A classic that no one should miss out on
Derek Lee | St. Paul, MN USA | 11/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First a word of caution: this is NOT the Oct 12, 1953 performance as advertised, but rather the studio recording that followed in its wake. That said, I disagree with John Ardoin's assesment that this is unsatisfactory. Furtwangler is incredibly inspired here, molding Fidelio into one coherent stream of music in a way that most conductors are unable to do. Klemperer was also able to do this, but (I know I'm in the minority here) I find his concept of Fidelio lacks spontaneity. There are just too many highlights to mention them all, suffice it to say that already in the overture, whipped up to an ecstatic frenzy like I've never heard before, you know you're in for something really special. Added to this, the Vienna Philharmonic play like gods (the winds descend from the heavens), the singers are either very good or truly extraordinary (some disagree, but I think Modl and Windgassen each give just the right balance of nobility and suffering, not to mention fine vocalism each), and the recording quality is excellent for the period, quite listenable even if you don't usually like historic recordings."