Fritz Wunderlich sings Opera Arias
These extracts, culled from the radio archives, will be manna to the many admirers of Fritz Wunderlich. They derive from the earliest years of the tenor's career. Indeed, the shortest of them, as regards his contribution, finds Wunderlich taking the First Prisoner's tiny solo in the Prisoners' Chorus from Fidelio. He sings it with just the right plaintive note. The voice at that time was somewhat lighter than it was to become in the 1960s. It is the perfect sound for the disarmingly ingenuous melodies of Lortzing, of which there are two delightful examples here, and just about as appropriate for the homesick soldier in Kienzl's forgotten Kuhreigen, whose lovely solo is sung with inner feeling.
That Wunderlich was already a notable Mozartian is shown in the 1959 account of the ''Bildnis'' aria, perhaps sung here with even more freshness and spontaneity than in his later accounts of the same Diece. But the most valuable addition to the wunderlich discography here is the long extract from Cornelius's Der Barbier von Bagdad. His lyrical, lively singing is exactly right for Nureddin and he is partnered here by the richly humorous, characterful Barber of Kurt Boehme. One can easily picture them performing their roles on stage. The Fierabras extract, however, isn't very interesting.
The conducting and playing is of reasonable standard, the sound throughout as natural as any good radio broadcast of the time. There is an informative note by the south German critic Karl Schumann, who must have heard Wunderlich at the start of his—the tenor's—career, but there are no texts or translations; something of a drawback when the material isn't exactly familiar.'