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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 20:53:46 -0500
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Sorry, pressed send too quickly: Michael Kater is the author's name.

On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 8:48 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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>>
>>
>

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