Notes and Editorial Reviews
This title contains an abridged version of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1762 landmark opera “Orfeo ed Euridice,” which was highly influential in the development of German opera, as well as five selections from Alceste, conducted by Fritz Stiedry and Geraint Jones respectively. A legendary recording of these works with spectacular performances by two of the twentieth century’s greatest voices, Kathleen Ferrier and Kirsten Flagstad.
Orfeo: “Stiedry’s approach… now seems to accord with modern ideas of how to treat Gluck, not marmoreally as was then the general custom but as live drama. In consequence Ferrier’s “Che farò?” here sounds to today’s ears much more plausible than the famous, more leisurely (later version).” (Gramophone)
“Darkly intense reading… Ferrier emerges in full expressiveness…” (Penguin Guide)
Alceste “speaks up powerfully for the Italian version… with a good deal of fire and spirit… But of course the real point of this recording is the assumption of the title-role by Kirsten Flagstad… It is a monumental performance in its way, with some spells of wonderfully free-flowing, open tone, and a passionate involvement… There are grand, noble things, of course, which any lover of her singing will want to hear, and it is a performance such as only a great singer could produce.” (Gramophone)