Notes and Editorial Reviews
Sony Classical announces a further batch of complete recordings from the CBS/Sony and RCA Victor catalogues. The newest installment of this popular series features some unusual repertoire as well as documents of the New York Metropolitan Opera in its postwar heyday. Columbia’s 1960 recording of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle features American singers. Though it is sung in English, its authentic Hungarian quality is guaranteed by the conductor, Budapest-born Eugene Ormandy. “Rosalind Elias … makes a splendidly passionate Judith. … The Philadelphia Orchestra comes into its own at the opening of the various doors – especially the Second, where the dazzling brilliance of Bluebeard’s treasure-chamber is vividly depicted” (Gramophone).
Who knew that in 1960, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra took a swipe at Bluebeard’s Castle for Columbia, in English no less? Maybe it’s because of the language, or perhaps it’s hearing the work rendered with sizzling vividness by the Fabulous Philadelphians, but this is a performance devoid all of that fuzzy, shadowy, impressionist murk that we’re so used to in this piece. You might be forgiven for thinking that the two excellent soloists, Rosalind Elias and Jerome Hines, were offering the sequel to Cavalleria rusticana–that’s how forthright and passionate this performance is.
This is just tremendous fun. If you know and love this work, you will definitely want to hear this release because, however unidiomatically it may strike you, it is, in its way, a great performance, glamorously recorded.
– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz)