Lisa Della Casa's Capriccio 1953

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Lisa Della Casa's Capriccio 1953

How did this radio broadcast, released on CD and conducted by a Dutch name I don't know (Johannes den Hertog) escape the notice of the scrupulous Gramophone reviewers? Or anyone for that matter? Della Casa is in radiant voice, fresher than the Georges Petre on Orfeo.....Hertog may not be one of the great Strauss conductors but he leads a fine performance....what gives?

David D. Jones

Lisa Della Casa / Capriccio.

I'm sure Della Casa's performance in this old(er) recording is as good as it gets and her voice obviously "fresher" than the one decade later of the live recording from Vienna, on Orfeo. However, the one on Orfeo has a strong cast (R. Kerns, W. Berry, C. Ludwig, F. Wunderlich, L. Popp), a great Orchestra (Wiener Staatsoper) and a reliable, seasoned in Opera, conductor (G. Pretre). The recording on Orfeo is from the more reliable sources of Vienna Opera and better served from a strong and professional label. Still the recording might not be as good as one might expect it, but it can pass...even for hi-fi listeners.

The 1953 recording comes from a dubious live recording on obscure labels such as Ponto or Line. Although the result might be more than acceptable to many loyal listeners of Opera, I believe the Orfeo set is better and a more round, complete and fine presentation of the Opera, including Lisa Della Casa's performance, even if she is less radiant or fresh than one decade earlier.

However, thanks for pointing out a recording that may be to the interest of Opera lovers and particularly to those who can appreciate the great Art of Lisa Della Casa in Richard Strauss.

Parla

Counterpoint

I'm loathe to disagree with you on several points: Orfeo's cast is starrier (Popp and Wunderlich as the Italian pair!) but from an engineering point of view, I'm not sure it can be said that Orfeo has brought the voices out of the mono fog they live in. I think plenty of orchestral detail is obscured too, detail that must be clearly heard in order to avoid monotony in such a talky opera. Then again, Capriccio hasn't ever been for the masses and if you're not willing to do a bit of homework before listening, it's not really the opera for you.

David D. Jones

Harmony.

Counterarguments are always welcome as long as they tend to reach a high degree of the truth.

I do not wish to disagree with you at least as for the "engineering point of view" of the actual product of Orfeo. Actually, I did not claim Orfeo's final product is good enough. As many (if not most of the) recordings of the mono archives that the esteemed label brought back to life through their products are welcome and accepted as some good treasures of memorable or valuable live performances.

If the studio recording of 1953 (I presume mono as well) provides all the orchestral details needed for this "talky" Opera, fine, but I do not trust labels like Ponto etc., although, sometimes (rarely myself) Opera lovers have to resort to them.

As a hi-end listener, in any case, I go, whenever this talky Opera has to be listened, either to the Decca 1993 very fine recording with Kiri Te Kanawa, a fine cast and the Vienna P.O. or the quite interesting recording on Forlane, with F. Lott and Th. Allen under G. Pretre (again).

Anyway, although I am not the Opera man (let alone lover) anymore, I have done my homework, when necessary, and, perhaps, Capriccio is not the work I would die for.

Parla

I've been misunderstood

As is the way with text replies, inflections in tone can't be caught. My reply sounded like an ad hominem attack; I PROFUSELY apologize for this and for my lack of clarity. I meant "you" in the general sense, not you specifically when I said you'd have to do homework to enjoy Capriccio. I sympathize and largely agree with your unwillingness to devote time or money to obscure labels. In any case, I bought the Orfeo "Capriccio" because Amazon had it on sale. Popp and Wunderlich make the most wonderful pair of Italian Singers I've heard. I've got three "official" recordings and and I've heard crystal clear broadcasts of Capriccio with singers like Lott (thankfully, earlier than the official recording) and Fleming. I value your opinion. Thanks for the reply.

David D. Jones

P.S.

I should note that I've heard the word "talky" used to describe Capriccio from great musicologists and analysts of Strauss from Scott to del Mar.

David D. Jones

Well accepted.

Thanks a lot for your two consecutive reply posts, which are well understood and more than welcome. Your opinion is quite valuable based on an apparent profound homework on an Opera that you obviously love more than enough.

The term "talky" is fine and to the point, although a kind of oxymoron, since Opera is a work of art where the "actors" sing instead of "talking". However, based on the form of this particular work, it is spot on.

Parla

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