Achingly, Ravishingly Beautiful
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Telarc's recording of Strauss's penultimate opera DIE LIEBE DER DANAE is a magnificent milestone. DIE LIEBE belongs to the sound world of Strauss's great, late works, like the FOUR LAST SONGS, the OBOE CONCERTO, and the METAMORPHOSEN. The tonal palate is golden, autumnal, suffused with melancholy. Although the libretto seems somewhat frivolous at first, so do the libretti of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS and ARABELLA, yet Strauss's glorious music imbues them with pathos and profundity. DIE LIEBE contains some of Strauss's most beautiful and demanding writing for soprano and bartitone. I have nothing but praise for this performance, and the Telarc recording is magnificent. At the end of the first act, I was astonished to hear applause. I had no idea that this is a live performance! It is mercifully free of thundering hooves crossing the stage. One wonders why this wonderful opera has been so long neglected while inferior works like FRIEDENSTAG have received modern recordings before it. This is an obligatory disc--the record of the year--for all Straussians."
Eulenspiegel | WA | 10/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Die Liebe der Danae" is a wonderful opera -- perhaps not as wonderful as some Strauss operas, but the better you get to know it, the more you will appreciate its many beauties. It is an opera that improves as it goes along. The first act has some lovely parts -- especially the "rain of gold" music that leads into the second scene and the duet between Danae and her servant, Xanthe. The second act has a charming, light-hearted scene where Jupiter's previous four lovers banter with him, and the act ends well with Danae's choice of Midas followed by Jupiter's response. Unfortunately, in the first two acts the duets between Midas and Danae are weak, which leaves a poorer impression precisely because you would expect Strauss to have given something especially inspiring at these points. However, the third act is worth the wait. It is psychologically richer, and the music corresponds. Mercury's tongue-in-cheek sections are fun (and show that the librettist was capable of more creative lines than he usually gave Strauss). Both Midas' and Danae's arias are finely crafted. The music leading into the final scene ("Jupiter's Renunciation") is among the loveliest short pieces Strauss ever wrote -- one long, sustained melody (one never hears it in concert, unfortunately). Best of all, Jupiter's music in this act is very rich -- especially the "Maja Erzaehlung" towards the end.
I know this recording as well as the original one from Orfeo, and I appreciate both. However, there are particular things in this recording to recommend it. As one would expect, the quality of the sound is vastly better, and the inclusion of a libretto is a definite plus. Over all, the title role is better sung on this recording and is noticeably better in the 3rd act aria (where the earlier singer hit some embarrassingly flat notes in a very exposed place). The conductor here (Botstein) does a better job sticking to tempo than Clements did, which especially helps the 2nd act duet hold together, and which also helps with Danae's 3rd act aria. While Paul Schoeffler's singing of Jupiter in the Orfeo edition is something to treasure, Peter Coleman-Wright does a great job in his own right (and in some cases sings the role more accurately than Schoeffler did).
All in all, this is a great recording, and if you are going to just purchase one, this is the one I would recommend.
THE OLD BRAVERY
dejopera | Belgrade, Yugoslavia | 01/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I do praise, certainly, the appearance of NEW "Danae". Recording is superb, as well as the singing (Flanigan). I expected a touch of more fiery interpretation by Botstein. By the way, I want to underline the following fact - this "Danae" IS NOT the first CD release ever. The first "Danae" on CDs is the production from 1950 and one can find it on Orfeo D'Or label as a live recording from Salzburg festival, featuring excellent singers (Schoeffler, Traxel, Gostic) and unsurpased FIERY conductor's interpretation by Clemens Krauss. I rate this second "Danae" (new recording) with 4 stars and for the first "Danae" (old recording) - admiring OLD BRAVERY to put on repertoire such, in that times after World War II, strange opera and to produce it with highest artistic standards - I rate it with 5 stars!"