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Verdi: Ein Maskenball (Un Ballo in Maschera)
Giuseppe Verdi, Artur Rother, Fritz Busch
Verdi: Ein Maskenball (Un Ballo in Maschera)
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #2


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A great day in Cologne preserved on CD. Thank you Gala!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Are you aching to hear Verdi's "A Masked Ball" sung in German, but you don't have the means to travel to Germany or Austria for a performance. Or, do you have what you consider is the "definitive recording" of this opera and you're looking for a interesting diversion. Well, here's a bargain for you. An opera written in Italian, originally about intrigue in the Swedish court, which is frequently performed with a Boston-setting (as it is on this recording), and sung here in German. It doesn't get any more internationally head-spinning than this. But, if you want to listen to what may be the last recording by the legendary, opera conductor Fritz Busch (who co-founded the Glyndebourne Festival), with a 25 year-old Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Martha Modl in her prime (and not singing Wagner), then this recording is for you. And that's not all. You get three bonus tracks (20 minutes) from Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" also sung in German with Artur Rother conducting featuring renowned, German baritone Heinrich Schlusnus and acclaimed, Danish tenor Helge Rosvaenge. Plus you get a lengthy interview with Fritz Busch, unfortunately it's in German. But if you're not a "collector" or a financially-frustrated traveler, the question remains should you buy this recording? Yes. This is a great little undiscovered treasure. Busch's tempos really bring out the drama and excitement of the music. The singing is very good, and not just from the big names. But don't forget the big names. Modl's first appearance as the fortune-teller is powerful and arresting (CD1, Track 8). This 1951 recording sounds remarkably good."
Fritz Busch's final opera triumph
Uffe Lindum | Odder Denmark | 05/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Honestly I roared with laughter reading the cover notes of Fritz Busch, the conductor of this recording. The notes claim that being the general music director at the Semper Opera in Dresden, he `gave several good performances of opera's by E van Suchs'. In German you can read that he succeeded masterly the first performance opera tradition carried out by E. van Such. Now what is correct - and who the heck is E. van Such(s)? He is nobody. Absolutely nobody. Fritz Busch took over in Dresden after Fritz Reiner, the successor of - Ernst von Schuch, who conducted the world premieres of Richard Strauss' Salome, Elektra and Rosenkavalier in 1905, 1907 and 1911. May I as kindly as possible advise Gala to reconsider this cover rubbish and issue another cover text by someone who has the necessary competence to render such (Such?) information. In this concert performance of Un Ballo in Maschera we listen to among others a soprano who began as a contralto, Walburga Wegner, and a contralto who also sang soprano roles, Martha Mödl who was the marvellous first Isolde in Bayreuth after WW II (with Ramón Vinay). Both provide vast horizons of singing, Wegner with an incredibly equal soprano from bottom to pitch, and Mödl with the compassionate expression that was hers. My first listening gave me the impression of Lorenz Fehenberger as a typical German sob-tenor trying to pretend Italian. The second listening, however, revealed to me a fascinating voice with which he `acts' audibly. Anny Schlemm has the right spirit for Oscar which Swedish Birgit Nordin took up just few years after this recording when the Stockholm opera performed the opera in Swedish with Ragnar Ulfung and Aase Nordmo Løvberg. To me, unfortunately, the very young Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a major disappointment singing mechanically as if he kept his head in the score instead of having the score in his head. But the triumph of the performance is with Fritz Busch who lets the music reveal any little nuance in the atmosphere of a royal murder-to-be. Having listened to this recording no one can be in doubt that the musical leadership of exactly this opera which he conducted as a guest at Carl Ebert's Charlottenburger Oper in Berlin, and which confirmed Verdi's definitive success in Germany, reaches its climax in this final opera performance that the now Argentinian citizen living in New York carried out in his native country before his untimely death just 7 months later."
Wrong language done right.
Alan Montgomery | Oberlin, Oh USA | 11/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Don't let the wrong language deter you from this recording. The sound shows its age a bit, but the performance is vital and impressive. Lorenz Fehenberger (my favorite Lohengrin) is Riccardo and sings it brilliantly, with grace and passion. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is Renato, and he convinces that his "wrong" voice is actually correct. You may not know Anny Schlemm, but that is your loss. She is fabulous as Amelia. Fritz Busch holds the whole thing together, the recording made near the end of his life. His attention to orchestral details and to shaping each scene show in number after number. A great recording not to be missed."