miamidietrich | Miami Beach, FL USA | 02/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful to have preserved a live performance of a work so
suited to Caballe's vocal splendour, she brings Arabella to
life, and even her sister raises to the occasion. Of course
Nimsgern is no Fischer Dieskau, but who is ?"
Caballe All the Way
William S. Levison | Valdosta, GA United States | 04/06/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Caballe's glorious voice in Strauss's heavenly music is really the only reason to acquire this live 1973 performance--but it's a damn good reason. Everything else is competent or somewhat better; the almost silent audience (one cougher excepted)allows for a comfortable listening experience. If one is acquiring only one "Arabella," it should be the Solti/della Casa/London/Vienna Philharmonic recording on London with terrific performances in EVERY role. However, in the recording under consideration, Caballe at her peak is a powerful inducement."
Rennert's great conducting
Eric Zuesse | USA | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wolfgang Rennert was a great conductor as shown on this recording, but his career was a failure as shown by his having left only one other recording (featuring arias sung by Ib Hansen) and nothing else on the Web, not even his birth-and-death dates. All the singing on this set is also great, but a conductor shapes an operatic performance (or any other large musical ensemble's performance), and what really sets this recording apart (besides its gloriously low price) is conducting that's not only of the highest professional caliber but that interpretively surpasses, in my opinion, that of all of the competition from the other, mostly famous, conductors.
Arabella, unlike the great Strauss operas (starting with the greatest: Die Liebe der Danae, Intermezzo, Capriccio, Elektra, Die Schweigsame Frau, Daphne, Ariadne, Die Frau Ohne Schatten, Rosenkavelier, and Salome) shares with its fellow near-great ones (including Helena, Friedenstag, and Guntram) substantial stretches of thematically uninspired music. Whereas all of the great Strauss operas are inspired from the first bar to the last, this isn't so with Arabella. However, Rennert's conducting is great enough to sustain the musical tension and the listener's attention regardless, so that the islands of Strauss's exquisite sublimity in this work are sufficient to make the whole thing well worthwhile.
Yes, Caballe is a great Arabella here; I think she was even better than Della Casa and Varady; but everything here is amazingly good, and the Italian Radio Orchestra in this live concert comes across sounding almost like the Vienna Philharmonic (except that the acoustics here weren't quite as good as the Vienna Opera House) and the conducting is simply better than any other, so good so that this live performance is, in my opinion, the one to have, even over any studio recording.
The sound engineers here also did a terrific job of microphone placement and balance. The sound quality is unfortunately not terrific, but it's certainly passable. Listeners who demand top sonics will go for the studio recordings, such as Solti and Sawallisch (both of which conductors provided good performances, but not in a league with Rennert)."