Strauss II: Ritter Pásmán
When the court opera director Wilhelm Jahn commissioned Johann
Strauss Jr to write a ‘genuine’ opera, the Waltz King readily accepted.
The result was Ritter Pásmán, his only stage work to step into the more
exclusive genre of opera, even though the plot is reminiscent of the
world of operetta. Based on the narrative poem Pázmán lovag by the
Hungarian writer János Aranyi (1817–1882), it deals with jealousy and
reciprocity. The comic opera’s premiere at the Vienna Court Opera on
New Year’s Day 1892 was a major society event, but its artistic success
lagged somewhat behind; the reviewers of the premiere gave it a cool
reception, even though they hailed the ballet music at the beginning of
Act III as an absolute masterpiece. (It’s worth noting that this was the first
time a cimbalom had been used in the court opera orchestra).
This is a live recording of a performance at the Vienna Musikverein on 27
October 1975, with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra directed
by Heinz Wallberg. The cast of singers includes Eberhard Waechter (Ritter
Pásmán), Sona Ghazarian (Queen), Josef Hopfwieser (Hungarian King)
and Truedeliese Schmidt (Eva). The recording includes the complete
ballet music as bonus tracks, performed by the Slovac State Philharmonic
Orchestra under the baton of Alfred Walter.