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Thread: Fidelio CD recomendations?

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    Member ZombieBeethoven's Avatar
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    Default Fidelio CD recomendations?

    Recommendations and perhaps a note about what attracts you to that album. Thank you in advance.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Welcome, ZombieBeethoven! I'm sort of the resident Fidelio fanatic at this forum (note the avatar), so I think I can give you some recommendations. I'll caveat this by mentioning that my preferences for voices in the two leading roles run toward the more lyrical rather than the "hochdramatische," and that preference, of course, affects my suggestions.

    For a DVD:

    0807280711196.jpg
    The 2004 Zürich Opera production under Harnoncourt is my favorite overall recording of this opera. The staging is fairly traditional (no Don Fernando turning up in the guise of The Joker, etc.). Camilla Nylund (Leonore) and Jonas Kaufmann (Florestan) are two of my top choices in their respective roles. Both sing Beethoven's difficult music with great tonal beauty and technical skill, are dramatically involved with their characters, and even look the part convincingly. Kaufmann is the best Florestan I've ever heard (and I've heard many!).

    For CD recordings, here would be my top picks:
    - Abbado; Stemme, Kaufmann, Struckmann, et. al.
    4782551.jpg
    Kaufmann's Florestan is the primary reason for this choice, alomg with Abbado's superb conducting. Nina Stemme is a satisfactory Leonore, though not one of my favorites. A big warning with this recording, though: Tatiana Gurbaca has tampered with the dialogue to the point of butchery. Much is missing, especially in Act II.

    - Masur; Altmeyer, Jerusalem, Nimsgern, et. al.
    eur93233.jpg
    This is a good, all-around cast, with Siegfried Jerusalem (Florestan) the best of the three leads. Jeannine Altmeyer is an appealingly feminine Leonore, and Siegmund Nimsgern is one of the better Pizarros around -- sings his music instead of snarling and shouting it. The dialogue has been judiciously edited, but remains largely intact.

    - Klemperer; Jurinac, Vickers, et. al.
    0749677132828.jpg
    This is not the Klemperer recording that is so often recommended, but the version with the cast that Klemperer preferred: the 1961 Royal Opera House production. Jon Vickers' Florestan has never been my cup of tea, but many people love him in this role. You may be one of them. Instead of Christa Ludwig, Sena Jurinac sings Leonore. Klemperer wanted her for the studio recording, but Walter Legge was insisting on Birgit Nilsson; they compromised by casting Ludwig. To my ears, Jurinac is absolutely the best in this role -- beautiful, warmly feminine sound, high degree of technical skill, and a moving actress.

    - Knappertsbusch; Jurinac, Peerce, Neidlinger, et. al.
    1904835.jpg
    If you aren't keen on Vickers, either, the Knappertsbusch can be a good alternative to Klemperer. But, again, a warning: "Kna"'s tempos are absolutely tortoise-paced.

    - Fricsay; Rysanek, Haefliger, Fischer-Dieskau, et. al.
    This recording has probably the best Pizarros on disk -- Fischer-Dieskau. Even though this role is often sung by a bass-baritone, F-D's true lyric baritone has the range and agility to cope with Beethoven's writing. And he is positively one of the most truly menacing Pizarros I've ever heard. Haefliger is a lyric Florestan, Rysanek rather a blowsy (to my ears) Leonore.

    There several other recordings, including a few of the 1805 original version, that I could also recommend. (Though I suspect I've already provided way more information than you wanted!)

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Here is the Fricsay recording:
    1196693.jpg

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    Thank you, MAuer. That was exactly the kind of advice that I wanted.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Here is another good, all-around recording:
    - Halasz; Nielsen, Winbergh, Held, et. al.
    1043822.jpg
    The late Inga Nielsen had a repertoire that extended from Mozart's Konstanze to Strauss's Salome and some of Wagner's heroines. The late Gösta Winbergh also began his career singing Mozart, and later "graduated" to the juvenile dramatic roles.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Klemperer or the inexcusibly underrated Karajan EMI with Vickers. more exciting and best executed than any.

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    Default My Beethoven Fidelio "HOT" Pick

    41BsanWNtzL._SS400_.jpg

    Ludwig van Beethoven - Fidelio, Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus and Christine Brewer (LSO Live, 2007, Hybrid SACD/CD - DSD, Import)
    Last edited by rsmithor; Feb-25-2012 at 10:38.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Here is another good, all-around recording:
    - Halasz; Nielsen, Winbergh, Held, et. al.
    1043822.jpg
    The late Inga Nielsen had a repertoire that extended from Mozart's Konstanze to Strauss's Salome and some of Wagner's heroines. The late Gösta Winbergh also began his career singing Mozart, and later "graduated" to the juvenile dramatic roles.
    Yes I really like the Halasz Fidelio very much but my favorite is Bernstein:

    61e1QtHQzpL.jpg

    I am captivated by the voices of nearly every singer on the Bernstein Fidelio. It's probably a toss up between Bernstein and Halasz but the fact that I have the DVD of Bernstein (live performance vs studio recording for the CD with most of the same singers) is likely coloring my favoritism of the Bernstein Fidelio.
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Dec-22-2013 at 04:47.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Klemperer or the inexcusibly underrated Karajan EMI with Vickers. more exciting and best executed than any.
    I couldn't disagree more. Klemperer's reading is dreadfully boring, which is sad given that he had the best cast on disc. Fidelio is one of my favorite operas, and no conductor has come close to capturing the emotional magnificence of Fidelio than Bernstein. His recording is powerful, thrilling, beautiful and emotional. It is also very well sung. I've never understood the praise Klemperer gets - he's just overwhelmingly sluggish and has no sense of drama. These are of course my opinions. To each his own. I recommend you listen to samples on iTunes before you buy. You may love Klemperer.... many do, but for me Bernstein's set is unrivaled. Kaufmann is amazing for Abbado, but as a whole it just doesn't measure up to Bernstein.
    Last edited by gellio; Dec-22-2013 at 05:40.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Bernstein misses the mark on this opera.
    Klemperer or Karajan. I have both.
    Last edited by Itullian; Dec-22-2013 at 15:46.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    What are thoughts on the Met / Levine DVD?
    -Ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Bernstein misses the mark on this opera.
    Klemperer or Karajan. I have both.
    I think Klemperer and Karajan miss the mark. Interest you have the exact opposite opinion as I.

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    This is awesome: Fidelio: Live recording from the 1978 Vienna State Opera, conducted by Bernstein.

    While I have the sound recording, it unfortunately is a studio recording. So I always listen to the live DVD recording which is much better, having more emotion especially from Janowitz, and is overall a far more realistic and lively performance than the studio recording.

    Well now they are releasing the live performance on CDs, along with a blue ray video disk.

    I don't have a blue ray player but want to get this just for the CDs!
    “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” — Richard P. Feynman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    This is awesome: Fidelio: Live recording from the 1978 Vienna State Opera, conducted by Bernstein.

    While I have the sound recording, it unfortunately is a studio recording. So I always listen to the live DVD recording which is much better, having more emotion especially from Janowitz, and is overall a far more realistic and lively performance than the studio recording.

    Well now they are releasing the live performance on CDs, along with a blue ray video disk.

    I don't have a blue ray player but want to get this just for the CDs!
    I saw that one, I will wait a bit whilst the price will come down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    I saw that one, I will wait a bit whilst the price will come down.
    Exactly! Also, what chance they release the live on a CD only set?
    “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” — Richard P. Feynman

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