Bohm's best studio effort
M. Mclain | VA | 10/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is perhaps Bohm's greatest studio effort. Certainly he was best live--for example his Bayreuth 'Tristan' and 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' at the Vienna Opera. But this opera never seems to lose pace, and the modest tempi work quite well.
The cast features several of the same performers as the 1968 Figaro, a masterful recording in its own right. Hermann Prey and Fischer-Dieskau are wonderful (ironically, Diskeau is again playing a count) with the wonderful Janowitz and Troyanos filling in the female roles. Both of these recordings benefit most from this fantastic ensemble, and Bohm continued to enjoy the work of these great talents in his Mozart and Strauss performances throughout the 50's and 60's. The tone of this opera is very conversational, and their is a greater emphasis on ensemble than solos (again, like Figaro).
Much has been made of Bohm being passed over for Krauss to conduct the premiere, and also that Bohm conducted this opera quite infrequently compared to others--but this overshadows the tremendous success he enjoyed at the Salzburger Festspiele with this work, and that at the time he was considered its greatest exponent. The recording was highly praised, and its quality remains intact to this day.
The opening Sextet is marvelous (it's reminiscent of the string writing of Schubert) and the last scene is especially magical. In many ways it is the ideal that Strauss had been moving towards in his later operas; it is charming, simple and conversational. Although it uses a typically large Straussian orchestra, the writing is in a chamber style, and is consistent with his movement towards the last songs and chamber works of his old age. If one accepts Strauss as being the heir of Mozart and Wagner, it's the point at which Strauss best captured the charm of Mozart, while fully using the Wagnerian leitmotif and romantic orchestra. It is as far removed from Salome and Elektra that one could get, but it is no less of a work because of that.
E. Lyons | Ann Arbor, MI | 07/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a really wonderful recording, and would be the best Capriccio if it were not for one thing. The sound is very good, Janowitz is sublime in the operas big moments, and the principals are all very animated and involved. I listen to this record all the time. However, the character Flamand has some of the opera's most beautiful music (the sonnett, the love scene with the Countess), and Peter Schrier is just not right for the role. He is a great artist, but this is not a spieltenor role; it requires some real vocal glamour, and Schrier has this very tight-sounding, constricted, character-tenor voice that doesn't fill out the music in the right way. I am not saying that it requires a big voice, but it does require a more open and beautiful sound. This drawback stops this recording from being the ultimate Capriccio experience. The Sawallisch recording has Gedda, who has a more romantic, beautiful sound.
Still, this recording is a must, to hear the rest of the cast and Boehm's conducting in rich full sound."