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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Lehar: Das Land des Lachelns

08/18/2013 1:00 pm
08/18/2013 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Sentimental Viennese operetta always figures in my Summertime programming. The operettas of Franz Lehar's later period were all bittersweet musical melodramas with partly unhappy endings. Lehar's works constitute the core repertoire of the Silver Age of this genre in the early twentieth century. A poignant story seemed to evoke his loftiest flights of lyricism.

In The Land of Smiles (1929) Lehar created the role of Prince Suo-Chong expressly for the Austrian Richard Tauber, the greatest lyric tenor of the day. Many other German lyric tenors to follow would essay Suo-Chong's part. The eminent Siegfried Jerusalem took it up in a 1982 radio production of the operetta. Opposite him as the Austrian countess Lisa is soprano Helen Donath. Willi Boskowsky, the Viennese expert in the genre, conducts the Munich Radio Orchestra.

The airtape of this Radio Bavaria broadcast was issued on two compact discs through West German EMI. I last broadcast this recording, which I have in my own collection, on Sunday, April 26, 1992.