Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Lehar, Lovro von Matacic, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf|
Lehár - The Merry Widow / Schwarzkopf, Wächter, Steffek, Gedda, Knapp, von Matacic
Listen to Samples
L. Mitnick | 02/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While this is a good performance of this enjoyable opera, buyers should beware. The performance clocks in at less than eighty minutes which means it could have been stuck on a single disc--...Moreover, two numbers (and a few other snippets) from the complete opera are cut ...BTW, the Decca version is superior. The performance is as good...less of the text is cut...and the two discs are well filled with the Merry Widow and selections from Der Graf von Luxembourg. The moral: steer clear of this EMI [bad deal] and go with the Decca..."
IT'S "ABRIDGED', BUT WHAT A PERFORMANCE!!!!!!!!
L. Mitnick | Chicago, Illinois United States | 08/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard more recordings of "The Merry Widow" than I can count, and many of them are enjoyable. None, however, has the infectious charm and elegance of this 1962 EMI version. True, the performance could probably have been accommodated on a single CD (with very few seconds to spare!), and yes, there are some cuts, but what is presented here constitutes something so special, so illuminating, and so magical that it hardly matters. Von Matacic shapes this cream puff of an operetta with even more verve that Otto Ackermann did on the previous 1953 EMI recording (also with Schwarzkopf), and one can almost "feel" the fizz of the champagne throughout the entire performance. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was born to sing the title role, and in my humble opinion, no other soprano comes within miles of what she accomplishes here. Her idiomatic dialogue, her vocal shadings, and her musical instincts are balm to the ear. She easily surpasses her previous monophonic EMI performance of nine years earlier (and that was a great one!). Nicolai Gedda also surpasses his earlier work on that legendary 1953 recording, offering singing of very great lyricism and beauty. Eberhart Wachter was a very fine baritone, and made some wonderful recordings. His singing here, however, seems to me to be a little gruff, a little crude, and peppered with too much "speak singing", especially when heard in close proximity to Schwarzkopf and Gedda. Still, this was/is one of the greatest recordings EMI ever made, (truly a worthy entry to the "Great Recordings of the Century" series), and it showcases the artistry of Schwarzkopf magnificently. This would definitely be one of my "desert-island" recordings.
With the announcement this morning that Elisabeth Schwarzkopf passed away, this recording becomes even more legendary. It's a beautiful memorial to one of the greatest sopranos of the last century."
John Redmon | Cleveland, OH USA | 07/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After owning this CD for more than a decade, the goose bumps it instills have not diminished. Simply, this is one of the greatest operetta recordings of all time and should definitely not be missed.
Concerning it's limited minutes, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps those with a burgeoning interest in opera would look to this "short" recording as a introduction to the art form. My personal belief is that this recording is THE PERFECT recording to provide an introduction to opera. And, as those in the opera world know, we need more NEW fans for opera's future.
Although there is an enormous depth of beauty in Wager's Ring music to be heard, for example, one needs a proper introduction to opera in order to "hear" it. In music schools around the world, students are required to have many, many ear training courses before graduation. The simplicity in this recording of Die Lustige Witwe provides just the right amount of "ear training" for someone wanting to learn opera from the beginning.
This is not to suggest, however, that this recording IS simplex. It compares very nicely to Mozart. His music seems simple too ... yet those who know Mozart's music very well (and I refer to pianists Horowitz and Schnabel, among others) there is a sublime beauty that reveals itself upon years of study. This beauty is evident after years of listening to this recording. Hence, I still get goose bumps.
On a different note, every time I listen to Elisabeth Scwarzkopf on this CD there's a certain sadness that strikes me. Her vocal abilities coupled with her operatic personality are unmatched in today's opera world and they come through so clearly on this CD. True, the sound here isn't always perfect and it's sometimes too loud, but why be so picky. There is so much charm in her art form on this CD that it's simply amazing - and wonderful.
Lastly, Hanny Steffek and Nicolai Gedda (one of the most tender of tenors ever) share a chemistry that leaps off the CD.
Summary: Pure enjoyment - this MUST be purchased."