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Great Recordings Of The Century: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Sings Operetta Arias
Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehar, Carl Zeller
Great Recordings Of The Century: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Sings Operetta Arias
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

This most serious and studious of German sopranos has a grand time--with no hint of condescension--in this collection of Viennese operetta arias, treating them with a meticulous musicality they rarely receive. In fact, l...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
This most serious and studious of German sopranos has a grand time--with no hint of condescension--in this collection of Viennese operetta arias, treating them with a meticulous musicality they rarely receive. In fact, lots of this music written by now-obscure names such as Heuberger, Zeller and Millocker isn't heard at all. But these isolated arias are marvelously lyrical and ingratiating with some deliciously comic counterpoint. One highpoint is the Nuns Chorus from Casanova, in which Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's voice soars above her fellow nuns, longing for her lover to rescue her from the cloister. It's some of the most unbuttoned singing of her career. --David Patrick Stearns
 

CD Reviews

Glittering Schwarzkopf
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the most talented and accomplished soprano of her generation, delivers a rich feast of operetta treats on this wonderful album. This recording features arias from seldom-heard or recorded composers (namely Heuberger, Zeller and Millocker), as well as pieces from Lehar and Strauss II. Schwarzkopf was in the prime of her vocal condition here, and easily commands the material.

Schwarzkopf made her name in the Lieder and dramatic operas, but it's marvelous to hear how she sparkles and glitters on this album. Highlights include "Einer wird kommen" (from "Der Zarewitsch"); and "Heut' noch werd' ich Ehefrau" (from "Der Graf von Luxemburg"). There's also a lovely rendering of "Meine Lippen..." (from Lehar's oft-forgotten "Giuditta" score).

This album has been newly-remastered using Abbey Road's Prism SNS Noise-Shaping System, which blends the vocals of Schwarzkopf and the orchestra to create a crisp, clear soundscape, free from analogue distortion and other inherent recording problems. This album was originally recorded at the Kingsway Hall in 1957, but sounds as fresh as a daisy here.

As my fellow reviewer - Rudy Avila - has keenly noted, this album has a perfect companion in Schwarzkopf's disc Strauss: Four Last Songs/12 Orchestral Songs.

[EMI Classics 7243 5 67004 2 0]"
Perhaps the most magical of Schwarzkopf's many recordings
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 12/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Every reviewer has sung the glories of this one-off operetta recital that Schwarzkopf executed to perfection in the summer of 1957. She was to have triumphs just as great in Rosenkavalier, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, and Nozze di Figaro around the same time, but this recording holds a special place for its enduring smile. It hasn't been out of print -- or reduced in price -- for 52 years. I think only Callas's solo recitals can boast the same. All the more miraculous is that Schwarzkopf didn't sing this repertoire except for the microphone. Her legendary Merry Widow, for example, both the mono and stereo versions, are immensely theatrical even though Hanna was never a role she undertook on stage, either. (Callas can claim the same in Carmen.)

I must confess that I have never been able to listen to this CD without tears in my eyes and a shiver up my spine. I wonder at the transformative power of music, since Schwarzkopf emrged from the war as an iron-willed, totally disciplined artist with dubious political standing, yet within the span of a few years she became the lustrous, knowing, vivacious singer we hear on countless recordings. Enough. To hear this CD for the first time is an experiene I wish I could repeat again, forty years later.

P.S. - If you own an earlier CD incarnation and wonder if EMI's latest remastering has removed all the obvious microphone distortions from the original, the answer, sadly, is no. But things are improved, certainly."