Reviewed by: F. Paul Driscoll
Not many performers in their nineties release new CDs, but Budapest-born soprano Marta Eggerth (b. 1912), one of the last survivors of the pre-World War II European operetta scene, remains active as a performer today. Her two-CD set combines soundtrack cuts from Eggerth's 1930s films with performances captured as recently as 2002.
The early material, especially the items by Lehár, is hors concours, few other artists ever sang operetta with Eggerth's provocative charm and pearly timbre. This may have been the close of operetta's "Silver Age," but Eggerth transformed everything she sang into gold - even a fairly beer-gardenish adaptation of "Casta Diva" ("Occhi puri che incantate") from a 1935 film biography of Bellini.
The later cuts, while obviously not so fresh-sounding as the Eggerth performances of sixty-five years ago, are still bewitching, with performances of Stolz's "Das Lied is aus" and Kander and Ebb's "Married" providing evidence that the soprano's wit, musicality and stylish élan remain as potent as ever.