Romberg: The Student Prince / Mauceri, WDR Rundfunkorchester Koln

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A very curious story surrounds this operetta that celebrated its premiere in New York in 1924, became a colossal success, was penned by an American composer born as Sigmund Rosenberg in Imperial and Royal Austria, and evokes glorious boyhood and student days in Biedermeier Heidelberg. The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg was so popular that Hollywood filmed it not once but twice: in 1927 as a silent film by Ernst Lubitsch and in 1954 as a sound film. Like the later musical The Sound of Music, The Student Prince created an ideal vision of Old Europe as an American stage fantasy. Sigmund Romberg's musical significance rests on the fact that it was he who brought the European operetta – and especially the Viennese operetta – to Broadway during the first half of the twentieth century, successfully Americanized it, and offered decisive compositional and dramaturgical impulses to the musical then taking shape as an independent American art form. The great American conductor John Mauceri has lent his devoted support to the rediscovery of this original musical gem.



This is a spirited performance. Mauceri is a doyen of musical theatre and the potpourri overture immediately reveals that the Cologne WDR Funkhaus Orchestra has just the style required for this chocolate-coated score. A mostly German cast is assembled; and while most of their diction is comprehensible, CPO misses a trick by not including the libretto in the booklet. I couldn’t help feeling I was missing out on some clever rhymes.

Dominik Wortig’s baritonal tenor—not unlike a youthful Thomas Hampson—makes for a noble Karl-Franz and he sings the famous Serenade ‘Overhead the moon is beaming’ with winning charm. Anja Petersen occasionally has to squeeze out the high notes as Kathie but does a sterling job. The recording includes hardly any dialogue, and Romberg keeps the tunes coming, a certain amount of recycling ensuring they become familiar as the work progresses. The supporting cast is solid.

– Gramophone

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 555058-2

  • UPC: 761203505821

  • Label: CPO

  • Composer: Sigmund Romberg

  • Conductor: John Mauceri

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Wdr Rundfunkorchester Koln

  • Performer: Anja Petersen, Arantza Ezenarro, Christian Sturm, Dominik Wortig, Frank Blees, Joan Ribalta, Theresa Nelles, Vincent Schirrmacher, Wieland Satter