Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard  Strauss, Carlos Kleiber, Bavarian State Opera Orchestra|
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
A live recording from Monaco in 1974 conducted by the legendary, elusive Carlos Kleiber. Kleiber never recorded Der Rosenkavalier commercially, and this live recording boasts very good sound. Born in 1930, the son of an... more »
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A live recording from Monaco in 1974 conducted by the legendary, elusive Carlos Kleiber. Kleiber never recorded Der Rosenkavalier commercially, and this live recording boasts very good sound. Born in 1930, the son of another fine conductor (Erich Kleiber), Carlos Kleiber ended up outshining his father and being widely recognized as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. He had a cult following through much of his career, and since his death in 2004 it has only increased in intensity. Kleiber was famous for brilliant interpretations of a smallish repertoire, mostly a few operas and symphonies, his recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony being frequently singled out as the greatest of all time, a model of balance between excitement and repose. He seldom appeared in public and was more famous for canceling appearances than making them. His behavior may have been eccentric, but his artistry was sublime. The premiere of the opera on January 26, 1911, at the Hofoper in Dresden, was a magnificent success, and Der Rosenkavalier's luster has scarcely dimmed in the ensuing years. It remains the most popular and oft-performed opera by Richard Strauss, who in turn is the most famous German opera composer of the twentieth century. The music is a deft blend of Viennese schmaltz and modernisms, making the listener feel warm, comfortable, and dreadfully chic at the same time. Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) created seven librettos for Strauss, of which this was the second, achieving perhaps the most perfect operatic collaboration since Da Ponte and Mozart.
A treasure, and long awaited
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carlos Kleiber made no CD set of 'Der Rosenkavalier,' one of a handful of operas that the eccentric conductor was willing to perform, but on VHS there used to be a version with Claire Watson as the Marschallin, a role she repeats here. Another Kleiber film version, available now on DVD, is from 1994, twenty years after this one, and it features the unsatisfactorry, matronly Felicity Lott as the Marschallin. With all that in mind, it's great to have a reasonably good-sounding stereo recording with the excellent Bavarian State Opera Orch.
The cast is first-rate, with Fassbaender in her prime and Watson doing very well, too, although she lacks Schwarzkopf's charisma, Te Kanawa's perfect voice, or Crespin's pathos. The Sophie of Hilda de Groote is spunky and a trifle spoiled, a refreshing chqnge from the usual marzipan doll. Ridderbusch is the suavest, most aristocratic of Ochses, a departure from the usual blustery churl. But it's Kleiber one has come to hear, and his conducting is magnificent. I have no hesitation putting him at the same level, and perhaps higher, than Karajan on his classic EMI recording with Schwarzkopf---every bar sounds original, and Kleiber shows more vitality than Karajan, who lingers over the luscious melodic outpourings.
A note aobut the sound. This msut have been a tape made at home form a comercial broadcast, because the sound can be murky and there are glitches and jumps, like bad splices. So don't expect the world.
In sum, a long-awaited treasure has surfaced.
P.S. Sept. 2009 - Avid opera collectors will no doubt have read about another Carlos Kleiber Rosenkavalier in SACD on the Orfeo label. Critics have lavishly praised it, but amazon makes it very hard to find the recording. Here's a link: