Lehar’s gorgeous score is the main reason why The Merry Widow retains its timeless appeal, and it’s an especial treat in this remastered recording from 1962, translated into English and first time on CD. It is blessed by the conducting of Franz Allers, whose energetic approach in this Merry Widow is familiar from his performance on the original Broadway cast album of My Fair Lady.
Another reason why this album is such a treat is that it features opera singer Lisa Della Casa in the title role. Della Casa rose to fame thanks to her outstanding performances of the main soprano roles by Mozart and especially Richard Strauss; she is regarded as the greatest interpreter of all time of the title role of Strauss’s Arabella. Also included are two bonus tracks of Bach and Schubert’s settings of the “Ave Maria,” recorded earlier in her career.
THE MERRY WIDOW
1. OPENING CHORUS (Howard Kahl, Paul Franke, Chorus)
2. WE ARE ALONE (Charles K. L. Davis, Laurel Hurley)
3. HANNA’S ENTRANCE (Lisa Della Casa, Paul Richards, Howard Kahl, Chorus)
4. MAXIM’S (John Reardon)
5. FINALE ACT I (Lisa Della Casa, John Reardon, Howard Kahl, Paul Richards, Chorus)
6. VILJA (Lisa Della Casa, Chorus)
7. SOLDIER BOY (Lisa Della Casa, John Reardon)
8. WOMEN (John Reardon, Howard Kahl, Paul Franke, Paul Richards)
9. LOVE IN MY HEART (Laurel Hurley, Charles K. L. Davis)
10. FINALE ACT II (Ensemble)
11. GRISETTES (Laurel Hurley, Girls’ Chorus)
12. MERRY WIDOW WALTZ (Lisa Della Casa, John Reardon); FINALE ACT III (Lisa Della Casa, Paul Franke, John Reardon, Chorus)
13. AVE MARIA Lisa Della Casa
14. AVE MARIA! JUNGFRAU MILD Lisa Della Casa
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