A Singer's "Rosenkavalier"
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 09/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since its original Lp appearance over forty years ago, Herbert von Karajan's 1956 recording of "Der Rosenkavalier" has been rated one of the best opera sets ever made. It is warm-sounding and luxuriously cast, with the great Elizabeth Schwarzkopf masterfully singing one of the greatest roles of her career. The stereo version has recently been remastered to sound better than ever in EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" series. So why issue the same performance in a mono version? Well, simply because the mono version is how the set was intended to be heard by legendary EMI producer (& husband of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf) Walter Legge; the stereo version was a separate engineering job that employed rudimentary stereo technology without much thought for how to create a true stereo soundstage. (In fact, the mono tapes were intended to be the only version released commercially.)But don't get me wrong, the stereo version sounds fine. The difference between the two versions is one of perspective: in the stereo version, the orchestra sounds warm and "cushy" and envelopes the singers; in the mono version, the voices are "front and center" and register with more nuance. So, choose based on your preference. Those listeners who value great singing above all else can best savour the artistry of Schwarzkopf, Ludwig and the others in the mono version. Others will legitimately prefer the stereo version. Either way, this is a performance to treasure. Note: producer Walter Legge died in 1976 and so Schwarzkopf herself was persuaded to supervise the remastering of the mono tapes in 1996. A real labor of love. Finally, my own confession: I own both versions and couldn't prefer one over the other if somebody put a gun to my head and threatened to pull the trigger twice!"
Unrivalled performance, but better in stereo
J. Buxton | Waltham, MA United States | 03/17/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Because this opera was recorded in both stereo and mono, over the years there has been some controversy over which version is better. Since it was newly remastered and repackaged in 1996, the stereo version has come out the clear winner. The sound is just better. Be aware this one is the mono version, and though the performance is wonderful, you can acquire the stereo version for the same price."
Be aware this is in mono.
J. Buxton | 10/22/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is a stereo version"