Calling all Christa Ludwig and Fidelio fans
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded at the Salzburg Festival in 1968. Christa Ludwig is not in best voice. She shortens some top notes and makes a few errors. Of course, since this is a 'live' performance, any 'faults' will not be 'corrected'. But the 'live' ambience and the heat of the performance more than makes up for the lower recording quality and faults here and there. Karl Bohm seems to be rushing at times and does not seem to make allowance for Ludwig. The recording quality is not very good - Ludwig's voice seem to 'vibrate' a lot, nevertheless, the voice is still beautiful. The is more the result of the recording rather than Ludwig herself. In spite of the faults, this is an excellent performance. Christa Ludwig sings differently here than the studio recording with Klemperer. James Kind gives an incandescent performance as Florestan. Those who think that Jon Vickers is the best Florestan around should just listen to King's Florestan. While the recording quality does not permit me to make a more conclusive judgement, I must say this Florestan is one of the best I've heard - better than Goldberg with Haitink or Kollo with Bernstein - challenging Vickers & Patzak. I don't wonder King had such a wonderful career - Siegmund, Emperor and so on. I wonder why Karl Bohm conducted some passages so fast. This is a great performance - you will like it though not the sound quality. Besides, it's hard to find another 'live' Christa Ludwig fidelio anywhere so grab this while it exists."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ever heard Christa Ludwig in the Klemperer version? Catch her live. She is very dramatic and involved. Her reading here is different from that in the studio, which is good for us. Who wants two identical readings? James King is a wonderful Florestan. Under Bohm, the whole performance comes alive. Sure, the sound quality is not top quality. But you get much more satisfaction from this imperfect performance than many of the artificial ones in the studio (Klemperer's is an exception). Very highly recommended."