Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an exciting live performance of this opera, recorded in Salzburg in 1969 when all of the principals were in their primes. Karl Böhm leads a sometimes manic reading that nonetheless can be reflective when needed. Unfortunately, the mania occasionally leads to the singers' flying off key and sounding desperate, as in "O namenlose freude". As you might expect, the chorus and orchestra perform superbly, and despite the bad decision to play the Leonore overture No. 3 before the final scene, it's good to hear it done with such excitement.
Christa Ludwig was a great Leonore, and she lives up to her reputation. She sings sharp every so often but that hardly mars an excellent, committed performance. James King is
in ringing voice as Florestan and his vocal security makes up for a lack of insight. Franz Crass is a rich, dark-sounding Rocco, Ingvar Wixell gets through Pizarro's music with real bite (if just a little strain and off-key hollering), and Hans Hotter's Don Fernando is authoritative if wobbly-sounding. Edith Mathis and Donald Grobe round off the cast nicely as the youngsters. This may not be a first-choice Fidelio, but it's a terrific bargain and a sparkling representation of Beethoven's great masterwork. The sound is acceptable-to-good.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Fidelio, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
James King (Tenor),
Edith Mathis (Soprano),
Hans Hotter (Baritone),
Franz Crass (Bass Baritone),
Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano),
Ingvar Wixell (Baritone),
Donald Grobe (Tenor),
Curt Malm (Tenor),
Klaus Hirte (Baritone)
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1804/1814; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1969
Venue: Live Salzburg, Austria
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (1804).
Composition revised: Vienna, Austria (1806).
Composition revised: Vienna, Austria (1814).
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