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ALLA BREVE

September 27, 1987|ALLAN ULRICH

STRAUSS: "DIE FLEDERMAUS." Lucia Popp, Eva Lind, Agnes Baltsa, Peter Seiffert, Placido Domingo, Wolfgang Brendel; Chorus of the Bavarian Radio and Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Placido Domingo. Angel DSB-3999 (two digital records). This may go down in the history of recorded opera as the first occasion on which the conductor also served (via overdubbing) as one of the two leading tenors in the production. Conductor Domingo has appropriated much of the effervescence, sentiment and sexiness of the Straussian idiom, failing only to animate the occasional conversational episode. Tenor Domingo is a blithely pompous Alfred, embellishing the score with quotes from everything from "Turandot" to "Fidelio." Popp invests Rosalinde with sinuous charm, Seiffert restores the erring Eisenstein to tenor territory in a zesty performance. Brendel is a silky Falke, especially in his launching of the "Duidu" chorus. Baltsa brings insidious bonhomie to Orlofsky. Only Lind's relentlessly perky Adele sounds less than winning. EMI has animated this studio production by including stretches of rewritten dialogue, and adding crowd noises and four guest-star turns in the party scene (Popp and Seiffert are haunting in a "Zigeunerbaron" duet), all at the expense of the original Strauss ballet music. Unexceptional sound in the LP format.

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