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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Böhm's Daphne recording, made at a festival performance in Vienna in 1964, is another Strauss classic and here, in the opera dedicated to him and of which he conducted the first performance in 1938, he is peerless. The EMI/Haitink of a few years ago (nla) came nowhere near it, even though Böhm makes some irritating cuts. Yes, there are the inaccuracies inseparable from live recording, balance is not as it would be (or should be) in the studio, and there are stage noises, but what a performance, that's what counts, and it sounds much better on CD than on the LPs many of us have treasured for years.
This is Strauss's most lyrical opera and occupies a special place in the affections of his admirers. 13Ohm's unfolding of
the marvellous orchestral score, from that first oboe melody to its final metamorphosis, is the work of a master-interpreter—one has only to hear his majestic phrasing of the cellos' Peneios melody (full score, page 90) to recognize that. Hilde Gueden's Daphne is a lovely performance, sung with an engaging innocence, as befits this mysterious heroine, but also with the soaring richness that the part requires in its most dramatic passages, such as the duet with Apollo, sung by James King with power and conviction. He has never possessed a voice notable for its tonal beauty, but he is really rather impressive here.
For tonal beauty, however, there is Wunderlich as Leukippos, making something exceptionally expressive out of every phrase. Schafler's Peneois must have been better a few years earlier, but it has a noble dignity one would be hard-pressed to equal today, and Vera Little copes well with all but the lowest notes of the Erda-like part of Gaea.
-- Gramophone [10/1988]
review of DG 423 5792
Works on This Recording
Daphne, Op. 82 by Richard Strauss
Harald Pröglhöf (Bass),
Hilde Gueden (Soprano),
Ludwig Welter (Bass),
Rita Streich (Soprano),
Kurt Equiluz (Tenor),
Hans Braun (Bass),
Fritz Wunderlich (Tenor),
Paul Schöffler (Baritone),
Vera Little (Alto),
Erika Mechera (Soprano),
James King (Tenor)
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1936-1937; Germany
Date of Recording: 1964
Venue: Live Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Length: 94 Minutes 21 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Underappreciated opera December 18, 2012
By Weston Williams (Chicago, IL) See All My Reviews
"Daphne is a small-scale opera, dedicated to Bohm by Strauss himself. The opera feels almost like a chamber opera, with none of the dark violence of Strauss' earlier pieces, and little of the light humor that went into his later works. As such, Daphne has been met with little respect from the general public. However, this recording shows that there is much more to Daphne; there is drama, humor, and of course, Strauss' fantastic music. The recording itself is live, and subject to the usual bumping around of the singers onstage and the rustling audience, but the performance is great and overall acoustically excellent. This recording is heartily recommended."
A romantic gem April 14, 2012
By r. corrado (virginia beach, VA) See All My Reviews
" Music sublime!!! Vienna Sym. in top shape under Bohm.Singers all in their prime.This is Strauss at his romantic best.I loved it,not knowing this music at all. So different from my collection of my other Strauss operas. Very glad I bought it. R. Corrado "
Incredibly beautiful opera & interpretation! April 7, 2012
By Allan Pearson (Santa Fe, NM) See All My Reviews
"This opera is one of my all-time favorite music dramas by Richard Strauss, an opera far too neglected by opera companies these days. I discovered the work at the Santa Fe Opera over several seasons and attended it live also in Munich.
The cast on this recording is absolutely definitive. Fritz Wunderlich, whom I heard live while a student in Munich the year before he died, James King, Gueden as Daphne all conducted by Boehm! It doesn't get any better than this!"