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Richard Strauss - Friedenstag [Import]

Deborah Voight , Staatskappelle Dresden , Richard Strauss , Guiseppe Sinopoli Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Richard Strauss - Friedenstag + Richard Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos + Strauss - Elektra
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Product details

  • Conductor: Guiseppe Sinopoli
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (31 May 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B003H2E34M
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,970 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Friedenstag - Various Performers

Product Description

Opéra en 1 acte / Albert Dohmen (Le Commandant), Deborah Voigt (Maria, sa femme), Alfred Reiter (Un Sergent Major), Jochen Kupfer (Un Caporal), Tom Martinsen (Un Soldat)... - Staatskapelle Dresden - Giuseppe Sinopoli, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An adventure ... 5 Mar 2014
By s.s
Verified Purchase
I have just finished listening to this recording, and I can report I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a first performance so much. This is a very much neglected work which requires some explanation. To do justice to the opera and this recording, I have to split the opera into 2 sections. The first half an hour, unfortunately, can only be described as dithering. Some plain arioso drifting across average music. This is a bit of a shame. I can say all this though, because after 30 minutes, out of nowhere, the opera turns into Daphne where it promptly stays a while, then drifts into some excellent baritone passage, resembling very much Jupiter in Die Liebe der Danae, followed by powerful choruses and very powerful music to conclude. I have all but forgotten the fist half an hour because of the immense enjoyment of the rest. Strauss must of all of a sudden woke up from his self pastiche stupor and decided there and then he could do better, and so he did. There is no way of describing this operas music here to the uninitiated without slight comparisons to some of Strauss's other operas. Form the first major scene for Maria, the opera comes alive and remains so. Some of the music is absolutely terrific. I have read, incidentally, someone explain that the music isn't "worthy of Strauss". Have these people ever heard these operas? After a lengthy section with a tenor and soprano with music that puts you completely in the world of Daphne, follows a brilliant baritone aria, that musically, and stylistically puts you wholly in the realm of Danae. The end is simply a vast compilation of grand chorus with strong solo interspersed that leads to a very powerful conclusion. This is certainly NOT musically dull.

It's that start.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting 6 Nov 2013
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Friedenstag will probably never be anyone’s favorite Strauss opera, and not only because of the familiar and disconcerting disconnect between its – rather hollow – theme of peace and the circumstances surrounding its genesis and first performance. “Rather hollow” is probably an understatement, and Strauss himself found the politically motivated libretto “wearisome”. Indeed, it is rather obvious that the musical inspiration wasn’t running at its brightest either. The first third of the opera is indeed rather uneventful, containing mostly wandering ruminations around not-particularly-strong ideas. But then it picks up, and especially the music for the scenes featuring Maria are excellent. The final twenty minutes is a riot of glorious, celebratory fortissimos for full soloists, chorus and full orchestra – not profoundly inspired, certainly, but a rather riveting experience nonetheless.

No, you don’t need many versions of this work – there is only so much different interpretations can achieve. But you do need this one. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more powerful case being made for this music. The Dresden Staatskapelle play their hearts out in the more dramatic (or celebratory) scenes (as does the Staatsopernchor), and the color and subtlety with which they imbue the music elsewhere is remarkable. What Sinopoli does with the work – and in particular those otherwise rather empty final scenes – is nothing short of marvelous, and he manages to – almost – convince this listener that the music here is worthy of comparison with Strauss at his best. There is such verve and power in this performance that it almost makes up for the lack of truly inspired content.

The soloists are excellent as well. Alfred Dohnen’s Commandant is brilliant – he carries the weight, beauty and nobility to make this character not only realistic but sympathetic. The smaller roles – mostly male – are uniformly very good as well. However, the star of the show – apart from Sinopoli and the orchestra – is, as it has to be in this work, Deborah Voigt’s magnificent Maria. Yes, it is almost a little bit over the top, the way she brings out the emotional range, subtleties and personal characteristics of this character, but the vigor and passion and power in Voight’s interpretation really makes for an unforgettable experience.

So there it is. This is, I’d say, something of an essential acquisition, and in particular if you are otherwise a fan of Strauss’s operas. It is, indeed, a far cry from his best works, but the performances here are outstanding enough to make this a unique experience. The Deutsche Grammophon sound is superb as well.
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