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Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, May 2010

Eine Nacht in Venedig has one of Strauss’ most confusing plots, which says a lot; the reason for performing it is mainly the music. It is a veritable string of pearls of ear-catching melodies, lavishly orchestrated and grateful for the singers. It bustles with good humour, vitality and zest for life. For this recording the production team has wisely chosen to cut the spoken dialogue altogether and—deprived of the ‘story’—one can just lean back, shut one’s eyes, inhale the atmosphere and sing along—or just enjoy it…The standard of singing, without in any way challenging the casts on commercial recordings, is good…The tenors here have agreeable but small-scale voices but they are used with fine sense for the drama and they are expressive. Daniel Buckard, in the central role as the Duke, grows throughout the performance and Johan Christensson, who only appears in Caramello’s hit song Ach wie so herrlich zu schau’n, has a lyric glow that makes him stand out. Kristina Hansson is a splendid Ciboletta but her colleagues with whom she shares the role, Merete L Meyer and Anna-Maria Krawe, are also excellent. The latter’s Spott-Lied (CD 2 tr. 6) is one of the highlights here.

As an appendix we are treated to six pieces of dance music based on themes from the operetta, recorded separately on New Year’s Day six years later. Best known is no doubt Lagunen Walzer, which is Caramello’s hit song in its amended orchestral version. Eichenholz has a fine feeling for Viennese style and chooses sensible tempos throughout…with young, fresh voices throughout the present version can be an attractive proposition…

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2009

Johann Strauss’s A Night in Venice has hovered on the edge of the operetta repertoire, versions tinkering with the score never having improved upon the original. The story is complicated, but revolves around the Duke of Urbino wanting to take to his bed the beautiful young Barbara, wife of the aging Senator Delaqua. He leaves his barber to set the whole thing up at the masked ball, but behind those masks all of the guests are not quite whom they seem to be, particularly the one the Duke believes to be Barbara, who in reality is Annina the barber’s girlfriend. When a second ‘Barbara’ appears, who, in fact, is still is not the real Barbara, the Duke becomes totally confused. In the end it is the women who make fools out of the men, and much to their satisfaction. The present ‘live’ performance made in 2002 comes from the University College of Opera in Stockholm, and makes the plot sound even more confusing as the four leading roles are shared by a series of students with different voices. Then they add the further twist to the story with Delaqua turned into a breeches role. The linking dialogue that might have sorted out the story is omitted, so you might now be totally confused. So why not just sit back and enjoy the gorgeous music in an enthusiastic performance. Many of the singers have gone on to make opera careers, though Daniel Buckard as the Duke—sounding rather like Richard Tauber—has dropped out of music. All are well versed in the Viennese operetta style, and conductor, Mika Eichenholz, employs suitably bouncy and brisk tempos. The orchestra is drawn from Stockholm’s major symphony orchestras, and by omitting thirty minutes of dialogue has provided room for the inclusion of six of Strauss’s dances, appropriately including the Annina and Pappacoda Polkas, two of the operetta’s characters. Plenty of applause; little stage noise, and balance between singers and orchestra well-managed. Synopsis but no libretto.

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