Every opera diva who thinks something of herself has a secret love – operetta. And this is completely justified, when one thinks of and listens to the immortal melodies of Johann Strauss, Karl Millöcker or Franz Lehár. And is not Dubarry the younger sister of Violetta from La Traviata, and Rosalinde from the Fledermaus the reincarnation of Mozart’s Countess Almaviva? They love, they suffer and they sing and dance through the great dreams of their audience, often with a substantial shot of irony added to the words and notes. And thus opera and operetta are two sides of the coin called life – the comic and tragic variants of human existence.
All these roles, selected with care, are included in the current repertoire of Noëmi Nadelmann. She has at her disposal all the attributes of a modern singer. Cosmopolitan simply by virtue of her half Russian ancestry, she was born in Switzerland, studied in America at Indiana University in Bloomington, where she allowed herself to become infected with the freedom to leave behind the boundary between serious and light music, between high art and that which the Americans so appropriately call entertainment, and simply to love and to present good music and powerful stage roles. Her biography reads like an oscillation between two poles: in Munich, she sang first at the Gärtnerplatz and later at the State Opera, in Berlin she has sung at all three opera houses, Hamburg, Cologne, Venice, Vienna, the Met, Paris, Chicago, Tokyo – she is in demand all over the world.
Her encounter with Harry Kupfer was determinative. He observed her carefully before he chose her as “his” Violetta, to conclusively win over the Berlin public. Inspirational success has come and continues to come from her collaborations with conductors such as Yakov Kreizberg, Gustav Kuhn, Christian Thielemann, Kurt Masur, Simone Young, René Jacobs, Nicolaus Harnoncourt and many others to whose hands she has trusted herself. Her repertoire is continuously being extended into the lyrical domain, and reaches from enchantresses from Handel´s operas such as Armida (Rinaldo) and the title role from Alcina, through Mozart’s Donna Anna and the Countess, to Lucia di Lammermoor and La Traviata. She always has many concerts and liederabends in her schedule as well – here also, in the broad palette from Schubert to Richard Strauss and Gershwin, whose wonderful songs she brought to CD in 1997.
After an aria CD under the direction of Gustav Kuhn and a recording with lieder by Franz Schreker, she has now turned her attention to operetta: the selection in this CD brings back the golden age of this genre. The two great phases of Vienna operetta – first Strauss, Zeller and Millöcker, then the somewhat later Kálmán, Lehár and Heuberger – also bring to expression with their glowing melodies and arrangements sides of life that we sometimes forget – passion, yearning, and an unbridled lust for life. From this point of view, we need operetta and its wonderful female characters more than ever – where else can one nowadays describe love as “Heaven on Earth” without being suspected of kitsch?