Beverly Sills Index Page

Music of Victor Herbert Recording Review

Opera News, February 21, 1976, p. 32 by John W. Freeman

victor Herbert, who once played cello in the Met orchestra, collaborated with the leading opera and operetta singers of his day, but in modern times he has not exactly been overrepresented either onstage or on records. Angel’s is a pretty good Beverly Sills record, but as Victor Herbert it does no one any favors. There is no point in being too much of a purist about light theater music: transpositions, arrangements and the like are the name of that particular game.

Still, there is certain classicism to Herbert’s musical concepts, and you’d never know it from most of the mushy, overblown salon arrangements used here. These are uncredited, perhaps out of deference to the arranger’s wish to survive, but they lie firmly within the tradition of Robert Stolz-who added harp glissandos to the Fledermaus overture-and Douglas Gamley, who poured corn syrup all over several Joan Sutherland records. Pops-concert programming is followed here, with orchestral medleys in the middle of each side of songs.

Miss Sills is represented in her best current vocal estate, managing all the spurious runs and interpolations with peppy eclat, sentiment and humor. But it will take a long time to get all that Telephone Hour jangling out of your ears, and the whole enterprise gives a ring of ghastly verisimilitude to Anna Russell’s Prince of Philadelphia parody.