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Vienna Opera Festival 1955 / Böhm, Kubelik, Reiner, Knappertsbusch

Release Date: 11/29/2005 
Label:  Orfeo D'or Catalog #: 666053   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  VariousLudwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus MozartGiuseppe Verdi,   ... 
Performer:  Ludwig WeberAnton DermotaIrmgard SeefriedMartha Mödl,   ... 
Conductor:  Karl BöhmRafael KubelikFritz ReinerHans Knappertsbusch
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 44 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A brilliant and memorable record of the earliest performances to be given in the rebuilt Vienna State Opera in 1955. Karl Böhm, Rafael Kubelik, Fritz Reiner and Hans Knappertsbusch conduct extended excerpts from Fidelio, Don Giovanni, Aida, Die Meistersinger, Wozzeck, Der Rosenkavalier and Die Frau Ohne Schatten.

With an official ceremony on the morning of 5 November 1955 and a new production of Beethoven's opera Fidelio in the evening, the Vienna State Opera celebrated the reopening of its resplendent new house on the Ringstrasse ten years after the building had been reduced to rubble by Allied bombs during the final days of the Second World War. It was a ceremony of tremendous symbolic potency
Read more not just for Vienna and its operagoing public but for the whole of Austria: it too, had risen from the ashes of war, regaining its state sovereignty in May 1955 and bidding farewell to its last remaining occupying soldier only a few days before the opera house reopened its doors.

For the five weeks that the Vienna Opera Festival lasted, there is no doubt that Vienna was the centre of the operatic world. Visitors came from far and wide, but the Viennese too were out in force, even if they were forced to stand (some of them had to queue for three days for standing room) or to remain outside in the street.

In the fifty years since 1955, Vienna's opera lovers have again learnt to love their house, together with its atmosphere and its still wonderful acoustics, and critical impressions have faded in the wake of memories of this inaugural festival. After all,we can listen again to these performances, which were recorded by Austrian Radio and which are now available to opera lovers thanks to the Vienna State Opera Live Edition. All attest to artistic standards and achievements on the part of the Viennese company that continue to astonish us today. All these productions were cast from local singers, with only two visiting conductors - Rafael Kubelfik for Aida and Fritz Reiner for Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - and three visiting directors, although in the case of the latter, Munich's intendant Rudolf Hartmann, the Vienna-born Herbert Graf and the Berlin intendant Heinz Tietjen were all regular and welcome visitors to the Vienna State Opera.

The singers, by contrast were all members of the company. And what casts they were, whether in Don Giovanni or Fidelio, Der Rosenkavalier or "Die Meistersinger" and even Die Frau ohne Schatten, a work that could finally be staged again in Vienna! No other opera house in the world could have offered casts as good as these. Even in Aida which, in keeping with local tradition, was sung in German, a number of the singers, although members of the Vienna ensemble, had performed their roles at the Met.

The dazzling 1955 Vienna Opera Festival that we are now commemorating half a century later not only launched a new era in the history of the house, it also marked the end of a tradition dating back to Mahler's day and perhaps beyond, a tradition coterminous with a golden age when the Vienna Opera had been an ensemble theatre of an altogether unique kind.

Gottfried Kraus (translation: Stewart Spencer)
excerpts from the album liner notes
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Works on This Recording

Fidelio, Op. 72: Excerpt(s) by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ludwig Weber (Bass), Anton Dermota (Tenor), Irmgard Seefried (Soprano),
Martha Mödl (Mezzo Soprano), Paul Schöffler (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805/1814; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/05/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Don Giovanni, K 527: Excerpt(s) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Walter Berry (Bass Baritone), Erich Kunz (Baritone), Sena Jurinac (Soprano),
Lisa Della Casa (Soprano), George London (Bass Baritone), Irmgard Seefried (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 11/06/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Aida: Excerpt(s) by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone), Jean Madeira (Mezzo Soprano), Hans Hopf (Tenor),
Leonie Rysanek (Soprano), Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Excerpt(s) by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Hans Beirer (Tenor), Paul Schöffler (Bass Baritone), Irmgard Seefried (Soprano),
Erich Kunz (Baritone)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/14/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Wozzeck, Op. 7: Excerpt(s) by Alban Berg
Performer:  Christel Goltz (Soprano), Walter Berry (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1922; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/24/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Excerpt(s) by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Sena Jurinac (Soprano), Hilde Gueden (Soprano), Maria Reining (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/16/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op. 65: Excerpt(s) by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Ludwig Weber (Bass), Hans Hopf (Tenor), Leonie Rysanek (Soprano),
Elisabeth Höngen (Mezzo Soprano), Christel Goltz (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914-1918; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/09/1955 
Venue:  Live Vienna State Opera House 

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