Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Richard [Classical] Wagner, Charles Mackerras, Sydney Symphony Orchestra|
Sydney Opera House Opening Concert 1973 [Includes Bonus DVD]
One of the most famous nights in australian music occurred in september 1973 when sir charles mackerras conducted the sydney symphony orchestra in the first public concert to be staged in the concert hall of the sydney ope... more »
One of the most famous nights in australian music occurred in september 1973 when sir charles mackerras conducted the sydney symphony orchestra in the first public concert to be staged in the concert hall of the sydney opera house. In front of a packed, emotion-charged house, the great australian conductor made a triumphant homecoming in an all-wagner concert that sent the critics searching for superlatives. Now for the first time, abc classics is releasing the entire concert on cd. Featuring the greatest wagnerian soprano of the twentieth century, birgit nilsson, as soloist, the concert provided an electrifying opening for the iconic building. Thirty-five years on, the excitement remains palpable and mackerras' ability to bring the best out of the orchestra of which he himself had once been a member remains awe-inspiring. Included in this australian masters package is a bonus dvd featuring television footage of the concert's second half. A priceless memento of a great day in australian music, it captures two master-artists at the height of their creative powers with an orchestra playing at its peak.
Nilsson crowns an historic occasion
Mr. R. Lee-van Den Daele | Shipley, England. | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This unassuming-looking disc is a real collectors' item, as it marks the opening concert of the Sydney Opera House on 29th September 1973.
The disc is a slimline double and contains a stereo CD with a total playing length of 74.15 and a bonus DVD. An informative booklet is included, with text of the operatic excerpts in German and English. A four page essay by Martin Buzzacot sets the scene for the 1973 Wagner Evening.
The tracks (CD) are as follows (DVD tracks marked *):
1. Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg - Prelude
2. Tannhauser - Elisabeth's greeting
3. Tristan und Isolde - Prelude and Liebestod
4. Goetterdemmerung* - Siegfried's Rhine Journey; Funeral March; Immolation scene.
The DVD is in black and white (oddly for the period - colour apparently didn't arrive until 1975) and looks as if made in the late 1950s! It sadly only lasts 45 minutes, owing to the fact that the Australian Broadcasting Association (on whose label this release appears) rather parsimoniously only chose to broadcast the second half of this historic concert.
Regrettably - in visual terms at least - we don't get the Meistersinger overture, Elisabeth's greeting ('Dich, teure Halle') from Tannhauser (a nice touch, as Nilsson is welcoming the new hall at her first entry) or the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan. Happily, they are all present and correct on the (audio-only) CD.
The Sydney SO play very well under Mackerras's expert baton (though I cannot say I have ever perceived him in the Wagnerian mould, though on the strength of this I would have liked to have heard more from him in this vein) and there is no want of orchestral heft, especially in the excerpts from Goetterdaemmerung. The Meistersinger prelude is a spirited affair and the orchstra bring great zest to the performance. The Tristan excerpts are very well played and Nilsson is predicatbly superb in the Liebestod.
In the second half, Siegfried's Rhine Journey takes a tad short of 13 minutes and is followed with a very evocative Funeral March (9 minutes 41 seconds). The visceral playing of the brass section is exciting to hear.
Nilsson appears again for the closing (or Immolation) scene and is once again in stellar form. Her voice is gleaming in the upper registers as she cuts through the orchestral swell with thrilling ease. As she figuratively rides into the all-consuming flames of Bruennhilde's funeral pyre, I was reminded what a great loss the musical world suffered when she died on Christmas Day 2005.
This is a very good 2 disc set and a worthy souvenir from what looks to have been a thrilling night in Sydney. Well worthy of shelf space in any serious Wagnerian's library."