A pleasant surprise!
Mr. Thomas E. Walton | London, UK | 10/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I could find no reviews of or references to this recording anywhere on the web before I bought it, but listening was an unexpectedly enjoyable experience. I presume this was a performance mounted for radio broadcast, and there is no obvious audience of background noise. For 1950 the sound is very good and clean, and perhaps more surprisingly there are no cuts at all - not even the standard ones sanctioned by Bohm - in this very long score. The singing also is very fine. Kupper's Kaiserin is the real Straussian thing - the voice is not as plush and sumptuous as Rysanek's, but she has all the notes and a great deal more. Schluchter's Frau is not so comfortable - she is audibly strained by some of the high lying phrases (the end of Act 2 in particular) and she ducks a couple of high C's and B's, but otherwise it is a fine, characterful portrayal. She had been singing Brunnhilde for 15 years by this stage. Behrsing as the Emperor is a bit of a revelation to me - a very fine German tenor, firm and even right up to the top of the range - and the Greek mezzo Diana Eustrati is fabulous as the Nurse, relishing the chance to sing the part in its entirety. The Barak is on a lower level, but still a perfectly good baritone, and smaller roles are generally well taken. At this price a very worthwhile addition to a Straussian's catalogue."