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Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Sibelius, Mahler, Messiaen
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Just want to say that this opera is absolutely glorious, one of my top 10 for sure. The blend of naive folksiness and dark, opulent Romanticism is absolutely contagious. One of the best overtures in opera, great orchestration, complex and likable characters, an engaging fantasical plot, and some truly ravishing arias. It reminds me somewhat of a Grimm or Andersen fairy tale. I've only heard the Keilberth, but I have no inclination to hear the generally-recommended Kleiber since Janowitz and Schreier normally don't float my boat. I definitely prefer it to Fidelio and Magic Flute among pre-Wagner German operas.
 
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Schreier is not ideal; I am not even too fond of Adam's Kaspar. The stars of the Kleiber are Janowitz and Kleiber and maybe the Staatskapelle.
I don't prefer it vs. Flute and Fidelio. Freischütz is indebted to both, I believe. The great ensembles at the ends of the first act of Fidelio (with the prisoners returning to their dungeons) and Freischütz (O diese Sonne) seem similar and Florestan's dungeon scene has often been mentioned as having a similarly dark romantic tone (although it is of course rather different from the Wolf's glen).

But Freischütz is certainly a huge step towards both Romanticism and a specifically German opera. I think it does not travel so well and is far more popular in German speaking countries.
 

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Now this is a unique production, and pretty fun one too. I would do away with a couple bits in the Wolf Glen scene (including the self-manipulating rabbit) but otherwise quite a nice production. However, they threw in this bit right before Max notices the wound from the falling portrait, Agathe says this to him (after he lunged toward her suddenly). I do not see that statement in my other two Freischutz DVDs. Is this weird? Was the subtitle guy just having some fun? I don't know German so cannot tell.
 

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Now this is a unique production, and pretty fun one too. I would do away with a couple bits in the Wolf Glen scene (including the self-manipulating rabbit) but otherwise quite a nice production. However, they threw in this bit right before Max notices the wound from the falling portrait, Agathe says this to him (after he lunged toward her suddenly). I do not see that statement in my other two Freischutz DVDs. Is this weird? Was the subtitle guy just having some fun? I don't know German so cannot tell.
I suspect the subtitle guy was having a little joke?:lol:
 
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Listening to Kleiber's recording today, for the first time in a while. I have heard Keilberth and while I don't own it, it's on my wishlist. Der Freischütz is an opera I love, and I wish it were performed more often on my side of the Atlantic. Luckily there are a few great recordings of it and the classic Leopold Ludwig video, which is actually the only version I've ever seen.

I'm wondering about one other name that hasn't come up on this thread: Eugen Jochum. He recorded it in 1959 for Deutsche Grammophon with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (early-ish stereo, just a year after Keilberth). Cast includes Irmgard Seefried as Agathe, Rita Streich as Ännchen, Kurt Böhme as Kaspar, and Eberhard Waechter as Ottokar. Max is sung by Richard Holm. It certainly looks good on paper. What are people's thoughts on this one? Attached are some pictures of the various incarnations I've seen online.


 

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This is one of those operas (like Werther) where there are two different yet equally perfect recordings (IMO) and a few other fine ones as well. It comes down to Keilberth vs. Kleiber, but I like both and find them equally essential. I also like the Furtwaengler live for a different take on the score.

N.
 
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