Notes and Editorial Reviews
ERIKA KÖTH—ARIEN UND SZENEN
Erika Köth (sop); Wilhelm Schüchter, cond; Arthur Grüber, cond;
Hermann Prey (bar);
Richard Holm (ten);
Erna Berger (sop);
Rudolf Schock (ten);
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bar);
class="ARIAL12"> Grosses Op O;
Berlin St Op O & Ch
Die Hochzeit des Figaro:
Ich weiss nicht. Sagt, holden Frauen.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail:
Welcher Kummer herrscht in meine Seele. Ach, ich liebte, war so glücklich. Martern aller Arten.
O zittre nicht. Der Hölle Rache.
Der Barbier von Sevilla:
Frag ich mein beklommnes herz. Also ich, glaubst du es wirklich? Ist er’s wirklich?
Walzer der Musette. Lebt wohl denn.
Erika Köth was the leading German coloratura soprano in the era after World War II. She sang principally at the Munich State Opera and the Vienna State Opera. She appeared internationally in Rome, Florence, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She also toured Russia, and was heard at the Bayreuth Festival in the role of Waldvogel in
Köth’s voice is too light for Cherubino’s arias on the first two bands on this disc. Even though her style is correct, the fact that she sings both arias in German is unfortunate. The brightness of her voice and her affinity for Mozart is well represented in the three arias from
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
. They reveal her ability to sing with brilliant fioritura. The Queen of the Night from
was one of her best roles. She simply sails through the music of both arias.
She sings Rosina’s aria from
Il barbiere di Siviglia
in German, with some interpolated extremely high notes in the final section. The tempo of the duet with the fine baritone Hermann Prey is very fast. They are joined by the tenor Richard Holm in the trio from the last act. Both duet and trio are also sung in German.
The “Caro nome” from
is sung in German, and it is the only selection on this disc conducted by Arthur Grüber. She sings a good
messa di voce
at the conclusion of the aria and then goes on to sing the reprise with a concluding high note, not the trill on a lower note that Verdi wrote.
Unfortunately, the booklet does not list all of the singers in the second act scene from
in which Köth sings Musetta’s waltz, again in German. However, in the finale from act III, she sings with Erna Berger as Mimi, Rudolf Schock as Rodolfo, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as Marcello, who were also in the second act recording.
The booklet lists the bands and the timings, and contains a biographical essay about Erika Köth in both English and German. The sound is excellent, considering these recordings date from 1953–1956. Schüchter conducts with generally fast tempos, which help to exhibit Köth’s
, that is, her ability to be fluent and accurate in the rapid singing of ornaments and all kinds of grace notes. Although I usually prefer opera in its original language, good singers can be worthwhile even when they sing in the wrong language. Köth is recommendable to anyone who admires coloratura sopranos.
FANFARE: Bob Rose
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