“Zigeunerbaron” is Something of a Letdown

A-OP-Zigneurnerbaron

“Zigeunerbaron” is Something of a Letdown

   When Johann Strauss II’s “Der Zigeunerbaron” (The Gypsy Baron) opened in 1885, Western Europe had spent a 50-year love affair with Hungarian music. So this operetta about Gypsies, with a score infused with Gypsy music was a sure hit. But for me, today, after a promising overture, the show does not work as well as other Strauss musicals.

In yet another grand production given at the Seefestspiele Morbisch in 2011, now on a Videoland DVD, the silly plot is not enough to maintain interest, the comic songs are not funny, and the moments of great beauty are few and far between. In fact, the only excitement comes during the choreographed sequences, so that the highlight of the production is the fully danced curtain calls!

The cast does its best to keep things moving, but again the story and somewhat unexceptional score are against them. I will not go into further detail. I believe this production is worth seeing because anything by Strauss, Jr. always has its merits. And it is always fun watching this group fill its huge stage, even though those telephone operator mikes on their faces look ludicrous in closeup.

The running time is 143 minutes and there are subtitles in four languages. The tracking list in the booklet is inaccurate.

 

81Kx0GmYwTL._SY679_Note: There is a made for television and abridged version with a less than scintillating tenor in the title role, Siegfried Jerusalem. There is less dancing and the plot remains uninteresting.