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Strauss - Die Frau ohne Schatten
Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Vienna State Opera Chorus & Orchestra
Strauss - Die Frau ohne Schatten
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #3

"The casting was absolutely magnificent, offering us the finest voices and well-drawn characters involved in significant drama."--Die Presse


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"The casting was absolutely magnificent, offering us the finest voices and well-drawn characters involved in significant drama."--Die Presse

CD Reviews

An incredible performance!!
opera_wonderful | MA, USA | 09/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This Die Frau Ohne Schatten was performed in 1964 at the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan in his last few performances. He had submitted his resignation, and this was one of the last few assignments he had. Karajan had brought much glamor and glitter to the Vienna State Opera, and the members of the Vienna Philharmonic were sad to see him go. Although the cover of this set says Vienna State Opera Orchestra, the fact is that the players of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra are those of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!! Yes, the Vienna Philharmonic players were at their best in this performance. They were playing their hearts out for their departing chief. One critic wrote of this performance, "... during the performance, I silently begged the pardon of the gentlemen of the Philharmonic for any criticisms I might have made of them in recent months". Not just the orchestra players. The singers were all inspired that night. Leonie Rysanek was inspired that night, her soaring soprano voice, thrillingly rich and powerful, lending strength and character to the role of the Empress. The magnificence of her singing is everything that the role asks for. Christa Ludwig gives a heart stopping performance as the Dyer's wife. Her singing is free and expressive in lyrical passages, powerful and intense in her moments of dramatic revolt. Her entire performance is marked by beauty of tone and captivating expression and security. Walter Berry is in sensational voice that night, his deep voice rich and sonorous. This is the best performance by Grace Hoffman that I have ever heard. She is really fabulous in the role of the Nurse, and her powerful voice is able to meet Strauss' inordinate vocal demands. She takes all the top notes without any hint of strain, and her characterization is simply terrific. Jess Thomas is excellent as the Emperor but it is a pity that James King did not take the role in this performance. Lucia Popp as the falcon and in a number of small parts stand out brilliantly. I have never heard anyone else making so much of so little. The little roles become main characters under Lucia Popp. When you haverecordings like Solti's Die Frau, Sawallisch's Die Frau, Bohm's Die Frau, Sinopoli's Die Frau BUT you prefer to come back to this recording, that says A LOT about how powerful and incredible this performance is. Please do not miss this performance, it is incredible beyond belief."
Magnificent performance
opera_wonderful | 11/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an absolutely arresting performance of Strauss' most kaladeiscopic operatic masterpiece!! The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (under the name Vienna State Opera Orchestra in this recording) plays with supreme musicality and beauty of line. Christa Ludwig surpasses herself in the magnificence of her singing. Her beauty of tone and characterization are astonishing. The Dyer's wife was one of the high points of her distinguished career and it is regretful that she was not given the opportunity to record it commercially. It is good that we have this record of her at her absolute best. After listening to this recording, you will understand why Die Frau Ohne Schatten was a raging success when Karl Bohm took his Frosch team around the world with the masterpiece. Leonie Rysanek sings her heart out, her glorious soprano ringing out thrillingly at the climaxes. No one else could ever surpass Walter Berry in the role of Barak - a role which he practically owned for over a decade. The emperor, Jess Thomas, is not as good as james King but still gives an excelent performance. Grace Hoffmann is suitably malevolent as the Nurse, her voice had the range and power that the part demanded. Lucia Popp and Wunderlich are mesmarizing in the smaller roles. This is a treasure not to be overlooked."
Karajan's Frau to taste!
Brooklyn GV | Brooklyn NY | 08/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 1960s was a decade of great creativity and talent in all the arts. It can be considered the second golder age of opera. There hasn't been a decade like it! The only artist that is failed here is the composer by way of the conductor with some foolish cuts and edits. You go from Der Kaiser to Die Kaiserin scene making no musical or dramatic sense. Scene3 and 5 are put together. Then there's the odd edits in the last act.
But what a cast. The best of the best. Many of these singers were scene throughout major opera houses during this decade recreating these roles. Leonie Rysanek the greatest Wagner Lyric of the mid to late twentieth Century pours out the most thrilling sound imaginable. She was a great interpreter of this role. Tortured and emotionally charged. Her voice is warm and when it builds while climbing to the top it becomes even more intense. Christa Ludwig is supreme the best Dyers Wife you could ever see or hear. Nothing like it. Her voice is in top form as it always remained throughout her entire career. Ludwig is the only singer that does not make the music of The Dyers Wife sound thankless! Her interpretation is exciting too. What a match she and Rysanek made on the stage. They also did Rosenkavalier. Grace Hoffmann is also perfect as The Nurse. She nails the music right on. What can one say about Walter Berry. He sang this role at The Met for several revivals before anyone took his place. A great singing actor. And Jess Thomas does very well as Der Kaiser. This was before those crazy Tristan performances at The Met.
This is 'Die Frau' to own. Rysanek, Ludwig, Berry, Hoffmann give it everything they have not only this performance but throughout their careers."