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Ariadne Auf Naxos (Staatskapelle Dresden, Sinopoli)

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (2 CDs)
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Giuseppe Sinopoli
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (15 Oct. 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00005ND47
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,408 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Singing is an effortful business, and with good singers, in the ambience of the theatre, the audience is not conscious of the effort but only of the result -- the accurate pitching, the clean line, the attention to phrasing. On record, the producer needs to be careful to handle the microphone positioning so that what the listener hears is something close to what one might hear in the opera house. When singers usually as reliably steady as Anne Sofie Von Otter and Deborah Voigt sound stressed, then there are problems with equipment placing, and that is a problem in this otherwise fine recording. It's a credit to Ben Heppner and Stephan Genz that they remain steady under the close scrutiny of the recording -- Heppner's Bacchus is, in fact, astoundingly good in very forceful music at the end of the opera, and Voigt is effective there too, though the microphones don't flatter the high hard notes. Earlier in the "Oper" section, in "Es gibt ein Reich," Voigt is very good indeed. The biggest drawback in the "Oper" is Dessay's Zerbinetta -- she makes very heavy weather of "Grossmachtige Prinzessin" and sounds unsteady and shrill for too much of it. Rita Streich's account on the old mono Karajan from 1954 is in a different league. In general, though, the whole Vorspiel business is charmingly done, with Dohmen a fine Music Master and Von Otter an ardent Composer, even when both suffer a bit from the recording. Sinopoli, in his last recording before his untimely death, conducts warmly, and the orchestral sound is fine.

What to make of the opera as a whole? It certainly has its moments, and the Vorspiel is clever and engaging, as is the beginning of the "Oper," but I find the ending a bit anticlimactic. For all Heppner's great singing, his music isn't interesting. If you want transformation in Strauss, go to the beginning of Act Two of "Rosenkavalier." That's magic. This strains to be magic, and that's not the performers' fault.
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Some of the previous Amazon.com reviews of this set are pretty sour and begrudging - I think you have to be rather spoiled not to appreciate the standard of singing, playing and interpretation in this, Sinopoli's operatic recording swansong. I am not saying that you should endorse it simply because it was the final opera recording of a great conductor; I think it can stand on its own without sentimentality. The "Gramophone" reviewer was similarly snooty about the supposed "coldness" of this interpretation, (even though he admitted that that the cast was as spectacular as you could assemble today) but I don't hear it that way. I love the old Kempe recording of this entrancing opera, with Janowitz, Zylis-Gara and Sylvia Geszty, but not even the divine Gundula can sing the highest notes with the ease and purity that Voigt brings to this majestic role. The orchestra is the same in both recordings and the Staatskapelle is wonderful in both - but the extra clarity and depth of sound in the newer recording really permits the listener to hear the nuances and detail of Sinopoli's direction - and they make such a full, rich sound in those magical closing pages, for a mere thirty players.

As much as I admire James King, he does not bring Ben Heppner's refulgence of tone to the killer tenor role of Bacchus. Heppner and Dessay, like Voigt, almost make it sound easy - and perhaps that is why some reviewers accuse them of being "faceless" in their characterisation. I don't find it so; it's such a pleasure to hear three great voices in top form. Perhaps Dessay is too gentle and seductive as Zerbinetta - a tad more acid would not go amiss - but she is witty and knowing, as she should be.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I got the cd The condicion as had name I am very pleased Tnanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinopoli's "Ariadne" is the acme of technical perfection 9 Oct. 2013
By jt52 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 2000 recording of Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" is that rare beast, a very difficult opera - with ornate vocal lines and a complex orchestral accompaniment - done with a truly impressive level of consistent polish. The three lead women vocalists, Deborah Vogt. Anne Sofie von Otter and maybe most notably Natalie Dessay, all sing extremely well. They are joined by capable supporting roles and a well-done male lead from Ben Heppner and also very refined work from Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Staatskapelle Dresden, an orchestra with a long-standing tradition of superb Strauss performances. Add to that the excellent sonics from the DG engineers and you have a state-of-the-art recording that's close to a must-own for the fan of Strauss operas, of which I certainly am one.

In terms of the actual opera, "Ariadne" does not seem to me to up to the standards of other Strauss stage works from the era. The Hugo von Hoffmanstahl libretto is very clever and creative, but the self-conscious, ironic approach, novel when conceived in the 1910s, has lost some of its edge as these ideas have so permeated our culture to approach the commonplace. The telescoping into the actual story of Ariadne and back out to the backstage maneuvering and improvisations by the performers fundamentally changes the story and makes it an opera that is really more about theater than the Greek myth it purportedly re-tells. It really should be titled "Ariadne am Theater."

Mixed in with this duality - on stage and off -- are two others:

Zerbinetta (Dessay) - The Composer (Otter): The conflict between the comedic, improvisatory low art of Zerbinetta and the Composer's structured, elevated grand opera.

Zerbinetta - The Composer/Ariadne (Vogt): The contrast between fidelity and true love, exemplified by Ariadne's devotion to Theseus in spite of his abandonment, and the cheery acceptance of serial affairs by the unchaste Zerbinetta.

This is all promising but I find the music, while occasionally inspiring, to be uneven. The centerpiece of the opera for me and many others is the big Zerbinetta szena, "Great Princess" (here found on track 1 of disc 2), a rich and consistently interesting 10-minute long piece of vocal pyrotechnics. This CD-set is marked by a remarkable rendition by Natalie Dessay. I have long been impressed with Edith Gruberova's performance in the Leontyne Price/Solti recording of "Ariadne" form the 1970s, an amazing display of artistic and technical ability. Dessay I think comprehensively supersedes it. Also notable is the final scene, with fine singing from Vogt and Heppner, another consistently engaging piece of music. Unfortunately, there are misses, including the final aria of the Prologue, in which the Composer (Otter) laments the fate of his art and his "Ariadne", a set piece I have never found as striking as it could be.

But Sinopoli and crew make the best possible case for "Ariadne", the flower of what must have been exhaustive rehearsing and years of technical and artistic effort by a set of gifted and able musicians. 5 stars.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Luxurious, Perfect Ariadne 12 April 2007
By The Cultural Observer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't understand why some reviewers would give this magnificent recording less than five stars, because the cast, the conductor, and the orchestra are caught at the top of their game! Even if Giuseppe Sinopoli were replaced by a lesser conductor and the orchestra had been the Bavarian Radio or the RAI Symphony, the vocal forces assembled around this Ariadne are simply sensational! Best of the lot is Deborah Voigt's Ariadne, who is in my opinion the best soprano to have ever sung the part. It lacks the self-conscious, academic interpretation of Schwarzkopf and the indulgent jazz swoops of Jessye Norman, but that is all for the better considering how Voigt gets into the part of the character. Her luscious, silvery, creamy voice works wonders for the part of the prima donna, and her Ariadne is sung with a sense of Grecian abandon unheard in sopranos before her. I would say that this perhaps is the best recording of her discography, and brava to Deborah Voigt for making a specialty out of this role!

Voigt is partnered by the likes of Ben Heppner, Dessay, Von Otter, and Dohmen, artists of a prime calibre who are able to bring an interpretive grain to their music. Ben Heppner's large, heroic timbre fits Bacchus' high-lying, difficult music perfectly, and it is wonderful to know that he has finally overcome that vocal crisis of his so that he can once again share that voice of his with us. I don't think I've ever heard Bacchus sung better by any tenor except James King. Natalie Dessay is a three-dimensional Zerbinetta with sexiness, naughtiness, and warmth, and she is also equipped with all the coloratura in the world to perform the part's difficult pyrotechnics. Her transformation in the opera is a portrayal of this great artist's skill in turning this essentially cardboard role into a character full of life, wisdom, and compassion. I would take her Zerbinetta any day over Gruberova! Von Otter is sensational as the Composer, her chiaroscuro timbre portraying the polar temperament of this character. Although she would never erase the memories of Tatiana Troyanos, von Otter is nonetheless a prime interpreter of the part with a knack for uncovering the dramatic nuances of the part. Albert Dohmen is a vocally endowed music-master, better than the dry-voiced Fischer-Dieskau in his recording with Masur.

Of course, this recording would not achieve its legendary status without Sinopoli and the Dresden forces, perhaps the greatest Straussian orchestra in the world. Sinopoli conducts the score with outstanding clarity, movement, and verve, every instrument speaking out of the pages with an Italianate passion that only he could bring to the score. Oh that we would hope that he had lived longer to conduct Die Liebe der Danae with this team!

In short, this recording is highly recommended!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ariadne I have ever heard 14 Feb. 2011
By Jan Leeds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like R. Strauss, and this particular opera, then you are going to LOVE this recording. It is truly has the best voices, symphony and conductor I have ever heard doing Ariadne. The vendor sent it to me promptly , and I am thrilled to own it !
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Strauss fans. 4 Mar. 2014
By Richard I. Harper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A great recording.

The cast and recording are first rate. Deborah Voight is especially good. It arrived on time and in good conditionl\.
4.0 out of 5 stars an honorable effort 8 Nov. 2013
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Singing is an effortful business, and with good singers, in the ambience of the theatre, the audience is not conscious of the effort but only of the result -- the accurate pitching, the clean line, the attention to phrasing. On record, the producer needs to be careful to handle the microphone positioning so that what the listener hears is something close to what one might hear in the opera house. When singers usually as reliably steady as Anne Sofie Von Otter and Deborah Voigt sound stressed, then there are problems with equipment placing, and that is a problem in this otherwise fine recording. It's a credit to Ben Heppner and Stephan Genz that they remain steady under the close scrutiny of the recording -- Heppner's Bacchus is, in fact, astoundingly good in very forceful music at the end of the opera, and Voigt is effective there too, though the microphones don't flatter the high hard notes. Earlier in the "Oper" section, in "Es gibt ein Reich," Voigt is very good indeed. The biggest drawback in the "Oper" is Dessay's Zerbinetta -- she makes very heavy weather of "Grossmachtige Prinzessin" and sounds unsteady and shrill for too much of it. Rita Streich's account on the old mono Karajan from 1954 is in a different league. In general, though, the whole Vorspiel business is charmingly done, with Dohmen a fine Music Master and Von Otter an ardent Composer, even when both suffer a bit from the recording. Sinopoli, in his last recording before his untimely death, conducts warmly, and the orchestral sound is fine.

What to make of the opera as a whole? It certainly has its moments, and the Vorspiel is clever and engaging, as is the beginning of the "Oper," but I find the ending a bit anticlimactic. For all Heppner's great singing, his music isn't interesting. If you want transformation in Strauss, go to the beginning of Act Two of "Rosenkavalier." That's magic. This strains to be magic, and that's not the performers' fault.
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