Vienna State Opera Live, Vol.12

Author: 
Alan Blyth

Vienna State Opera Live, Vol.12

  • (Der) Rosenkavalier
  • Tannhäuser
  • (Die) Meistersinger von Nürnberg, '(The) Masters, ~, Jerum! Jerum!
  • (Die) Meistersinger von Nürnberg, '(The) Masters, Selig wie die Sonne (Quintet)
  • Faust
  • Salome
  • (Der) Ring des Nibelungen: Part 2, '(Die) Walküre'
  • Andrea Chénier, ~, La mamma morta
  • Cavalleria rusticana
  • Pagliacci, 'Players', ~, Vesti la giubba

This volume of the Vienna State Opera archive recordings is mainly devoted to three of the most popular singers of the 1930s: Lehmann, Jeritza and Roswaenge. Jeritza is represented as on Vol. 14 (8/95) by her Brunnhilde, here caught in a later performance of Die Walkure in 1933. One is again amazed by the sheer involvement of her portrayal, evinced in strong, steady tone: some vagueness over note values and an excess of emotion are forgiven in such an appealing interpretation. The same comments apply to the bits and pieces of her Salome heard here: it must have been an electrifying impersonation on stage, and we catch some of the excitement in these maddeningly brief extracts. In Cavalleria she and Roswaenge tear a passion to tatters, as can readily be imagined; another performance one would love to have heard, and seen – although Roswaenge is a Teutonic rather than an Italianate Turiddu. The same applies to his Canio, represented here by ''Vesti la giubba'' from an unidentified performance of Pagliacci, and also his 1936 Faust, although ''Salut, demeure'', in German, as is almost everything else here, is nobly sung, the line winningly caressed.
Where Lehmann is concerned, excerpts, all too brief, from a 1936 Der Rosenkavalier catch her well-known assumption of the Marschallin, sung in fresher voice than on the 1930s HMV abridged set (Pearl, 3/90). However, even more significant is the chance to hear Knappertsbusch giving an exhilarating interpretation of the music and to find, for once, three sopranos in the main roles. Indeed, Hadrabova and Schumann in the Presentation of the Rose are nothing short of ideal in poise and blended tone, allowing for the fact that it has to be heard through the customary mush. Lehmann is her usual outgoing, warm-hearted self as Elisabeth and Sieglinde (the only example of her pairing with Volker's exemplary Siegmund), where her expression of terror in Act 2 is harrowingly depicted. But best of all is the 1935 Meistersinger Quintet under Weingartmer, where the radiance and poise of her singing are unsurpassed in a fine ensemble that includes Laholm's Walther and Hofmann's Sachs. A bonus comes in the form of Lehmann's heartfelt ''La mamma morta''.
Of the baritones and basses, Schorr's matchless Wotan, Schipper's appreciable Jokanaan and Alfio, and Hofmann's warm Sachs are welcome – but Mayr sounds well past his best as Landgrave Hermann. An oddity: in the brief extracts from Faust Berglund sings, unconvincingly, in Swedish as Mephisto.'

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