Notes and Editorial Reviews
Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love) dates from 1836; the premiere was a catastrophe and the second performance was canceled when only three people showed up and some of the cast began punching one other. Wagner based this comedy on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, borrowing from Italian and French operatic models: Auber, Rossini, Bellini (and a bit of the German Weber). There are set pieces and lots of melodies, although none of them are particularly memorable and Wagner seems incapable of drawing a melody to its conclusion. The competing recording to this one (on Orfeo, from Munich, live in 1995 under Wolfgang Sawallisch) is a half hour longer than what we have here, and it also contains some cuts. I doubt anyone will miss any of the
internal cuts or cuts in recitative; an entire trio from the second act is gone, however, and that's too bad. And by the way, listen carefully and you can hear moments later made famous in Tannhäuser.
Nonetheless, if you must own a recording of this mish-mash, it is this one. The sound is clearer than the Sawallisch despite its age (it ws taped in Vienna in 1962), the ensemble work is more accurate (it was probably a concert performance, rather than a staged one, as Sawallisch's is), and Robert Hager leads a perky performance that brings out the carnival atmosphere so important in this "light" work. The Radio Austria forces play as if they're excited about discovering the work, and their precision is admirable.
Anton Dermota, a well-respected Ottavio and Florestan, sounds stunning as Claudio, and Hilde Zadek as Isabella has an edgy soprano that is nonetheless expressive. Heinz Imdahl, as Friedrich (the German Regent of Sicily, where the opera takes place), who puts the ban on love and drink but later falls for Isabella, is ideal as the conflicted, comic villain. This set is a bargain and will complete your picture of Wagner, even if his visage was unformed and very strange so early in his career.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Das Liebesverbot by Richard Wagner
Heinz Imdahl (Bass Baritone),
Willy Friedrich (Tenor),
Kurt Equiluz (Tenor),
Anton Dermota (Tenor),
Christiane Sorell (Soprano),
Ludwig Welter (Bass),
Hilde Zadek (Soprano)
Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Austrian Radio Chorus
Written: 1836; Germany
Date of Recording: 1962
Venue: Live Vienna, Austria
Length: 123 Minutes 51 Secs.
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