Operetta Magic with Esprit from Bad Ischl
For many years now cpo has been releasing operetta rarities on CD in cooperation with the Lehár Festival in Bad Ischl. This year our selection is Die ungarische Hochzeit (The Hungarian Wedding) by Nico Dostal, a work premiered in Stuttgart in 1939 but today only rarely included in theater programs. Nico Dostal was very successful both as an operetta composer and as a film composer (Kaiserwalzer) and also gained renown with his sacred works (Mass in D major). Next to the Die ungarische Hochzeit, Clivia is regarded as his best operetta music. Hermann Hermecke's libretto for the operetta recorded here is based on a novella by Kálmán Mikszáth, and the action is set in Hermannstadt (Sibiu), Popláka (Poplaca), and Pressburg (Bratislava) around 1750. The short version is entitled »Heimat, deine Lieder grüßen froh mich wieder, « and the tale is told by the peasant girl Janka when she returns from the convent to her parents in Popláka. It is here that Count Stefan von Bárdossy, a ladies' man, has been commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa to review certain local goings-on: Janka's father intends to have old widows marry the colonists instead of the young girls promised to them. Bárdossy's valet Árpád functions as his advance man and is supposed to pretend to be the count. The count disguises himself as a colonist, and Janka immediately falls in love with him. The peasant girl Etelka absolutely wants to marry a count and ensnares Árpád, thinking that he is the nobleman. In the end the empress herself intervenes to clarify the romantic confusion.