Titled ‘Great Singers Live’ this series of CDs showcases an international cast who appeared as guests at the Munich Sunday Concerts and is proving a great success. The brainchild of Alfred Schröter head of light classics at Bavarian Broadcasting these live radio concerts began in 1952 using the Munich Radio Orchestra. This particular collection, sung by baritone Hermann Prey, consists of previously unreleased material.
A lyric baritone, Hermann Prey (1929-1998) was born and studied in Berlin. As a young man he lived through the Russian assault on Berlin in 1945 part of the time hiding with his family in a cellar with only tinned food to eat. PreyRead more is probably best known for his light comic roles in opera and in the lieder recitals that launched his career in 1959. I generally associate Prey with Figaro, the Barber of Seville in the Rossini opera and in Mozart operas, Figaro, Guglielmo and especially Papageno the ridiculous feather-suited bird-catcher in The Magic Flute. In lieder Prey enjoyed programmes of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mahler and Richard Strauss also championing the German art-songs of Carl Loewe. Prey sang at Bayreuth making his debut in 1965 as Wolfram. In 1981 he was there again as Beckmesser. He died suddenly in Munich the city that he had made his home aged 69 having sung at the Prince Regent Theatre only four days before.
For this BR Klassik release Prey demonstrates his versatility with a selection of songs that range from Bach to Verdi, from Mozart to Berlin and from Lieder to Broadway musicals. There is nothing progressive or difficult in the programme which probably reflects Prey as a sensitive singer who loved melody and traditional classical and romantic music. The opening song
Ein Madchen oder Weibchen wunscht Papageno sich! (A girl or a little wife wishes Papageno) is from
The Magic Flute. Immediately Prey’s golden baritone is evident together with his expressive powers and impressive diction. From
The Barber of Seville Prey’s Figaro’s cavatina
Largo al factotum della città (Make way for the factotum of the city), a staple of the repertoire, is exciting and, given its difficulty, extremely well controlled. Valentin’s wonderful cavatina
Avant de quitter ces lieu (Before leaving this place) from Gounod’s
Faust is full of melody and is sung with real assurance. Toni’s prologue the popular
Si puo? Si puo? Signore! Signori! (May I? May I? Ladies! Gentlemen!) from Leoncavallo’s
Pagliacci is dramatic and masterly.
Prey is accompanied in
An die ferne Geliebte by Munich-born accompanist Wolfgang Sawallisch; far better known as a conductor. I enjoyed Prey’s interpretation and he sounds wonderfully at home despite the cycle’s contrasting demands. Especially enjoyable is Prey’s poignant
Auf dem Hügel sitz ich spähend (Sit on the Hill, Gazing) and the rapt sense of joy he delivers in
Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au (May returns, the meadow’s in Flower).
It is fascinating to hear Prey sing something different. The final track ‘They say that falling in love is wonderful’ from Irving Berlin’s musical
Annie Get Your Gun is certainly that. As I expected, Prey sings well but he doesn’t feel particularly at home as Frank the star of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. It all seems rather too buttoned-up.
The Munich Radio Orchestra, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in the 2011/12 season, provides wholehearted support. They play with total assurance.
The sound quality delivered by Bavarian Broadcasting from the various Munich venues is first class. Sadly the omission of the sung texts has reduced the value of the series.
This BR Klassik ‘Great Singers Live’ series often introduces us to remarkable performances from a host of distinguished singers. Prey is in outstanding voice. This is a disc that I will often return to.
-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International Read less
La traviata: Di Provenza il marby Giuseppe Verdi Performer:
Hermann Prey ()
Period: Romantic Written: 1853; Italy Date of Recording: 12/01/1966 Venue: Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs.
Faust: Avant de quitter ces lieuxby Charles Gounod Performer:
Hermann Prey ()
Period: Romantic Written: 1859; France Date of Recording: 09/01/1972 Venue: Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs.
I Pagliacci: Sì può? [Prologue]by Ruggero Leoncavallo Performer:
Hermann Prey ()
Period: Romantic Written: 1892; Italy Date of Recording: 01/16/1977 Venue: Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs.
Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo, K 584by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Hermann Prey ()
Period: Classical Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 12/01/1966 Venue: Kongreßsaal des Deutschen Museums, Münch Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs.
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Wolfgang Sawallisch (Piano),
Hermann Prey ()
Period: Classical Written: 1815-1816; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 01/10/1988 Venue: Prinzregententheater, München Length: 14 Minutes 42 Secs.
Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), K. 620: Act II: Arie: Ein Madchen oder Weibchen wunscht Papageno sich!
Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492: Act IV: Recitative and Aria: Tutto e disposto ... Aprite un po' quegli occhi
Cosi fan tutte, K. 588: Act I: Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo
Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) *: Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), Act I: Cavatina: Largo al factotum della citta
Der Wildschutz: Act III: Recitative and Aria: Wie freundlich strahlt die helle Morgensonne
La traviata*: La traviata, Act II: Di Provenza il mar
Un ballo in maschera*: Un ballo in maschera, Act III: Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima
Faust: Act I: Cavatina: Avant de quitter ces lieux
Pagliacci: Act I: Prologue: Si puo? Si puo?
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: Part I: Grosser Herr, o starker Konig
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 1. Auf dem Hugel sitz' ich, spahend
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 2. Wo die Berge so blau
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 3. Leichte Segler in den Hohen
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 4. Diese Wolken in den Hohen
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 5. Es kehret der Maien
An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98: No. 6. Nimm sie hin denn diese Lieder
Annie Get your Gun: They Say It's Wonderful
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
lirico spintoJune 16, 2012By roland d. (staten island, NY)See All My Reviews"Prey was a lyric baritone whose lieder was exemplary and the antithesis of Fischer-Dieskau's almost-pedagogic approach to Schubert and company. Both baritone's were less than convincing in Italian opera, since they did not have the vocal weight to make Verdian fortes what they are supposed to be. Like Hampson and Hvorosotovsky nowadays, both essentially lyric baritones when they started out, who now, in their maturity, still have to 'push' where Milnes, Merrill, McNeill, Ruffo, and Stracciari didn't. Prey is good in Mozart. In Verdi, Gounod, and Rossini he takes his voice where it does not go naturally. Of course, this is subjective. In lieder I never tire of listening to Prey. In the great Italian baritone roles he is somewhat wanting, at least on records. How many Papagenos can sing Renato and Scarpia? "Report Abuse
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