Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Side Of Strauss Few People Know
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 12/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Strauss composed a significant amount of operas in his time when symphonic tone poems weren't on his mind--such works as "Elektra", "Capriccio", "Die Frau Ohne Schatten" and, most particularly, "Der Rosenkavalier", are mainstays of the operatic stage. On the other hand, however, these big masterpieces tend to leave Strauss' other operatic works in relative obscurity.
Such is the case with his 1928 opera "Die Aegyptische Helena." Working with a libretto by his good friend Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Strauss conceived this opera as a mythological tale about Helen of Troy. The opera itself was a significant success in its time, but, as mentioned before, "Der Rosenkavalier" and others in Strauss' operatic canon have tended to obscure it.
"Die Aegyptische Helena", however, receives a big boost in this impressive 1979 recording featuring the great Dame Gwyneth Jones in the title role, and other great singers like Willard White, Birgit Finnila, and Barbara Hendricks. All of this is bought together under the direction of Antal Dorati, who leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Kenneth Jewell Chorale. The cast is exceptional at digging into this lesser-known Strauss jewel, but what is just as impressive is how Dorati, by choosing to spotlight this opera, got the Detroit Symphony to perform at a level not seen since the halcyon years of the 50s and early 60s when Paul Paray was music director, a level that the orchestra would maintain throughout Dorati's tenure, and later Neeme Jarvi's. The combination of cast, conductor, orchestra, and chorus handles Strauss' large-scale orchestrations and vocal demands with incredible precision.
For anyone interested in uncovering relatively obscure operas, this recording is most strongly recommended."
An excellent performance by Dame Gwyneth!
dwilliams729 | Boston, Massachusetts United States | 02/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of this rarely performed opera was the world premiere recording, and finds Dame Gwyneth Jones in fabulous voice! The amazing thing is that Dame Gwyneth was performing all three Brunnhilde roles in the Boulez Centenery Ring Cycles in Bayreuth around the same time, yet her voice sounds so fresh and well rested for the recording. Her second act aria "Zweite Brautnacht" is sung better than ever here, with soaring legato phrases, and a lovely high C sharp in that neverending phrase that ends the aria. The other singers are fine on the recording, and the Detroit Symphony plays well, but it is worth making a big deal of Dame Gwyneth's performance here because critics tend to be rough on her. If you are a Jones fan like me, this recording will prove to be, in my opinion, Dame Gwyneth's finest studio work."