Klassik  Operette
Seefestspiele Mörbisch & Wolfdieter Maurer & Harald Serafin Franz Lehár: Der Zarewitsch OC 770 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 770
Release date03/07/2010
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Lehár, Franz

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      Franz Lehár

      Der Zarewitsch
      Tiberius Simu, Alexandra Reinprecht, Harald Serafin, Marko Kathol, Sieglinde Feldhofer, Ciro deLuca
      Chorus and Orchestra of the Mörbisch Lake Festival
      Wolfdieter Maurer, conductor

      When Harald Serafin assumed the directorship of this festival in 1992, the ascent of Mörbisch as the “Mecca of operetta” began its course. Today, up to 220,000 visitors attend the festival at the open-air stage on Lake Neusiedler. After an excursion to the neighboring area of the musical in 2009 (My Fair Lady), this year’s program again brings an operetta classic to the stage: Der Zarewitsch by Franz Lehár. Although this operetta has an unusually tragic plot for the genre and sends the audience away without the typical happy end, it became a hit, not only because of Richard Tauber, for whom the piece was practically customtailored.
      In the Mörbisch production, Romanian born tenor Tiberius Simu sings the role of the Zarewitsch; Alexandra Reinprechtin, who has made guest appearances at the Oper unter den Linden, the Munich State Opera, the Vienna State Opera as well as the Salzburg and Bregenz Festivals, sings Sonja. She performed the same role in 2009 at Munich’s Prinzregententheater with the Munich Radio Orchestra under Ulf Schirmer.

      Der Zarewitsch
      Operette in drei Akten
      (frei nach dem gleichnamigen Bühnenstück von Zapolska-Scharlitt)
      von Bela Jenbach und Heinz Reichert Musik:
      Franz Lehár

      Einrichtung für die Seefestspiele Mörbisch: Peter Lund

      ZarewitschTiberius Simu
      SonjaAlexandra Reinprecht
      GroßfürstHarald Serafin
      IwanMarko Kathol
      MaschaSieglinde Feldhofer
      BordoloCiro De Luca
      HauptmannZoltán Galamb
      Festival Orchestra Mörbisch · Mörbisch Festival Choir Wolfdieter Maurer, conductor
      Bernhard Schneider, Choreinstudierung
      Günter Fruhmann, musikalische Einstudierung

      A tragedy made palatable
      Franz Lehár’s Tsarevich

      Actually, it couldn’t be more laudable that Crown Prince Alexei is so athletic. But when things go so far that not even love can keep him away from the playing field, everything looks dubious. In any event, not only is the Tsarevich completely uninterested in womanizing, he is actively hostile against anything female. This means that ballet dancer Sonia must work twice as hard when the Grand Duke, Alexei’s uncle, has her infiltrated into Alexei’s circle, disguised as a man. Although she is exposed – she still gets through to the soft core of the hardened Alexei. The fact that things do not turn out in the end and that the couple’s happiness ends in sadness is all the more unfortunate.

      This says a lot. After all, it is noteworthy that at age 57, Franz Lehár, whose operetta production made him one of Austria’s richest men and one who simply could have rested on his laurels, extended his creative activities with new aspects. First performed in 1927, Tsarevich just about oozes operatic tragedy; one waits in vain for a happy end, something that Lehár was bitterly criticized for withholding. “I have nothing against Lehár’s music, but audiences shouldn’t be crying when they watch operetta,” said the composer’s colleague Oscar Strauss.

      In 1917, Lehár’s wife Sophie had seen the play The Tsarevich by Gabryela Zapolska in Vienna and was very taken with it. Lehár, who had already tried his hand with a certain Russian flavoring in Kukushka, was not immediately excited about the idea. The same was true for Pietro Mascagni, composer of Cavalleria rusticana; Eduard Künneke, who had also been commissioned to set the material was likewise not particularly enthusiastic. Although he had already completed one act, he gave up the project when Lehár did in fact warm to the subject.

      Lehár’s Tsarevich was a smash with audiences. This even impressed George Gershwin, who then met Lehár in Berlin in 1928. It was also the vocal brilliance of title hero and celebrated Mozart tenor Richard Tauber that contributed to the work’s triumph. Both the composer and the singer entered into an astonishingly creative union. But despite the fact that a number of catchy tunes from Tsarevich circulated throughout the world, the press was relentless – above all due to the libretto by Béla Jenbach and Heinz Reichert.

      On the other hand, the Volga song Allein, wieder allein inspired Nobel Prizewinner Günter Grass for his 1999 book of narratives Mein Jahrhundert. “Did you forget about me, up there so high?” Alexei sings about a soldier in his lonely state. “My heart yearns for love. You have so many angels in heaven with you! Send one down to me.” In view of the unimaginable suffering and gigantic fields of rubble wreaked by two world wars, Lehár’s words certainly reflected what people throughout the world felt from the bottom of their hearts.

      Florian Olters
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • 1.Tscherkessenchor01:31
      • 2.Einer wird kommen (Arie Sonja)04:06
      • 3.Nur ein kleines Häuschen (Duett Mascha, Iwan)02:42
      • 4.Wolgalied (Zarewitsch)05:11
      • 5.Finale 1 (Sonja, Zarewitsch)07:32
      • 6.Lied Zarewitsch (Zarewitsch, Chor)02:57
      • 7.Hab‘ nur dich allein (Duett Sonja, Zarewitsch)04:46
      • 8.Heute Abend komm‘ ich zu dir (Duett Mascha, Iwan)02:43
      • 9.Finale 2 „Liebe mich, küsse mich“ (Duett Sonja, Zarewitsch)03:46
      • 10.Kosende Wellen (Lied und Melodram Sonja, Zarewitsch)04:14
      • 11.Vergessen sei der trübe Wahn (Szene Zarewitsch, Sonja)03:08
      • 12.Ich bin bereit (Duett Mascha, Bordolo, Herrenchor)03:14
      • 13.Küss‘ mich (Quartett Sonja, Mascha, Zarewitsch, Iwan)03:02
      • 14.Das Leben ruft (Walzerlied Sonja)02:26
      • 15.Couplet (Großfürst)02:13
      • 16.Duett (Sonja, Zarewitsch)03:46
      • 17.Finale 3 (Sonja, Zarewitsch, Chor)03:26
      • Total:01:00:43