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Thread: Let's Talk Fidelio!

  1. #46
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marschallin Blair View Post


    I agree with everything in this post.

    The Klemperer has a reputation among Fidelios which blinds the sun- but not for my money. The Karajan's more caressingly poignant with the orchestral contours and the principals sing more animatedly throughout- as Greg mentioned.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Christa Ludwig, but we're talking Helga Dernesch in her prime where her dulcet voice is of goddess proportions.

    When the Karajan performance came out Klemperer was the height of fashion among the critics as how Beethoven should be conducted. His Fidelio was praised to the skies - it was heresy not to say it was the greatest recording. Hence Karajan's, though admired, didn't get its due. However, with the benefit of years, one can still admire Klemperer's version yet see how much more dramatic Karajan is. But also just see how lovely the canon quartet is in Karajan's recording. It's the one I take off the shelves most often, although at the moment I am coming to terms with his much different live 1960 performance. Did he conduct everything the same as charged? Not on this reckoning. Interesting that Walter Berry, a pretty unmenacing villain for Klemperer, is vastly more sinister with Karajan live.
    Last edited by DavidA; Apr-29-2015 at 21:39.

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    When the Karajan performance came out Klemperer was the height of fashion among the critics as how Beethoven should be conducted. His Fidelio was praised to the skies - it was heresy not to say it was the greatest recording. Hence Karajan's, though admired, didn't get its due. However, with the benefit of years, one can still admire Klemperer's version yet see how much more dramatic Karajan is. But also just see how lovely the canon quartet is in Karajan's recording. It's the one I take off the shelves most often, although at the moment I am coming to terms with his much different live 1960 performance. Did he conduct everything the same as charged? Not on this reckoning. Interesting that Walter Berry, a pretty unmenacing villain for Klemperer, is vastly more sinister with Karajan live.
    Oh God, oh God, oh God- Jesus am I blonde! I never even mentioned Karajan's treatment of the quartet!!!!!!!!!!!!- Thanks for mentioning that, David. I really think that his treatment of it- and Dernesch's and Vicker's singing and harmonizing in it- is perhaps the most beautiful thing I've experienced in all of Beethoven. Its beyond sublime. It really is.

    Thanks for putting the initial reception of the EMI Karajan Fidelio vis-à-vis the Klemperer in its historical context as well.
    "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier and more pleasant creature does not exist." - Thomas Carlyle

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  5. #48
    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post
    I love this opera. Some people hate this opera and think that Beethoven couldn't do it but they are wrong.

    Too bad Beethoven didn't compose more operas .
    He had plans to compose an opera about Attila. I wonder how that opera would have been.

  6. #49
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Just let me put in a word for Klemperer live too on Testament. The recording is pretty poor but it has to be heard for the Pizarro of Hans Hotter. A simply terrifying portrayals! The performance too is generally more dramatic than K's studio version.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I like my Fidelio with gravitas.
    My favorite recordings aren't to popular taste.
    Karajan/Klemperer tied. Karajan more exciting, Klemperer more profound.
    Furtwangler, Knappertsbusch
    I've listened to most of them.
    And do not like Abbado's light, quick way that most do. And you might.

    IMO Fidelio is GREAT music Maybe not technically a great opera, but who cares.
    It's great Beethoven.
    That DVD is a fine one.

    mho

    nice format too
    Karajan is great.
    Klemperer will always be a classic.
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-30-2015 at 02:24.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Just let me put in a word for Klemperer live too on Testament. The recording is pretty poor but it has to be heard for the Pizarro of Hans Hotter. A simply terrifying portrayals! The performance too is generally more dramatic than K's studio version.
    That is one of the things I like about Bernstein's Fidelio: Hans Sotin is a great Pizarro, especially on the DVD. Maybe others don't see it, but then it is somewhat subjective.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  9. #52
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    The Klemperer Fidelio is very good, but... I got as far as Abscheulicher and something then did not seem right. In my opinion, Gundula Janowitz is way better on Abscheulicher than Christa Ludwig. It may be the recording is not as good on the Klemperer, but regardless, Christa's voice seems covered or something, not that it is bad, but in comparison Gundula's voice is very clear.

    But I will finish listening to Klemperer and listen a few more times. It is a very good Fidelio, just I have a great bias for the Bernstein Janowitz.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member GioCar's Avatar
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    My favourite. So full of light and tenderness. And with a great Leonore. I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned it yet.

    I also have the Bernstein and the Abbado which, between the two, is the closest to the Fricsay.

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  12. #54
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GioCar View Post


    My favourite. So full of light and tenderness. And with a great Leonore. I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned it yet.

    I also have the Bernstein and the Abbado which, between the two, is the closest to the Fricsay.
    I did actually mention this is #12 where I said: "Another one worth investigating is the version I got to know the opera with as a lad conducted by Friscay. D F-D a superb Pizarro and Rysanek a passionate Leonore"
    Far more engaging than the Abbado imo

  13. #55
    Senior Member GioCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I did actually mention this is #12 where I said: "Another one worth investigating is the version I got to know the opera with as a lad conducted by Friscay. D F-D a superb Pizarro and Rysanek a passionate Leonore"
    Far more engaging than the Abbado imo
    Oh sorry for that

    edit: but there is a reason...I seached this thread with "Fricsay", but you wrote "Friscay"
    Anyway my fault, I didn't pay attention enough to the previous posts.
    Last edited by GioCar; May-02-2015 at 08:38.

  14. #56
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GioCar View Post
    Oh sorry for that

    edit: but there is a reason...I seached this thread with "Fricsay", but you wrote "Friscay"
    Anyway my fault, I didn't pay attention enough to the previous posts.
    Oh no! I've been spelling it wrongly for the last 50 odd years!

    Thanks for the correction!

  15. #57
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    I had recently considered the Fricsay Fidelio and in fact have a highlights disc from it that is very good.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  16. #58
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Here is an excellent Fidelio, the only one I have heard that comes close to as good of a Leonore as does Gundula Janowitz:

    Be aware that the spoken dialog parts are not in this one. It was done that way on purpose, but there is spoken dialog in the part leading up to the grave digging duet. All the singers in this Fidelio are great. Rene Pape is Rocco. Think I remember Rene from my Meistersinger DVD.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  17. #59
    Senior Member gardibolt's Avatar
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    The Soustrot set with Pamela Coburn is the only recording I know of of the 1806 Leonore, so like it or lump it. I like it.

    The Gardiner Leonore is a weird amalgam of the 1805 and the 1806 versions, and neither fish nor fowl. Avoid it on historical grounds if you want to hear authentic Beethoven, but it's a decent performance of whatever it is.

    The Blomstedt is to my mind the preferred version of the 1805, but it's missing a chunk. To hear the correct 1805 version, you need to track down the WoO 2b "Introduzione al Atto II" which was long believed to be for the play Tarpeja like the Triumphal March WoO 2a, but which has since the time of Blomstedt's recording been identified as the dismembered introduction to the second act of the 3-act 1805 version of Leonore; you need to insert it in Frankenstein-like before the second act. There are a handful of recordings of it out there. Since it's purely instrumental, there's not a big disruption of suddenly hearing foreign voices in the opera. Obviously, this is much easier to accomplish in digital form.

    The Mackerras version of Fidelio includes a recitative for Don Fernando from the Dresden version of the opera that I don't believe is in any other recording. This recitative was cut from what we know as the final version of Fidelio. It's entirely unclear whether Beethoven changed his mind and reinserted it for that performance in Dresden, or whether somehow that cut was just missed in the version for Dresden and it was only there accidentally. But it's there to hear if you want to. Since it's just a recitative you may not be concerned, but it's Beethoven's handiwork if you collect these things obsessively like I do.

    There are a number of variant versions of several numbers (including a bunch of different versions of Marzelline's aria), none of which to my knowledge have ever been recorded.
    Hours of unrecorded, unpublished and unknown Beethoven works at The Unheard Beethoven

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  19. #60
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Hey y'all Fidelio fans, what do you think of this one. Here are the clips.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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