And possibly many other viewers will
agree. Your reviewer found this hopelessly dated film a dreadfully long 95 minutes.
This is a true “film,” not a filmed stage production. However, though one might expect the songs
to be lip-synced, even the dialogue is. While Otten extols how the operetta captures “those
bygone days of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire,” your reviewer wanted to replay perhaps 10
times over a more telling exemplar of those times, Maurice Ravel’s swirling, manic La Valse,
especially for its cataclysmic climax, where the Empire collapses on itself.
Briefly, Die Csárdásfürstin tells of a Count who wishes to marry a cabaret performer. His
step-mother objects, but she relents after her numerous ex-husbands appear to reveal her
hypocrisy. Perhaps to speakers of German the film has more charm; the subtitles, while not
incompetent, can’t do much to transmit whatever fun is supposedly there to be communicated.
With the relentless good cheer and perky rhythm of most of the music, one either shares Mr.
Otten’s sweet tooth or starts to worry about cavities.
To your reviewer’s ears, Ms. Moffo’s “jewel” of a voice exhibits sad flaws in this 1971 recording,
especially at the top of her range. Kollo may well have nobility, but a little more charm would
have come in handy as well. And as for the immortal melodies – they died away as soon as they
struck their last, major-key note.
But Mr. Otten surely represents a certain segment of the music world, and for all those who feel
that his views may represent their own more than mine, help yourself to this calorie-rich,
product_title=Emmerich K·lm·n: Die Cs·rd·sf¸rstin
product_by=Anna Moffo, RenÈ Kollo, Dagmar Koller, S·ndor NÈmeth, Symphonie-Orchester Kurt Graunke, Bert Grund. Staged and Directed by: MiklÛs Szinet·r
product_id=DG 073 420-6 [DVD]