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J. Strauss, Jr.: Die Fledermaus / Karajan, Gueden, Kmentt, Resnik

Strauss,J. / Gueden / Kmentt / Vienna Philharmonic
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Musical Concepts   Catalog #: 2018   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.Franz LehárLouis FerrariFrederick Loewe,   ... 
Performer:  Waldemar KmenttErika KöthWalter BerryErich Kunz,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The blurb on the front cover of the booklet for this CD announces ‘Legendary recordings’ This hyperbole is a slight exaggeration in this instance. What we have is Johann Strauss’s fabulously generous melodic score performed vivaciously by the Vienna Philharmonic under Karajan and a strong cast – and, ah!, those guest artists!
 
The problem lies with some of the singers – particularly with Erika Köth’s Adele whose wavering vibrato spoils her Act II coloratura aria, ‘Mein Herr Marquis’. Hilde Gueden is a honey-voiced Rosalinde, proudly proclaiming her affection for her homeland in ‘Klange der Heimat’; and saucily provocative in her ‘Dieser Anstand, so mannierlich’ duet with Kmentt (Eisenstein) who might have been a
Read more more convincing philanderer. Regina Resnik, in the trouser role of Prince Orlofsky, convinces as the tipsy host tempting her guests to enjoy her party to the full. Zampieri’s Alfred disappoints.
 
The gala sequence in Act II is worth describing in full:-
Renata Tebaldi: sings ‘Vilja-Lied’ from The Merry Widow (Lehár)
Fernando Corena’s ‘Domino’ (Ferari) is delivered with typical Parisian sophistication and insouciance with glittering piano and accordion accompaniment
Birgit Nilsson, at the peak of her form , sings, dizzily, ecstatically, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ from My Fair Lady (Lerner and Lowe) - a far cry from her Brünnhilde
Mario del Monaco: sings ‘Passione’ (Valente) - such ringing ardour
Teresa Berganza’s pure tones sweetly lull in Lavilla’s ‘Lullaby’.
Joan Sutherland, in her prime, scales the heights of ‘Il Bacio’ (Arditi) with aplomb.
Jussi Björling’s ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’ from The Land of Smiles (Lehár) rings with fervour and passion.
Leontyne Price sings another lullaby - ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess (Gershwin) – with sultry languor.
Giulietta Simionato and Ettore Bastianini singing ‘Anything You Can Do’ from Annie Get Your Gun (Irving Berlin) are raspingly argumentative, but their English pronunciation?
Ljuba Welitsch rounds off the guests’ contributions with her glowing tribute to the charms of Vienna, ‘Wien, wien nur du allein’ (Sieczynski)
 
Readers should be aware that the original Decca recording is still available.
 
A glittering Fledermaus but with one or two flaws.
 
-- Ian Lace, MusicWeb International

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Legendary recording of Strauss II's opera, featuring some of the greatest opera stars of the mid-twentieth century. In addition to the opera itself - which features Hilde Gueden, Regina Resnik, Waldemar Kmentt, Erberhard Waechter, Walter Berry, and Erich Kunz - the Gala Scene includes appearances by Renata Tebaldi, Mario Del Monaco, Joan Sutherland, and Leontyne Price. Von Karajan is at the peak of his mastery of the conductor's podium.

“The performance has all the sparkle one could ask for. If anything Karajan is even more brilliant than before and the Decca recording scintillating. Hilde Gueden is a deliciously vivacious Rosalinde, a beautifully projected interpretation. The Karajan ‘gala performance’ featured Decca stars appearing in their turn at the cabaret - in the Orlovsky Ball sequence. This was a famous tradition of performances at the New York Met in the early years of the 20th Century.” -- Penguin Guide

“I predicted… that this 27-year-old Karajan version would present strong competition when it appeared on CD, and so it proves. …It represents the high watermark of the Culshaw concept of production and indeed of the Golden Age of recording in Vienna. Today it is impossible to assemble a cast almost exclusively chosen from the ensemble of a single opera house under a conductor who has worked with them over many years. That is what happens here, and the unanimity of purpose and of idiom is all the more marked by comparison with the more polyglot casts on the rival sets.” -- Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

1. Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr.
Performer:  Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor), Erika Köth (Soprano), Walter Berry (Bass Baritone),
Erich Kunz (Baritone), Eberhard Wächter (Baritone), Regina Resnik (Mezzo Soprano),
Martin Klein (Tenor), Giuseppe Zampieri (Tenor), Erika Schubert (Mezzo Soprano),
Fernando Corena (Bass), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Renata Tebaldi (Soprano),
Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Mario Del Monaco (Tenor), Teresa Berganza (Mezzo Soprano),
Jussi Björling (Tenor), Leontyne Price (Soprano), Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano),
Ettore Bastianini (Baritone), Ljuba Welitsch (Soprano), Hilde Gueden (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1960 
Venue:  Sofiensaal, Vienna 
Length: 143 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: German 
2. Die lustige Witwe: Es lebt eine Vilja...Vilja, o Vilja by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Renata Tebaldi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Vienna, Austria 
3. Domino by Louis Ferrari
Performer:  Fernando Corena (Bass)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1951 
4. My Fair Lady: I could have danced all night by Frederick Loewe
Performer:  Birgit Nilsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
5. Lullaby by Felix Lavilla
Performer:  Teresa Berganza (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
6. Passione by Vincenzo Alente
Performer:  Mario Del Monaco (Tenor)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
7. Il bacio by Luigi Arditi
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Italy 
8. Das Land des Lächelns: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Jussi Björling (Tenor)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 
9. Porgy and Bess: Summertime by George Gershwin
Performer:  Leontyne Price (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
10. Annie Get Your Gun: Anything You Can Do by Irving Berlin
Performer:  Giulietta Simionato (Mezzo Soprano), Ettore Bastianini (Baritone)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 

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