On 29 Jun 99, at 6:20, Thor Even Brenden wrote:
> I am a great fan of the Norwegian soprano Ingrid Bjoner and have collected
> some great stuff with her. I am looking for people that can give me some
> information about rare recordings with this great soprano.
On Saturday, I was in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square and
came across a recording of Strauss's FEUERSNOT on the Gala
label with Ingrid Bjoner. I believe it was from the mid-sixties. I did
not buy that one. Neither did I buy the Gala recording of Nino
Rota's IL CAPELLO DI PAGLIA DI FIRENZE.
I wish I had passed up the GIULIO CESARE IN EGITTO, also on
Gala, recorded in Carnegie Hall in 1967 (American Opera Society)
featuring Montserrat Caballe (Cleo), Kostas Paskalis (Julie),
Huguette Tourangeau (Cornelia), and Simon Estes (as a "Narrator"
whose English narration is sung as secco recitative).
The sound on this recording is the worst I have heard on the Gala
label; one supposes that the fellow with the tape recorder in his
lap was sitting in the lobby of Carnegie Hall, not the auditorium.
The singers are just barely audible. In some cases, that may be a
blessing in disguise, but I feel I would derive more pleasure out of
Montsy's "Piangero" and "Se pieta" if she didn't sound as if she
were five miles away.
The edition of the score used in this recording is wretched -- in
addition to the aforementioned "recitative" for Simon Estes, Cleo's
first aria "Non disperar" is omitted, and when she gets to "Da
tempeste," which like many baroque arias is written in an A-B-A
structure, she sings only "A" -- no "B" section and no repeat of the
The other singers are Frederick D. Mayor as Sesto and Amin
Feres as Tolomeo. Arnold Gramm conducts.
The only slightly redeeming feature of the entire set is found in the
bonus tracks, which feature Caballe singing Handel and Schubert
in recital with piano (Miguel Zanetti). The Handel consists of "O had
I Jubal's lyre," "Oh, sleep, why dost thou leave me?" and "Trema,
trema, tiranno." These were recorded in November 1970,
purportedly in New York. I like the "Jubal's lyre" best of all. Unless
you are a big "O had I Jubal's lyre" fan, save your money.
I also picked up the Vienna ROSENKAVALIER with Lisa Della
Casa, Sena Jurinac and Hilde Gueden. From what I've heard of it
so far, it is quite a nice performance.
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