Boobs in Venice

Johann Strauss’ Eine Nacht in Venedig is a pretty slight piece.  In fact it makes Die Fledermaus look like Parsifal.  It’s set during Carnival.  There’s a visiting duke who is out to bed the last woman in Venice he hasn’t already slept with, the young wife of a doddery senator, but she’s being impersonated by her maid and her foster sister for reasons of their own while she gets off with her nephew.  The duke fails to seduce anyone.  Ash Wednesday arrives and everybody, on the surface, returns to her proper partner.  All this serves as an excuse for lots of boob and thigh flashing, some big dance numbers and lots of, by Fledermaus standards, rather dull music.

Václav Kašlík’s 1973 lip synched film version is very 1970s.  All sorts of sub Ken Russell like effects are employed and the sound track is seriously overproduced.  It’s also cut by maybe 30 minutes, at least compared to the Mörbisch stage version.  The singing is pretty good and the acting is adequate for 1970s opera.  The standouts, in several senses, are Julia Migenes as the maid Ciboletta, and Sylvia Geszty, as the foster sister Annina.  Decent performances too from Anton de Ridder as the duke, Trudeliese Schmidt as Barbara, Cesare Curzi as the cook Pappacoda and Jon Piso as the barber Caramello.  There are some decent dancers and the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under Kurt Eichorn at least sound suitably Viennese.

The picture is a rather soft grained and slightly washed out 4:3 as one might expect from a 1973 made for TV film.  The sound is OK if a bit plush, at least in the PCM stereo version.  The ANSI II processed surround track is awful.  It’s hollow and everything is positioned wrong.  Documentation is standard DGG; track listing, synopsis and short essay.  The only subtitle options are English and German.

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