V0378. RICHARD TAUBER: Songs by Strauss & Heymann; Arias from Don Giovanni, Die Tote Stadt & Friederike; w.Mischa Spoliansky (Pf.): Das Deutsche Volkslied. (South Africa) Claremont GSE CD 78-50-64, recorded 1924-39. Transfers by Graham Sound. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
"...Tauber, throughout his career, returned regularly to Mozart and even in operetta interpolated many of the antique graces of bel canto - mordents, gruppetti and so forth - which helped to oil the voice and keep it limpid....His was a light, lyric tenor but not a tenorino and with an attractive melliflous quality....There were German tenors of this period with larger, more beautiful, more brilliant voices...but none was a greater musician or a finer artist that Richard Tauber."
- Michael Scott, THE RECORD OF SINGING
“Richard Tauber remains, for many, the quintessential Viennese operetta tenor. As well as a performer, he was a composer, his works displaying his understanding of the operetta and song genres if not the genius of a Lehár or Johann Strauss, Jr. He did not have a perfect voice; his Bs and Cs were labored and his habit of using falsetto to reach the rest of the upper range, while producing some ravishing results, could become mannered and overly applied. That said, his graceful charm of expression and lyrical warmth made him one of the most beloved singers of his time.
He made his opera début at the Chemnitz Neues Stadt-Theater in March, 1913, as Tamino in Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. He was almost immediately given a five-year contract by the Dresden Opera where he became the established lyric tenor. As his career continued to develop throughout Germany, he was strongly associated with Mozart; when he appeared as Tamino, Mozart's opera was often jokingly renamed 'DIE TAUBERFLÖTE'. Astonishingly, however, his 1915 Berlin Opera début was as Bacchus in Richard Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (a role that many heroic tenors find incredibly taxing), sung with 48 hours' notice and only one rehearsal! Tauber became known for his fast learning and musicianship, and was often called upon for such emergencies. He once took over as conductor for a tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the 1920s, he began to specialize in operetta and song, and became best known for those roles and for recitals, recordings, and film work. Lehár wrote the operettas PAGANINI, DER ZAREWITSCH, FRIEDERIKE and THE LAND OF SMILES with him in mind, and in each, made sure to include a showpiece (soon known as the ‘Tauberlied’) for his talents. In 1931, he made his debut in England at the Drury Lane Theater in Lehár's THE LAND OF SMILES, and he remained in England for fear of Nazi persecution (he was of Jewish extraction), becoming a naturalized citizen in 1940. Like most singers, his career was interrupted by the war, but he made his operatic farewell in 1947 as Don Ottavio in Mozart's DON GIOVANNI. Though already seriously ill with the lung cancer that was to kill him the next year, according to critics and documented by air check recordings, it would have been a creditable performance for a singer in the best of health.
Tauber owed much of his fame to his then-prodigious 725 recordings, rivaled only by the recorded output of John McCormack. Tauber's catalog unquestionably displays the most variety, including songs by Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin, arias and duets from Verdi's IL TROVATORE and AĎDA, Offenbach's THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, German lieder, and even the Neapolitan and Irish songs in which Caruso and McCormack were the main exponents. He also appeared in several movies, including a film of Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI, Blossom Time, Heart's Desire, and Forbidden Music. Today, his operetta OLD CHELSEA (which he wrote to celebrate his naturalization as an English citizen) is still sometimes performed.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com