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Strauss - Die Frau ohne Schatten / Sawallisch
Ingrid Bjoner, Astrid Varnay, Lorenz Fehenberger
Strauss - Die Frau ohne Schatten / Sawallisch
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #3


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CD Reviews

Fascinating and Important Document
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fascinating and extremely important document. Firstly, this is the first of Birgit Nilsson's Dyer's Wife on record. The Dyer's Wife was the last role that Birgit Nilsson added to her repertoire in 1975. Here she is in superb voice - her performance is absolutely stunning!! Her top notes are incredibly powerful and, truth to tell, her voice is more powerful as recorded here than in the Solti Ring. Sheer sensation - her voice here is like liquid fire pouring across the floodlights. One year later, she would perform the Dyer's Wife at the Vienna State Opera (released under the Deutsche Grammophon Label). Secondly, we have Astrid Varnay's Nurse. Varnay performed the Nurse 22 times in her career and this is the only recorded performance of her Nurse that I know of. She is in marvellous form! Varnay is a true dramatic soprano. Imagine, two of the great Brunnhildes of the 20th century in an earth shattering performance of Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Bjoner makes a very exciting Empress. She is in thrilling voice and attacks all her notes fearlessly - they ring out gloriously in this recording. Dieskau takes the role of Barak and makes it his own. But perhaps the jewel of the jewels in this recording is James King as the Emperor. He is in sensational voice and in this recording, he shows why he was THE reigning Emperor of Die Frau Ohne Schatten in the 1960s and 1970s. James King was the most sought after Emperor of his generation. So this is a superb Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Yes, it is expensive but it is worth every cent in my opinion. The downside is that there is no libretto (it doesn't matter for me because I have got versions with librettos). This Die Frau is better than Sawallisch's studio version made in 1987. That version is note complete but the performance does not catch fire like this one."
Thrilled to bits
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Birgit Nilsson gives a stunning performance of the Dyer's Wife. Her prodigious vocalism, firm and bright voice makes her moments of dramatic revolt the most thrilling moments ever recorded. She is surrounded by an all-star cast comprising Fischer-Dieskau, Astrid Varnay, James King and the great dramatic soprano Bjoner. In particular, King's emperor has never been so thrillingly captured. The all-star cast and the sense of excitement generated by a 'live' performance makes this one of the best Die Frau Ohne Schatten ever. Die Frau Ohne Schatten is a very lucky opera. Even though it is very difficult to cast, when the casting is good, every performance is almost a small miracle in itself like this one. Worth every cent that I paid. You'll be thrilled to bits too."
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The year is 1976. You are going to the opera house. Birgit Nilsson is 58 years old. It's an age where allowances have to be made for opera singers. You sit down and wait for her entry. BOOOOOOM!!!! You get a shock!! Is that the voice of a 58 year old woman???? Yes, Birgit Nilsson at age 58 still had LOTS of power in her voice. Her reading here is nothing short of ELECTRIFYING. Listen to her top B's, they hit you like lighting, like a ton of bricks!!! And look at the supporting cast, they are magnificent. I've never heard James King sing better in the role of the Emperor. His intense, penetrating interpretation is worth every cent of the price. And is that the legendary Astrid Varnay in the difficult role of the Nurse? Yes!!!! Varnay brings her artistry and intensity to the part, not to mention her legendary voice, powerful and full. Fischer-Dieskau, legendary Lieder singer/opera singer is Barak and Bjoner, with her powerful and bright soprano voice is the Empress, a magnificent alternative to Leonie Rysanek. Die Frau is my favorite Strauss opera. I was blown away by the power of the reading. If you like Die Frau, then this is for you - a must for the collector."