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|Bernd Weikl, Claude Dormoy, Otto Nicolai|
Otto Nicolai: Die lustigen Wieber von Windsor
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An opera where Germany meets Italy
N. Freidin | Huntington, WV | 06/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Otto Nicolai's, 'Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor', based on a libretto by Hermann Mosenthal (1845), an adaptation of Shakespeare's, 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', is indeed a merry piece. Many may be familiar with the opera only by the overture, a concert favourite. But the opera itself is loaded with melodic arias, sparkling duets and ensembles, and just really fun music, expertly crafted.
Of course, Sir John Falstaff, that rotund, jovial, womanizing knight, has played a leading character in operas by Verdi (Falstaff) and Vaughan-Williams (Sir John in Love). They should not be compared. Each provides a very different perspective, in very different musical languages.
This recording, with Bernhard Klee conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin, is an exciting interpretation. There is, of course, the Bavarian recording directed by Heger, with such greats as Fritz Wunderlich, Gottlob Frick and Edith Mathis (on the EMI label), the most recommended by the 'experts'. Frick was not terribly comical, and the minor roles were not memorable. In this recording Mathis (Frau Fluth) reappears, this time without any weak links, with superb and energetic interpreters, like Bernd Weikl (Herr Fluth), Peter Schreier (Fenton), and the incomparable comic bass, Kurt Moll (Sir John). Klee keeps the music bubbling throughout. The Berlin Classics recording of 1976 is crystal-clear, but the German libretto comes without an English translation.
Nicolai trained in Germany and Italy, and absorbed the influences of the musical traditions of both to create a wonderful, frolicking, opera. His untimely death, at the age of 39, deprived us of perhaps other operatic pleasures."
Ganz Gut! Prima!
Joshua L. Lindgren | Twin Cities. Minnesota | 05/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great recording quality, articulate vocalists (for us German speakers! =^), and an orchestra worth listening to by itself - a great recording of a Super Oper! (Spelling intended - Ausgeseichnet!)"