Notes and Editorial Reviews
Contains translated libretto and plot synopsis booklet.
Georg Solti, cond; Lisa Della Casa (
); Otto Edelmann (
); Ira Malaniuk (
); Hilde Gueden (
); George London
); Anton Dermota (
); Vienna PO
DECCA 000710502 (2 CDs: 144:30
This recording is a marvel! It was made back in 1957, right before Solti’s Wagner Ring cycle project. Being in the Decca catalog for many years, it has long since become a legendary recording. Although the sound is dated, it still stands as one of the very best. John Culshaw was Decca’s visionary young producer who not only worked on Solti’s Wagner studio recordings, but also on many others among which was this wonderful
was the last collaboration between the composer and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, librettist of Strauss’s most successful operas. Strauss had left the path of modernism he followed earlier with
in order to find a more lyrical, realistic (and less successful) style.
The cast is the real highlight here; Lisa Della Casa was a phenomenal Mozart and Strauss interpreter, ranking among the finest singers of her time. She performed and recorded the role of Arabella frequently, each time with great success. Here, she’s in the prime of her career; fresh and perceptive—without any unnecessary exaggerations. Otto Edelman is simply terrific as Graf Waldner, as is George London as Mandryka, the mistrustful, rich stranger. Both Hilde Gueden as Zdenka (Arabella’s sister) and Ira Malaniuk as Adelaide (their mother) sound very fresh, singing with astounding virtuosity.
Conductor and orchestra are in great shape, too. Georg Solti obviously feels comfortable with Strauss’s orchestration, and he leads the Vienna Philharmonic with fire and insight. His ever-forward pushing approach to the music works particularly well—bringing great passion and excitement. As always with Strauss, the score is tricky for both singers and orchestra; but isn’t that what we have the Vienna Philharmonic for? It produces a gorgeous sound with full basses and warm strings. However, this was recorded from the early days of stereo. At times, the woodwinds sound somewhat squeezed and the brass a bit harsh. Fortunately, the engineers provided us with a first-rate, 24-bit re-mastering.
There are not so many recordings of
available on the market, but a performance that I still cherish personally is Joseph Keilberth’s live, stereo recording on DG. It was recently re-released at budget price, and you get Della Casa and Fischer-Dieskau in a similarly terrific performance. I find it has a bit more spontaneity and wit.
Given the fact that this performance has been so wonderfully re-mastered and re-released at budget price, with synopsis and libretto, it’s a real bargain.
FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe
Works on This Recording
Arabella, Op. 79 by Richard Strauss
Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor),
Hilde Gueden (Soprano),
Eberhard Wächter (Baritone),
Wilhelm Lenninger (Spoken Vocals),
Lisa Della Casa (Soprano),
Judith Hellwig (Soprano),
Mimi Coertse (Soprano),
Harald Pröglhöf (Bass),
Fritz Sengl (Spoken Vocals),
Otto Vajda (Spoken Vocals),
Karl Kolowratnik (Spoken Vocals),
Anton Dermota (Tenor),
Ira Malaniuk (Mezzo Soprano),
Otto Edelmann (Baritone),
George London (Bass Baritone)
Sir Georg Solti
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1929-1932; Germany
Date of Recording: 1957
Venue: Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria
Length: 144 Minutes 30 Secs.
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