese tunes and loathes jazz. So there is plenty of scope for a musical stand-off between Hungarian gypsy bands and cimbaloms and the more contemporary Charleston and foxtrot. Richard Bonynge conducts with a finely judged combination of Hungarian-Viennese sentiment and American moxie. If Endrik Wottrich lacks the light touch of a Richard Tauber he certainly has all the necessary vocal glamour. Deborah Riedel as Mary Lloyd suggests just the right amount of vulgarity with her hilarious American-German accent and Monica Groop’s sibilantly-impaired Princess Rosmarie is absolutely charming. [During his lifetime Kálmán was one of the most popular composers in the world and it seems that after years of neglect he is at last enjoying something of a renaissance.] This sumptuous new release will deservedly further his [Kálmán’s] cause. Clive Portbury