George London is commanding in the title-role, his phrasing eloquent, his characterization complete.
George London is commanding in the title-role, his tone grainy but never dry, his phrasing eloquent, his characterization complete. Despite the recording's modish, early-1960s tendency to place him in the middle distance, London is still able to convey all the necessary weight and passion, save possibly in the later stages of the great Act 2 duet, where Dorati pushes the music forward too impatiently. London's partner here, Leonie Rysanek, might have welcomed this briskness as insurance against uncomfortably lengthy high notes. On the whole, however, her performance has worn better than some early reviewers of the setRead more might have expected—though not AB, who referred to the "extraordinary intensity" of her singing at the time of the first LP reissue (2/72). Rysanek's smoky, full-bodied tone may make her an improbably mature-sounding Senta, but, like London, she is a strong asset in a performance which is distinctly studio-bound at times—most obviously in the lacklustre conclusion to Act I.
The remaining solo singers are generally excellent, too. In an extensive survey of the current recordings of the opera (10/72) Deryck Cooke praised "the intimate tenderness" of Karl Liebl's Erik: but Liebl also conveys Erik's despair without excessive melodrama. Giorgio Tozzi is not the most sonorous or sinister Daland ever heard on disc, but he provides a good foil to the charismatic London. Antal Dorati is to be commended for using the original one-act version of the score (with Wagner's revised endings for the Overture and the final scene), but his decisons about when to broaden out and when to push on suggest that he was a less than natural Wagnerian: and the sound, recessing the solo singers while still losing orchestral detail, show its age. These are not trivial flaws: yet the finely characterized singing of London and Rysanek remains memorable.
-- Gramophone [8/1990]
This set includes a full libretto in English and German. Read less
Works on This Recording
Der fliegende Holländerby Richard Wagner Performer:
George London (Bass Baritone),
Leonie Rysanek (Soprano),
Karl Liebl (Tenor),
Richard Lewis (Tenor),
Giorgio Tozzi (Bass),
Rosalind Elias (Mezzo Soprano)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1841/1852; Germany Date of Recording: 1960 Venue: Walthamstow Town Hall, London Length: 144 Minutes 58 Secs. Language: German