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R Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Gundula Janowitz, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Sylvia Geszty, James King
  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Rudolf Kempe
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (21 Sept. 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Opera
  • ASIN: B00000DOAA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ouverture
  2. Mein Herr Haushofmeister!
  3. Lieber Freund!
  4. O, Ich Mocht' Vieles Andern
  5. Das! Fur Einen Bacchus!
  6. Erst Nach Der Oper Kommen Wir Daran
  7. Nach Meiner Oper?
  8. Meine Partner!
  9. Die Herrschaften Stehen Vom Tisch Auf!
  10. Ich WeiB Nicht...
  11. Nein, Herr, So Kommt Es Nicht!
  12. Kindskopf! Merkt Auf...
  13. An Ihre Platze, Meine Damen Und Herrn!
  14. Ouverture
  15. Schlaft Sie?
  16. Ach! Wo War Ich!
  17. Ein Schones War, HieB Theseus-Ariadne
  18. Ach, So Versuchet Doch Ein Kleines Lied!

Disc: 2

  1. Es Gibt Ein Reich
  2. Die Dame Gibt Mit Trubem Sinn
  3. GroBmachtige Prinzessin
  4. Hubsch Gepredigt!
  5. Ein Schones Wunder!
  6. Circe, Circe, Kannst Du Mich Horen?
  7. Du Schones Wesen!
  8. Bin Ich Ein Gott
  9. Gibt Es Kein Hinuber?

Product Description

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By A Customer on 27 July 2001
Gundula Janowitz sings the role of Ariadne with incomparable line and style. Her knowledge of Strauss singing has never been bettered. Strauss could have written the part for Janowitz voice. The Bacchus of James King is another of his splendid achievements. Move over Gary Lakes, Ben Heppner, etc!! A true ringing heldentenor with a stunning top making him the great Bacchus, Emperor in "Frau" and also great Wagner singer eg Siegmund. Buy this set!!!
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I own a number of recordings of this opera, and for me this is the go to version every time. Kempe conducts with a gentle pace and the whole piece glows as it should. Janowitz is near perfect in the title role. On a more prosaic note the "Haushofmeister" is impeccably "dry", and always makes me smile when I listen, as I do often, to this beautiful recording.
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By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2015
Ariadne auf Naxos is well-served on record, such reputed conductors as Clemens Krauss, Karl Böhm [several times], Joseph Keilberth, Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Kempe, George Solti, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Giuseppe Sinopoli have all conducted records over some 70 years.

In 1968, Kempe, 1910-76, recorded this work in the Lukaskirche, Dresden, with the Staatskapelle Dresden, which was digitally remastered by Simon Gibson and reissued on 2 CDs in 1992. The recordings were made by VEB Deutsche Schallplatten, as Dresden was part of the GDR, and licenced for distribution in the West.

The booklet contains information on the background to the original 1912 composition and the 1916 revision, heard here, and a synopsis by William Mann, and the German libretto along with an English translation. There are many b/w illustrations of the conductor and cast.

The 1912 chamber version, linked to a reworking of Molière’s ‘Le bourgeois gentilhomme’, required substantial revision and the incidental music to Molière’s play was removed. The same conductor and orchestra recorded this suite in the early 1970s and it is included in their exceptional compilation of the composer’s orchestral music. Strauss added a new prologue explaining the reasons for the impact between high tragedy and commedia dell’arte in the opera which now formed the major part of the work. The premiere of this revised work included Maria Jeritza, Selma Kurz and Lotte Lehmann.

Amongst the 17-strong cast in this performance are Gundula Janowitz [b. 1937, Primadonna/Ariadne], Sylvia Geszty [b. 1934, Zerbinetta], Teresa Żylis-Gara [b. 1930, Composer], James King [1925-2005, Tenor/Bacchus], Erich-Alexander Wilds [1900-72, Major-Domo], Theo Adam [b. 1926, Music Teacher], Eberhard Büchner [b.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93952aec) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e73512c) out of 5 stars Why Isn't This Recording Better Known? 24 April 2004
By Good Stuff - Published on Amazon.com
This is a stunning performance. Other than, perhaps, Karl Bohm, no conductor has as complete an understanding of this deceptively complicated score as Rudolf Kempe. Because he allows the music to exist in an almost Mozartian realm of delicacy, everything is heard in a dramatic and musical balance almost always missing. And he allows the great climaxes to pour out in all their Straussian grandeur.
His handling of the final duet is almost overwhelming in it's dramatic intensity. Yet one never loses the sense that Herr Strauss is in charge here, not Herr Kempe. A greater tribute to a great conductor cannot be made.
The soloists are uniformly superb. Surely there is no other soprano on record who negotiates Ariadne's musically and dramatically difficult role with the security, fearlessness and simplicity as does the famed Gundula Janowitz. She is unfailingly musical here. Her voice allows her music to soar into the clouds.
Teresa Zylis-Gara is a wonderful composer. She is a soprano, as Strauss intended, and sounds appropriately youthful, impassioned, and impetuous. This was such a beautiful voice and such a wonderful artist.
And, finally, I must comment on the vastly underrated American tenor, James King. Bacchus is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. It lies treacherously high for a dramatic tenor, yet contains many passages only a dramatic could sing. It also contains passages of quiet lyricism. Quite a test for any tenor. I'm told Jon Vickers, who sang the role early on and only occasionally, was a magnificent Bacchus. So is James King, who sang the role often throughout his career, and with great success. His performance here is roof-raising, to say the least. The microphones found him, in 1968, to be at the absolute pinnacle of his remarkable powers. He actually seams to revel in the impossibility of the music, knowing he is making the impossible possible.
Hearing is believing. This is a magnificent recording.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x949c7b4c) out of 5 stars Everyone Should Own Two-This is One of Two 22 Dec. 2006
By Bertrand Stclair - Published on Amazon.com
This and Karajan's '54 recording share first place, in my mind. It can be a toss, but you're better off owning both and reveling in their wonderful differences. Kempe's is a much better sound (there is a fifteen-year difference) and, in spite of Karajan's instantly recognizable touch, Kempe just may take home the gold, not only for clarity and sharpness, but also for conveying the chamber-ensemble sound, which was what Strauss wanted (read the history of the making of "Ariadne" and you'll see why), whereas Karajan indulges in the "wall of sound" orchestral effects.

One is almost tempted to say that Karajan's cast wins hands-down, but it isn't quite that easy. Rita Streich is a superior Zerbinetta, but, although I adore Irmgard Seefried (Karajan), I must admit that the otherwise unknown to me Teresa Zylis-Gara (Kempe) brings a vulnerable subtlety to the "Composer" that stands its ground opposite Seefried's straight-out furious male. Conversely, while James King is an appropriately forceful Bacchus for Kempe, Rudolf Schock is a sweeter one for Karajan: both are valid; after all, these characters are supposed to be ridiculous, bullies and overdramatic phonies, and Strauss's trick consists in a smooth transition from the egotism and vulgarity of the actors to the unexpected depth of emotion of the characters they embody in the final scenes, which he achieves, of course, through his superb music.

For what it's worth, the secondary roles are also equally spread over the two recordings: even the speaking role of the Majordomo is done very differently on each recording, and so interestingly as to actually engage the listener - Karajan's Majordomo is rather obtuse, or perhaps slyly malicious, while Kempe's is coldly domineering and one can't help but want to kick him.

That brings us to Ariadne, who, in my case, would be the deciding point if I had to choose between the two recordings. Well, I'd have a very hard time. Some dislike Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's mannerisms, others are not fans of Gundula Janowitz's "white voice." That said, one can hardly imagine two singers of higher caliber, and both are Ariadnes without compare. Schwarzkopf does her (soon to come) Marschallin: she is all wounded melancholy, tremulous regret. Janowitz, less subtly but with spectacular effect, goes from the obnoxious diva of the prologue to a woman perhaps ten years younger and hoping for a resolution through death with almost eerie conviction. It is interesting to compare them in specific places, such as the final scene with the Naiads. Schwarzkopf, of whom we would expect to always be prominent, is recorded very much "inside" the choir, thus contributing nicely to the impression of Ariadne's giving in to her fate, be it death or be it love. Janowitz, on the other hand, clearly leads the choir and, since her voice is a natural for religious polyphony, here obtains the effect of a gorgeous "heavenly choir."

Your pick - or not.
10 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x937b3060) out of 5 stars best northern hemisphere ariadne 18 Mar. 2005
By Woglinde de Bilitis - Published on Amazon.com
This is a lovely recording and will clearly be the best available unless any bootleg recordings of 'Ariadne in Tasmania', the South Hobart Light Opera Company's 2003 radical reworking of this operetta finally float to the surface. Richard is probably the least well known of the Strauss family - and it's no wonder really as his waltzes are so peculiar. In fact we had to rewrite his score extensively as so many notes were so obviously miswritten and just didn't fit into a C major framework. I strongly suspect that he had a rare form of musical dyslexia that caused him to misnotate so much. In any case, it's a shame that this group didn't have access to our corrected score as this recording is quite discordant. I'm all for historical authenticity but there's no point sticking to the score if the composer has a medical condition. That said, while none of the singers on this recording can match my range - I sang Ariadne, Zerbinetta AND Bacchus in the SHLOC production, which proved quite a cost saving - and good thing too as the price of balsa wood and crepe paper is quite exorbitant in Tasmania and our sets cost a fortune - the singers in this recording are each lovely in their own way. Special credit goes to Sylvia Geszty who apparently learnt the role of Zerbinetta at breakneck speed becausethe role was too high for Pavarotti. Well done.
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