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R Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten Box set

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Bavarian Radio Chorus, Cheryl Studer, René Kollo, Ute Vinzing, Alfred Muff
  • Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (1 May 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000DNJ7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,685 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Seen The Light
  2. The Loner
  3. I Told The Truth

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Following as it did from the quasi-classically scored Ariadne auf Naxos, the vast extravagance of the scoring and the "cast of thousands" took early opera goers aback- and that's without the added confusion of the plot.
" FROSCH" as it creators affectionately referred to it was Strauss's response to the Great War-he hated the war, was not concerned with political enemies, and to him the real enemy was the inhumanity of war itself. He felt impelled to write a work that could affirm mankind's belief in its own humanity, and for once did not resist Hugo von Hofmannsthal's convoluted philosophical plot elements. I'm not going to attempt to elucidate the plot here-suffice to say it is Fairy Tale parable linking a mundane earthly couple and a couple from the Spirit World and their respective quests for happiness and fulfilment battling against the forces of darkness. As ever with Strauss, the happy resolution is brought about by the attainment of family, the real quest of the Hero in Ein Heldenleben and of course Sinfonia Domestica.
The scenario is based on Viennese traditional fantastic theatre ( for example Die Zauberflote) popularised by Raimund, with elements culled from Freud and various Eastern and Western Religions. The underlying premise is that a woman casts no shadow because she is not a complete entity without children-only then is she " whole" enough to cast a shadow. This is not a premise to find favour with Feminists, but to to mitigate this, Strauss felt pretty much the same about men-the real " Heroism" was the love and support of the family.
To be frank, it's best to let the plot wash over you and revel in the glorious stream of melodic invention conjured up by Strauss the Magician!
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Format: Audio CD
Wolfgang Sawallisch brings the same energy to Strauss' powerful masterpiece as to his recordings of Der Ring. However, this uncut recording expresses the rich texture and melodic intensity contained within Strauss' dynamic score to Hofmannsthal's complex libretto. Rene Kollo's powerful interpretation of Der Kaiser is beautifully complemented by Studer's poignant Kaiserin in her search for meaning and compassion. With the passion of Elektra and the romance of Der Rosenkavalier, this truley is one of Strauss' greatest works and this one of the greatest recordings of it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Following enthusiastic reviews, especially that by Stewart Crowe, I felt compelled to acquire this set that I had overlooked, particularly as it is available at bargain prices - and I am very glad I did.

No version of this gargantuan masterpiece is perfect and there are a couple of niggles here but none that justifies removing any stars. Talking of stars, two shine most brightly here: Cheryl Studer's scintillating Empress, a performance to sit alongside her Salome for Sinopoli, and, above all, the conductor, Wolfgang Sawallisch. Let's once and for all do away with his lingering reputation as a competent Kapellmeister; yes, he could be routine but so could almost any great conductor, including Furtwängler, Karajan and even Toscanini but it is the best of their work that we should judge them by - in which case, Sawallisch is up there with the best if his mastery of this score is any indication. His pacing is superb; he melds this sprawling behemoth into a coherent work - at least musically speaking, even if the synthetic fairy-tale libretto remains obscure, despite the composer's claim that the significance of the characters and events in "FROSCH" (his and Hofmannsthal's jocular nickname for the opera, meaning "frog" and also the nut on a violin bow in German) were "things that anyone can see and understand.". Karajan fiddled a bit with the order of scenes in his Salzburg production in an attempt to clarify proceedings but it remains fairly arcane. I suppose I should add a third star: the Bayerischen Rundfunks, whose virtuosity is astonishing. OK; a fourth: the sound engineers Wilhelm Meister and David Groves who gave EMI near perfection.

So what isn't perfection?
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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2000
Format: Audio CD
I've often found this opera OTT in performance, leaving with the impression that the creators' sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut tactics have not totally come off. Sawallish changed my opinion: he plays it all with tremendous integrety, brings out the best of a cast that on paper looks pretty mixed and completely convinces you that it's Strauss greatest work! Only a very thorough knowledge and love of the score can achieve this. The recorded sound, like the performance, is spectacular without being relentlessly "in your face".
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Format: Audio CD
The plastic case was awfully damaged so that I had to replace it by myself. The damage seems to be caused by the seller's rough treatment, not by shipment.
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