Lehar: Die lustige Witwe

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

LABELS: Laserlight
WORKS: Die lustige Witwe
PERFORMER: Maria Tiboldi, Sándor Nemeth, Monika Vásári, Gyózó LeblancOrchestra & Chorus of the Budapest Operetta Theatre/Lászlo Makláry
In the last 18 months we have been treated to two superb recordings of this work: the EMI Lott/Hampson/ London Philharmonic/Welser-Möst and the DG Studer/Skovhus/Vienna Philharmonic/Gardiner. This recording has a palpable Volksoper feel and sound. It has great vitality, delivered by charming, sweet voices, but the lack of any dialogue does leave Lehár’s glorious melodies and inventive score rather stranded. The orchestra is well-balanced – although a little recessed – but the singers are generally too far forward in the aural picture. Vásári is an appealing Valencienne with a really vivid young soubrette sound; Leblanc is somewhat overstretched in much of Camille’s music; the Danilo of Sándor Nemeth is characterful but also strained at times. Tiboldi provides a pliant, well-shaped ‘Vilja-Lied’ and gives much of the Widow’s music its required vivacious and flirtatious nuances, but these good stretches are unfortunately sporadic. Makláry, with the Budapest Orchestra and Chorus, delivers some feisty moments – the Act II Finale is well-paced; however, Lehár’s score responds better to a less skittish approach. Elise McDougall