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Czardasfurstin is a personal favorite even if it is more than a bit
outdated. This DVD is descended more from the Broadway/Hollywood style
than from the Wiener Volksoper. The script was heavily rewritten but is
far, far closer to the original than the horrible butcherings of
Lustige Witwe, the best of all operettas of the era just before World
War One. There is some rewriting of lyrics in the better known numbers,
for example, the very popular "Let Me Dance and Let Me Sing". The
changes are minor. Maybe Kallman had different versions.
The writers added the non-singing role Miska to move the plot along. It makes the story fall together. With the scene shifting that film made available, a facilitator like Miska helps a lot.
It is obvious that the singing is overdubbed. So what?
Anna Moffo is gorgeous both in face and voice. Rene Kollo looks a decade younger than she. An excellent voice for the role. How can you not love Dagmar Koller? (See her on the recent Andre Rieu Live in Vienna. Still lovely.) Sandar Nemeth as Boni is a bit over-matched by Moffo and Kollo's singing but his dancing with Koller (who is excellent) makes up for it. (Moffo fakes the stage dancing. Step left. Together. Step right. Together. Repeat. But, she was not hired for her dancing. Again, so what?) The rest of the cast do a creditable job. Wonder how long it took Peter Huszti (Rohnsdorff)to get that broomstick out of his butt.
The orchestration is a bit pinched. Instead of the big sound from a motion picture sound studio, we get the sound of a stage show pit band. Might even have been recorded in someone's garage. Considering that Kallman's writing is lush, almost gooey, we feel cheated.
The subtitles suffer from what so many subtitles do. They are paraphrases, not translations of the original. Since they do not scan poetically, why paraphrase?
Still, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Considering some of the schlock given 8's and 9's here, this is easily a 9 or better. If you are, like I am, an Unabashed Romantic Slob, this is well worth watching.
Ever since I saw this production of The Csardas Princess I was captivated by it. The operetta is I think Kalmann's best, with a fun and sweet story and wonderful music. This production is lovely, though I do agree that while there is a lot of verve and lushness the orchestra do have a somewhat pinched sound sometimes, though that may have been to do with the sound quality. The costumes and sets are very sumptuous though, the scenery simply gorgeous and the photography and lighting fluid and almost dream-like. I especially loved the scene on the river. The staging is always charming and fun, and the choreography is so light-on-their-feet and hypnotising that it takes you to another world. The performances are wonderful. While her voice is not quite as gorgeous as in the 50s-60s, Anna Moffo still sings beautifully and is positively radiant. Rene Kollo is youthful and dashing, and displays a sensitively used voice even early on in his career. Dagmar Koller is a delight as Stasi, and Sandor Nemeth proves himself to be an excellent dancer. I usually don't care for additional characters, but this is one of those occasions where one, in the name of Miska, moves the story along and to great effect. All in all, a lovely operetta film. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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