5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Very aceeptable alternative to the original,
This review is from: Lear (Audio CD)
I give this recording four stars instead of five because it does not include a translation of the libretto. I used to have the L.P.s of the original Fischer Dieskau, which had a translation, and, of course, a star cast. I saw the opera twice in San Francisco in 1982, and was completely taken by it. Never one for opera that deserted tunes and pleasing harmonies, I thought that 'Lear' was exactly suited to the modernist idiom. It's a violent piece, after all. The times are out of joint. Shakespeare's darkest play (apart from 'Titus Andronicus' maybe) Requires atonal music to mirror the unnatural events depicted. I felt the same about 'Wozzeck'.
I looked long and hard for the original recording of 'Lear'. When I opted for the very reasonable marketplace version of the frankfurt performance, the opera gave back handsomely - apart from the lack of translation. Wolfgang Koch sings Lear and Graham Clark - the greatest and most ubiquitous British opera export we have to offer - is the fool. (He was a great Loge AND Mime in the Barenboim Bayreuth 'Ring'.
I've been unable to find the text in English, and I went to a music shop in Frankfurt to no avail, as well as combing the internet. Still, with a knowledge of Shakespeare's play and the help of a Collins German dictionary, it's not too hard to keep abreast of the plot. And the words are very clearly enunciated, as though both composer (Reimann) and librettist(Henneberg) were determined to give The Bard his due.
So, pretty highly recommended. The original is so very expensive, though I think I would have gone for it, were I not a poor man.