Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard Strauss, Kurt Masur, Jessye Norman|
Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos / J. Norman · Gruberova · Varady · Frey · Bär · Fischer-Dieskau · Asmus · Finke · Lind · J. Kaufmann · GO Leipzig · Masur
Listen to Samples
Gruberova still hits it out of the park
essmac | Nashville, TN USA | 04/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must strenuously disagree with the reviewer below! Gruberova IS Zerbinetta: she triumphs over the impossible technical demands, but also totally inhabits the character herself. Every note speaks of the delicious vixen- flirtatious, knowing, wiley yet still so sympathetic. She's utterly irresistable as she leaps, fully alive out of your speakers. The way that Gruberova tosses off the fiendishly difficult coloratura with with utter confidence seems almost cavalier and that's what is so right about it. Yes she thins the tone at the top, but those are high Es and Ebs for heaven's sake (and some are marked piano and some are supposed to be trilled). Also- who's been singing Zerbinetta as long and as well as she has? The rest of the disc is well-played: Ms. Norman sings with richness and majesty (but her diva attitude in the prologue shows that she's not some aloof, unattainable icon). Don't expect the floated glory of Leontyne in the high notes- that's not Norman. Instead you get the full impact of a shattered Ariadne who thought of herself and Theseus as one person. Devastating. Honorable mention also goes to the women's trio who sing beautifully."
One Fine Mess
tmallon | Quakertown, PA United States | 11/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is beautiful and puts a great face on an otherwise neglected piece of Strauss repertory. Truly, a fine mess, "Ariadne Auf Naxos" is the second re-writing result of an earlier long-winded flop by the great Hofmannsthal/Strauss partnership. Still, even the second attempt is not a success as a stage production, but it just happens to include some of Strauss's best music as well as some snippets of beautiful writing by Hofmannsthal. I guess a third re-write was out of the question, too bad.If the opera falls short of being a unified work, the cast and crew of this performance try hard to make up for it in a highly collaborative creative effort. Norman (Ariadne) and Gruberova (Zerbinetta) are perfect for their roles. First chance I've had to hear Paul Frey (Tenor/Bacchus). He gets high marks for keeping up with Jessye Norman and providing a beautiful blend to their duet. Kurt Masur (conducting) provides a great reading to support the efforts of the cast. And, as always, Philips provides first rate sound engineering to make this an above average recording.Since I am a reviewing the recording and not any possible stage aspects of this piece, I give it 4 stars. Just close your eyes and make up your own story. This isn't very hard since the real libretto is so difficult to imagine (but don't throw out the libretto, as it does have some beautiful passages). It's wacky in a Zauberflote kind of way, but Hofmannsthal and Strauss would later resolve these with Die Frau (their most poetic collaboration). Still, it is a beautiful piece of music with some fine writing, even if it stinks as staged opera."
essmac | 06/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the review of "a music fan" and I can only say that He has no idea about Gruberova and Zerbinetta: Gruberova has no rival in that opera, just as she has not in almost anything she sings, and that cannot be ignored."