Tonight: Welthits von Berlin bis Broadway –Music by Lincke, May, Stolz, Künneke, Leux, Abraham, Gershwin, Bernstein, Loewe, Weill, Tauber and Berlin

Reviewed on Thu 06 Mar, 2014

Dresden’s popular New Year’s Eve operetta gala took on a decidedly transatlantic tinge at the end of last year with this starry celebration of early 20th-century musical theatre. Broadcast on German television, it attracted 1.3 million viewers and is now available in both audio and DVD formats. It’s very much a concert of two halves: the first concentrating on the glittering, champagne-soaked operettas of Robert Stolz, Paul Lincke and others; the second focusing on Broadway royalty such as Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Frederick Loewe and Bernstein. Immediately apparent is the gleeful idiomatic relish of the Staatskapelle players. Under Christian Thielemann’s deftly knowing, lightly handled baton they acquit themselves with salon-like finesse and all the vibrancy of a swing band in full throttle. Renée Fleming and Klaus Florian Vogt prove to be equally at home with operetta’s sweet-toothed, heart-on-sleeve candour and find honey and heartache aplenty in the Broadway selections. A pity, then, that the booklet is woefully devoid of notes.
–Michael Quinn