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Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail/Exsultate, jubilate (DG The Originals)

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Performer: Maria Stader, Rita Streich, Ernst Haefliger, Martin Vantin
  • Orchestra: Berlin RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (6 May 2003)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: The Originals
  • ASIN: B000006144
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 456,290 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Description

STADER / STREICH / FRICSAY / R

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By John Austin HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 2004
Format: Audio CD
This marvellous Mozart opera, with possibly only one "dud" number in it and a vaudeville finale, seems to have been in production in many recording studios in the 1950s. In Vienna a recording was in charge of Josef Krips, in London Beecham was preparing his inimitable version, and in Berlin Ferenc Fricsay was the conductor in this DGG recording. Each recording has been reissued and remastered, and of them all I have come to prefer this one.
While Fricsay's direction has many strengths and almost no weaknesses, and while the cast has no weaknesses at all, it is principally the quality of the recording and the remastering that wins me over. The clarity and glow on the sound spectrum is outstanding for a recording of 1954 vintage. I admit that the voices are given undue prominence and the upper ends of the ladies' voices are given additional undue prominence, but the balance and engineering, whether manufactured or lopsided, give a wonderfully vivid aural image. A vivid aural image is necessary in an opera such as this, where lengthy arias and minimal action sometimes militate against success in the opera house itself.
Another admission, and one that worries me not at all, is that all the singers, apart from Rita Streich and Josef Greindl, have actors to provide their spoken dialogue. Attending to the "lion's share" of the tenor's music as Belmonte is the Swiss tenor Ernst Haefliger who, at this stage of his career, sings with sweet and supple voice. The Konstanze is Maria Stader, strong and reliable enough in technique and vocal resources for meeting the demands especially of her eight-minute aria "Marten aller Arten". Martin Vantin is a lively Pedrillo who makes the most of the little romanze "Im Mohrenland".
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By A Customer on 26 Nov. 1999
Format: Audio CD
This recording is very good indeed. Fricsay's readings of Mozart's operatic scores are always very lively and inciting - listen to his "The Marriage of Figaro", too. The cast is superb - no other word covers. Especially Josef Greindl as Osmin, the grumpy guardian of the seraglio, manages to give a portrait both comic and demonic. But really, there are none of the soloists that are not great. If you've never heard the voice of Maria Stader (Konstanze), do yourself the favour of purchasing a record featuring her - for example this one. Six stars of five possible!
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Format: Audio CD
Having long sought in vain the perfect recording of this opera, I am indebted to fellow reviewer "Canzone" for recommending this one. I have until now opted for the Colin Davis version on Philips, which is undoubtedly very fine but this set has the advantage of sounding more cohesive and idiomatic. Whether you buy this on DG or on the bargain Membran label, you will be getting what is probably the best ensemble performance of this comic opera despite its being nearly sixty years old at the time of writing.

Of course, it is in mono but it is vintage mono sound, with the voices well forward and everything crystal clear. Fricsay was well ahead of the Period Pack with his orchestras of no more than fifty or forty instrumentalists; the playing is fleet, agile, energised and beautifully sprung; elegance and transparency are the hallmarks of the RIAS band and the Janissary music is given real bounce. Furthermore, wonder of wonders, the actors' voices actually match those of the singers and there is no jarring transition from dialogue to singing. "Resident Bayreuth Cave Man" Josef Greindl demonstrates his versatility and flair for comedy by both singing and speaking the role of Osmin; he has the low notes and relishes the moustache-twirling without hamming it up.

Ernst Haefliger, also the Belmonte on the good Peter Maag set recorded four years later, is not the most charismatic of tenors but he sings sweetly and truly, in long-breathed phrases, coping easily with the demands of "Ich baue ganz" (yes; we get that aria, so often cut) even if he is a little low-key. For me the star of the show is Rita Streich, whose Blonde is absolutely charming. In fact, she has a more beautiful voice than the Constanze, Maria Stader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet. Stunning. 29 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite recording of Entfuhrung. Fricsay's conducting trips lightly along, without the artificial weight or dragging which one hears too often, and without going overboard in the fast sections. Maria Stader is thoughtful but not heavy and her coloratura gleams and shines. Ernst Haeflinger's voice is not as brilliant as, say, Fritz Wunderlich's, but his acting is sincere naive, and utterly charming.
Josef Greindl's snarling heavyweight bass demonstrates dexterous coluratura singing across the whole range, including a vibrant full low D ("... hab' ich vor euch RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHE!") He sings consistantly, without the grunting, barking, or shouts which characterize too many Osmin interpreters. It's also a pleasure to hear him in the spoken bits. His buffo tantrums make me think of Jackie Gleason in "the Honeymooners", --huge, abrupt, menacing, but also funny. You can almost hear his eyes popping out of his head in his rage.
Fricsay understands that in Mozart, there's no such thing as an uncomplicated love. The second part of the quartet in the second act--where the tenors question whether their girlfriends have been faithful during their forced separation, and the girls respond with indignation--demonstrates the risk of pain, without violating the pervasive frolicsome ambiance.
The recording maintains a spontaneous, "live" feeling throughout. My only complaint about it is that the spoken parts of Belmonte, Pedrillo, and Constanze are read by separate actors; only Rita Streich and Josef Greindl speak their parts as well as singing. Their scene together (which culminates in the high-low quarrel duet "Ich gehe, doch rate ich dir ..." is a real speaking-singing-acting clinic; I wish we could have heard something similar from the other singers in this fantastic recording.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous "Entfuhrung" that belies its age. 12 Sept. 2004
By John Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This marvelous Mozart opera, with possibly only one "dud" number in it and a vaudeville finale, seems to have been in production in many recording studios in the 1950s. In Vienna a recording was in charge of Josef Krips, in London Beecham was preparing his inimitable version, and in Berlin Ferenc Fricsay was the conductor in this DGG recording. Each recording has been reissued and remastered, and of them all I have come to prefer this one.

While Fricsay's direction has many strengths and almost no weaknesses, and while the cast has no weaknesses at all, it is principally the quality of the recording and the remastering that wins me over. The clarity and glow on the sound spectrum is outstanding for a recording of 1954 vintage. I admit that the voices are given undue prominence and the upper ends of the ladies' voices are given additional undue prominence, but the balance and engineering, whether manufactured or lopsided, give a wonderfully vivid aural image. A vivid aural image is necessary in an opera such as this, where lengthy arias and minimal action sometimes militate against success in the opera house itself.

Another admission, and one that worries me not at all, is that all the singers, apart from Rita Streich and Josef Greindl, have actors to provide their spoken dialogue. Attending to the "lion's share" of the tenor's music as Belmonte is the Swiss tenor Ernst Hafliger who, at this stage of his career, sings with sweet and supple voice. The Konstanze is Maria Stader, strong and reliable enough in technique and vocal resources for meeting the demands especially of her eight-minute aria "Marten aller Arten". Martin Vantin is a lively Pedrillo who makes the most of the little romanze "Im Mohrenland". Rita Streich, who regarded this as one of her best opera recordings, is the Blonde, and Josef Greindl, aided a little by sound engineering, displays the full range of the bass voice and not too much buffoonery as Osmin.

As a bonus, filling the second CD, is included a recording from earlier in 1954 of Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate" sung with great assurance if not hectic joyfulness by Maria Stader.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Una grabación suntuosa 9 Jan. 2007
By P. Emilio Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Esta grabación del Rapto del Serrallo es mítica y muy bien conocida por todos los amantes de la opera y los mozartianos en especial. La dirección de Fricsay es absolutamente fantástica. Lo que se escucha en esta grabación, desde el punto de vista orquestal, es una absoluta delicia de comienzo a fin. El control férreo y perfecto del ritmo, el sorpendente control del rubato y el refinamiento son de absoluta antología. Las grabaciones de las opera de Mozart, por lo demás, son muy famosas, siendo consideradas por muchos especialistas, como un verdadero monumento musical. El cast es excelente también, Maria Stader puede considerarse una de las mejores interpretes de este rol. Su coloratura es incisiva, penetrante, dramática y llena de significado. La densidad tímbrica y lirismo, es dificil de encontrar en otras intérpretes. Ernest Häfliger, fue el tenor favorito de Fricsay y está presente en todas sus grabaciones. Es cierto que Fritz Wunderlich, Leopold Simoneau y Anton Dermota tenian voces mas llamativas, y sus interpretaciones son quizas mas famosas, pero la interpretación de Háfliger es una delicia también. Su estilo es muy espiritual, musical y delicado (hay que recordar que fue alumno del gran Julius Patzak), lo cual es de agradecer en una opera de Mozart. Josef Greindl es el bajo perfecto para el rol de Osmin. Voz potente e impetuosa, de color oscuro y tenebrosa, fraseo inteligente e incisivo. Su Osmin muestra el justo balance entre canto serio y bufo de forma admirable. Rita Streich es una verdadera maravilla como Blonde. Su voz cristalina, penetrante y su estilo de gran naturalidad y musicalidad la hacen imbatible en este rol. Sus arias están cantadas de manera ideal, tanto por voz como por estilo interpretativo. Como consecuencia de todo lo dicho, puede decirse que es una versión plenamente recomendable y probablemente una de las mejores de la discografía de esta obra. De todos modos, habría que conocer también las grabaciones de Beecham, Krips, Jochum y Bóhm, que son igualmente magníficas.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure joy... Conveys the message of the work. 28 Jun. 2009
By Pavel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Together with his DGG Don Giovanni, this is one of the happiest Fricsay's Mozart recordings. The tempi are rather on the fast side, but never exaggerated or unnatural (I sometimes have this feeling listening to Fricsay's Magic Flute). The year of the recording is 1954 and what we get is a wonderfully clear and full-bodied yet crispy mono sound.
As common in the period, the spoken dialogues were entrusted to actors. While this may sometimes be a serious problem (the incongruence of the singers' voices and those of the actors spoiled for me Fricsay's Fidelio), I do not find it at all disconcerting here (in general you don't even notice).
Other reviewers analysed the vocal powers of the recording - I am perfectly fine with Fricsay's usual team - Haeflinger, Stader, Streich etc. All together they make for a flawless ensemble, although you may think of preferable casting for individual characters (usually, some people find Maria Stader's voice too thin; on the other hand, her coloratura passages as well as intonation are impeccable).
The orchestral playing is simply delightful. Fricsay makes the best of the chamber-like aspect of Mozart's partition and creates intimate atmosphere, so that you can enjoy every detail of the score. The balance between the orchestra and the singers makes this recording most enjoyable.
All this makes for a perfect equilibrium between the light comic aspect and deeper philosophical meaning of this singspiel. In my opinion, this recording completely succeeds in conveying the message of the work.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Performance 30 April 2002
By T. Beers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviewers that this is still the best recorded performance of "Abduction." I only want to add that, although the sound is mono, the recording still sounds absolutely wonderful. Indeed, in this spectacularly-remastered "Originals" presentation, the recording offers one of the most believable operatic sound stages you will ever hear. DG got absolutely everything right here, beginning with the conductor (the late, much lamented Ferenc Fricsay). Fricsay's "Abduction" truly is a Mozartean experience to savor!
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