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Ralph V Lucano
American Record Guide, November 2013

The enthusiastic performers sing and act with complete conviction, and it’s easy to be caught up in the music… © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Eric Myers
Opera News, July 2013

…the Chicago Folks Operetta is a rarity, and a valuable one. John Frantzen conducts Fall’s score in appropriately breezy style, and the cast performs with sprightliness and grace. What is most remarkable here is how comfortable these classically trained singers are with the spoken dialogue, switching between speech and song with unencumbered ease.

The title role is played by Kimberly McCord, a Baroque specialist who is suprisingly at home here, singing in a soprano notable for its seductive middle and lower range. Achmed/André is taken by Gerald Frantzen, whose unforced tenor is matched by his charming spoken delivery. The same can be said for his wife, Alison Kelly, in the soubrette role of Midili. Tenor Erich Buchholz rings out sweetly as the juvenile Fridoun.

The Chicago Folks Operetta is doing a great service to the all-but-lost art of operetta, as is Naxos by recording this. It would be nice to see the relationship continue with more collaborations along these lines. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2013

Leo Fall was a direct contemporary of Franz Lehar, and as operetta composers they were to enjoy almost equal popularity, though today little is heard of Fall’s music. It had been Die Dollarprinzessin (The Dollar Princess) that gave him the first taste of international fame in 1907, the work quickly moving from it Viennese premiere to New York where it enjoyed equal popularity. Almost every year there followed another success to the point where Lehar, Oscar Straus and Fall dominated the Viennese operetta scene, reaching its peak with Die Rose von Stambul (The Rose of Stambul) which ran for almost fifteen months and 500 performances in Vienna. History would tell us that it was soon transferred to New York, but the booklet with this release corrects the impression, pointing out that on Broadway it became a musical with much of it rewritten. With that correction in place, this performance, staged in Chicago in 2011, claims to be the first time the original work—though in an English translation—has been presented in North America. Its Vienna success no doubt stemmed from its location in Turkey, as stories—particularly those with slightly naughty harem scenes—had already attracted opera composers who could incorporate some middle-Eastern sounding music into the score. The original libretto, supplied by Robert Bodanzky, contrasts European social ideas with Eastern customs in a story of two people involved in romance and two who provide comedy. It is a score abounding with catchy tunes as Fall shares out the arias and ensembles between the very large cast of fifteen solo parts. The present performance comes from the community company, Chicago Folks Operetta, formed quite recently in 2006 with the intention of reviving operettas that have fallen from the repertoire. They draw many of their soloists from choruses of local opera companies, and in this production they also act as the chorus. Obviously all enjoying themselves, the orchestra enter into the spirit of the occasion. © David’s Review Corner

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