Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus | Naxos
Blindekuh (‘Blind Man’s Buff’) was Johann Strauss II’s sixth operetta and his least known. Neglected for well over a century, it was revived by Dario Salvi and the forces on this album in January 2019. The work’s initial lack of success is hard to explain but it may have been caused by a confusing libretto—the music itself is vibrant and captivating with waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, marches and bel canto arias. Performed in a concert version without dialogue, and in accordance with performing traditions, this production restores the work to the status of one of Strauss’s most melodically seductive works.
Realistically, the recording makes us simply sit back and enjoy the music. Salvi and the orchestra bring a sure and stylish hand to the music, and this is music that needs the right feeling of style. When listening to operetta I don't insist on an echt Viennese pedigree but a certain amount of style and elan is necessary, and this disc has it.
Performance ★★★★ Both chorus and orchestra achieve a good standard and conductor Dario Salvi motivates the performance effectively.
George Hall, BBC Music Magazine (June 2020)
The first merit goes Maestro Dario Salvi, who lovingly lives, vibrates the dazzling music of Johann Strauss, first by knowing how to do it and "breathe" by animating the right tempo, against the current trend to rush, and on the other hand, without ever forcing it either in brilliant or in reverse: restraints, irrelevant nuances.
In Blindekuh, Dario Salvi proves his understanding of music that requires a mix of colors, nuances that are both delicate, tender and removed rhythms. Its tempo allows the pretty Straussian melodies to unfold with elegance and a dose of humor always present. Sound 8/10, Booklet 9/10, Repertoire 8/10, Interpretation 8/10
The melodic beauty of all the songs is as good as his masterpiece Die Fledermaus, and the waltzes, polkas, mazurkas and marches strewn in the story have the power to make the listener mesmerised. The finale of the second act is especially impressive. The place where the chorus repeats "Blindekuh" on a waltz tempo in its gorgeousness is reminiscent of the ball scene of the Die Fledermaus. Conductor Dario Salvi conducts the finest music.
Salvi’s tempos all move smartly: he’s a conductor with a fine sense of Strauss’s style and knows how to pace things well.
[Salvi] is a dedicated engine on the podium [...] this operetta could once again become one of the most melodically seductive works by Strauss.
★★★★ Salvi leads the production with genuine enthusiasm, pacing all the music sensibly and sensitively and eliciting fine singing from the chorus and delightfully bouncy playing from the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.
One of the greatest mysteries in the history of music is why the operettas of one of the most popular composers of all time, Johann Strauß, whose waltzes and polkas on January 1st, together with the ´Fledermaus´ on New Year's Eve, delight half the world's population, are so neglected. In this respect, it cannot be overstated that the label Naxos dedicates a series of recordings to them - even in the name of unknown works. After Lady Ninetta and The Goddess of Vernuft, it is now "Blindekuh". It is about a landowner who is close to ruin due to his second wife 's cleaning and waste addiction. Listen and let yourself get excited! It's worth it...
The ensemble go wholeheartedly into the game from the very beginning, and the high spirits are retained to the very end ... the acting is spirited, full of life and enthusiasm.
Salvi knows how to curb and tame [the] varied tempos.
An important completion of the Johann Strauss Sohn discography.
The version, by the imaginative Italian conductor Dario Salvi, dispenses with spoken dialogues and presents only the eighteen musical numbers, with a duration of around an hour and a half long and in which a professional roster of highly involved soloists and a Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, whose choir becomes the main protagonist throughout the performance, sign a more than worthy recovery of this rarity from the Straussian catalog.