A great (German language) performance of Figaro
Robert J. Cruce | Muskogee, OK United States | 10/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hmmm... your thinking, "didn't Mozart write this opera using an Italian language libretto?" Yes, but Mozart's great opera never did become very popular with the Italians. The performance tradition therefore should favor this Dresden production. Wouldn't it make sense for these singers to be more comfortable in their own language (and give a more heartfelt performance?- yes yes and yes!!) I own the Angel/Seraphim mid 70's LP release and if I may paraphrase from the cover: ...there is a sense of sublime artistic application in this performance. It is quite simply wonderful in every way: perfectly paced, beautifully sung and conducted. There is a vitality and spirit to this Figaro that is rare in opera recordings. The CDs have all the good qualities of the LPs and highlight even more the sumptuous glow of this recording."
Archimedes | Pennsylvania | 03/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This German-language recording of Figaro is simply astonishingly good. There are several objective reasons for this:
1. Walter Berry
2. Herman Prey
3. Annaliese Rothenberger (Did I get that right?)
4. Edith Mathis.
And Hilde Guden and the others are pretty good, but I did not know them beforehand. And finally, Othmar Suitner is also simply fantastic. This recording, dating from the seventies, is just as exciting, fast and tight as any modern original-instruments recording.
The more intangible reason that the German-language performance works is that I think Mozart must have enjoyed writing the jokes in German (I am almost certain that this version was completed by Mozart himself, or under his supervision,) and the German/Austrian team on this recording simply has a great old time singing it -- you can hear it!
"Figaro" is funny and all-round delightful at any time, but this recording has a zing to it that I have rarely heard elsewhere. The main couple: Suzanna and Figaro --Anneliese Rothenberger and Walter Berry-- are just perfect, and sound good enough to eat. Hermann Prey as the Count (or the Grave, in this version) is just as good. Prey would have been rather a young Count, which makes sense.
[For those who need it, the story is a sequel to The Barber of Seville. IN that opera (Rossini), Figaro is barber, and the Count is a young buck, who enlists Figaro's help to woo the young ward of Doctor Bartolo.
In this play, The Count has married the young lady, who is now the Countess. The barber, Figaro, is now his general factotum and butler, and he in turn is about to marry the Countess's maid, Suzanna, who is the star of the show. With Figaro's recklessness and bad attitude, and Suzanna's cleverness and the Countess's fond assistance, they manage to defeat the Count's sly attempts to seduce Suzanna on the eve of her wedding (apparently a medieval tradition). Things are spiced up with the amorous antics of a youthful couple (Cherubino and Barbarina) who contribute to the farcical quality of the play.]
In this recording, Suzanna delivers beautifully, as does everyone.