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Subject: Re: Favorite Ariadne recording?
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 7 Feb 2018 20:48:53 -0500
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Discomfort comes from the lingering and haunting thought that at that very
same time when these performances were taking place, millions of innocent
souls were being exterminated in gas chambers with industrial efficiency.
It's not a statement about the musicians, but about these horrific
circumstances that were also a part of the reality. Of course, you are
correct about the musicians who stayed and worked there... they range from
those who actively collaborated with the regime to others who simply had
nowhere else to go and had to continue to work in their homeland. I highly
recommend Marek's THE TWISTED MUSE about the interesting and, from what I
could see, thoroughly documented history of many prominent composers and
performers of the time, and their very different life journeys through this
most troubling period in their countries (mostly Germany and Austria).

Vesna

P.S. I see that a little 'autocorrect ' gremlin crept into my post as well,
changing Seefried into Siegfried. Well, at least it has some operatic
knowledge!

On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 8:17 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> What is it about a performance that took place in wartime
> Germany that makes anyone "uncomfortable"; are all the
> artists involved assumed to have been monsters because
> they didn't refuse to participate?   Wouldn't it be odd if they
> had NOT performed Strauss's music then, not to mention
> Beethoven and Wagner?
>
> The Composer is my favorite soprano in  ARIADNE, and I wish
> Teresa  Stratas, who was still portraying her as splendidly in 1994
> at the Met, as she had done in 1967 in Munich, had been cast
> in one of the "official" recordings
>
> dtmk.
>
> On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 7:27 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>> Rich and list,
>>
>> That 1944 live recording is a vintage ARIADNE that I wouldn't want to be
>> without (while also sharing with Rich some degree of discomfort given the
>> wartime circumstances). If you are open for more live recordings then the
>> 1954 Salzburg with Della Casa, Siegfried, Gueden, Schock, again under Bohm
>> would be my second choice. (I'm thrilled to read Bob R.'s endorsement of
>> Della Casa's sublime Ariadne.) Among several good studio choices, I go
>> back
>> to Kempe who, of all conductors, carried Bohm's mantle most fittingly for
>> this opera, IMO. The cast is mostly good to excellent, led by Janowitz's
>> wonderful Ariadne. Kempe's conducting and ensemble is anything but
>> artificial and deliberate, which I'm afraid mars the recording with
>> Schwarzkopf and Karajan. (Though this is my favorite Strauss opera, there
>> are some studio recordings I haven't heard, including Leinsdorf).
>>
>> On video, the Salzburg production from the 60s has Bohm in the pit, the
>> marvelous Jurinac as Composer, Reri Grist's superb Zerbinetta, .... enough
>> golden singing and conducting to have this video despite a slightly
>> inferior Ariadne by comparison. I also very much enjoy the Met's
>> performance under Levine with a truly great cast (Jesse Norman, Troyanos,
>> Battle - wow!). I saw a couple of modern productions, including
>> Glyndebourne's disastrous directorial approach that totally sidetracked
>> from the Strauss-Hofmmanstahl conception, but they are easily forgettable.
>> I'm also curious if there are any other video recommendations.
>>
>> One recording I think is worth exploring is the one I actually haven't yet
>> heard but is high up on my bucket list: the original version led by Nagano
>> with Margaret Price's Ariadne, Sumi Jo's Zerbinetta, and Winbergh's
>> Bacchus. Besides the historical attraction to hear the opera's early
>> version, the cast also surely looks very promising.
>>
>> Vesna
>>
>> On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 2:13 PM, Bradley Wilber <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > I'd be glad for people to include successful videos in this discussion
>> as
>> > well.
>> >
>> > Brad
>> >
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: Discussion of opera and related issues [mailto:
>> > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Donald Levine
>> > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 2:03 PM
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > Subject: Re: Favorite Ariadne recording?
>> >
>> > I am with Max regarding the Victor 1961 Ariadne auf Naxos.  As Max has
>> > said, the sound picture is gorgeous and for me, Leonie is a magnificent
>> > Ariadne - but as any of you who know me would know, Leonie can do no
>> > wrong.  I heard her in the house later and she remains my favorite.
>> Peters
>> > is wonderful - I never expected she had it in her but she did.  Peerce
>> is a
>> > fine Bacchus, personally I prefer King, but I'll take Peerce.  My
>> > preference for the Komponist has always been a soprano and Jurinac is
>> in a
>> > class of her own.  The rest of this performance is well cast and its
>> one of
>> > Leinsdorf's better efforts.
>> >
>> > I also have a soft spot the 1944 Strauss birthday celebration from
>> Vienna
>> > with Bohm conducting the great Maria Reining, Alda Noni, Irmgard
>> Seefried,
>> > Max Lorenz and Paul Schoeffler.  From the Kempe set, there is the
>> luxurious
>> > gorgeous singing of  Gundula Janowitz, Teresa Zylis-Gara  and James
>> King.
>> >
>> > It's an opera that has been well served on disc with many outstanding
>> > casts.  Also notable is the Kent Nagano recording of the original opera
>> > only with Margaret Price, Sumi Jo and Gosta Winbergh.
>> >
>> > Donald
>> >
>> > On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 11:21 AM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> >
>> > > I loved things like “Es gibt ein Reich” from the get-go, but it took
>> > > me some years to “get” “Ariadne auf Naxos” overall. Seeing a
>> > > performance with a bass-player friend around 20 years ago, she turned
>> > > to me at one point and said “This is really an opera with an inside
>> > story for musicians.”
>> > >
>> > > I agree that this was a Böhm specialty. Aside from the performances
>> > > you mention, I also really like the mid 50s Salzburg production with
>> > > Della Casa, Seefried and Gueden.
>> > >
>> > > My favorite overall recording is the Karajan. Did he ever conduct this
>> > > on stage? I don’t think he did, as with “Cosi fan Tutte” but the
>> > > recordings are exquisite.
>> > >
>> > > I also like the Leinsdorf that even today, pushing 60, has the best
>> > > recorded sound. Rysanek at that point was, to me, the operatic
>> > > equivalent of Kim Novak: a bit blowsy and unkempt but still gorgeous
>> and
>> > voluptuous.
>> > > Maybe it was my ignorance, but I found Peters a delightful surprise as
>> > > Zerbinetta, not only vocally but also in terms of Strauss musical
>> style.
>> > > She sounds like she might have made a very fine Sophie. Peerce is a
>> > > really pleasant surprise as Bacchus. Jurinac is Jurinac.
>> > >
>> > > Another one I really like is the EMI Kempe.
>> > >
>> > > I’ve seen several really fine Composers, but on records I find
>> > > Seefried and Jurinac both bring extraordinary compelling qualities in
>> > > terms of the persona presented through the voice.
>> > >
>> > > An example of how important the orchestral sound is to an opera like
>> > > this is the Solti recording, in which the London Philharmonic that
>> > > sounds so good on Solti’s Mozart recordings, sounds so wrong. There
>> > > are other problems with this recording such as how unflattering the
>> > > microphone was to Leontyne Price at that point (she sounded much
>> > > better in the role live), but the framework constructed by the
>> > > orchestra sounds so inferior to the Vienna and Dresden orchestras, or
>> > > what Karajan was able to get from the Philharmonia.
>> > >
>> > > The Böhm studio recording, with some significant soloists, is
>> > > disappointing. Hillebrecht sounds to me like all of Rysanek’s
>> > > weaknesses without her mitigating qualities.
>> > >
>> > > Max Paley
>> > >
>> > > Sent from my iPhone
>> > >
>> > > > On Feb 7, 2018, at 08:09, Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]
>> >
>> > > wrote:
>> > > >
>> > > > One of the operas I can never tire of is Ariadne auf Naxos--I don't
>> > > think I have ever heard a dull or routine performance of the work
>> > > (although I may just be blessed in this respect). It has been
>> > > well-served on disk with both studio and live performances. My go-to
>> > > conductor for Strauss is Bohm, and I find his Ariadne performances a
>> > > cut above most others. One of my favorite recordings is the live 1944
>> > > Bohm from Vienna, part of Strauss's 80th birthday celebrations (a
>> > > celebration only reluctantly sanctioned, given the Nazis' difficult
>> > > relationship with Strauss), with a wonderful
>> > > cast: Maria Reining as Ariadne, Max Lorenz as Bacchus, Alda Noni as
>> > > Zerbinetta and Seefried as the Composer (I am ever torn between
>> > > Seefried and Jurinac in that role.) The recent remasters are in
>> > > surprisingly good sound given the age of the recording. (I do admit to
>> > > having some trouble listening to it, knowing the circumstances of the
>> > > performance.)
>> > > >
>> > > > For more recent recordings my favorites are the Karajan with
>> > > > Schwarzkopf
>> > > and Schock and the live Bohm with Janowitz and a young Gruberova--but
>> > > with the caveat that I have never enjoyed the timbre of James King's
>> > > voice, and far prefer Gary Lakes on the Levine recording, even though
>> > > Lakes makes a rather bland Bacchus. There is much to recommend in the
>> > > Sinopoli set--his last opera recording--although as was sometimes the
>> > > case with that conductor, the tempos are often too extreme.
>> > > >
>> > > > What other recordings do listers recommend?
>> > > >
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