is a tremendous live account of Mozart's effervescent Entführung.
Any preconceived ideas about Georg Szell should be jettisoned
– he captures to perfection the buffo element of the opera and
is infinitely flexible to his singers. The overture scampers
away, full of life, its slower section light of texture. In
fact, the orchestra throughout could be described positively
as lean; there is little if any un-Mozartean heaviness here,
merely a celebration of Mozart's genius.
cast could hardly be bettered. Rudolf Schock is the first member
we hear in Belmonte's 'Hier soll ich dich denn sehen'. He scales
his voice perfectly for Mozart and for Szell's delicate accompaniment.
His voice is lovely, rounded and focused but never thick. Later
in the Act, his attack at the line, 'O wie ängstlich' in the
aria, 'Konstanze, dich wiederzusehen' is spot-on.
him perfectly is Kurt Böhme's Osmin. Böhme, Dresden-born and
at the time a member of the Bavarian State Opera, is pretty
much the star of the show. The Osmin-Belmonte duet 'Wer ein
Liebchen hat gefunden' is a constant delight not least because
of the Wiener Philharmoniker's accompaniment. This despite a
slight disagreement of ensemble around 3'18 into this track.
Böhme's staccato is excellent; all Osmin's need preternaturally
accurate staccato attack. Osmin's act 3 'triumph' aria ('Ha,
wie will ich triumphieren') has a real feel of slapstick about
it not to mention an amazing low D.
Köth, another Bavarian State Opera singer, has a light voice
with a fast vibrato as Konstanze. Her high register is simply
superb, as she demonstrates beyond doubt in Act 1's 'Ach, ich
liebte'. Szell once more is exemplary in his light accompaniment.
Her 'biggest' aria, though, is surely the Act 2 'Martern aller
Arten'. Köth is resolute, yet can float a pianissimo perfectly.
Further, the four obbligato instrumental soloists (flute, oboe,
violin, cello) match her in style. There could be no better
way to end the first CD of the set.
fact both female leads excel. As Blonde, Lisa Otto's big Act
2 aria ('Durch Zärtlichkeit') is as agile as one could wish,
her voice negotiating the stratosphere with supreme ease. The
ensuing duet with Osmin ('Ich gehe, doch rate ich dir') is light
and fluffy; and what a low E flat from Böhme!
Pedrillo, Murray Dickie exudes a sense of fun ('Frisch zu Kampfe')
as he steels himself. His famous duet with Osmin (the hymn to
alcohol, 'Vivat Bacchus') boasts an orchestra as light as snow.
Both singers excel themselves. In Act 3, Dickie is challenged
by Szell's fast tempo for the Serenade ('Im Mohrenland gefangen
war') but acquits himself well.
recording successfully conveys the atmosphere, although curiously
in the finale of Act 1 voices appear backward in the balance.
The Vienna State Opera Chorus is as vigorous and excellent as
one would expect.
invaluable addition to the Mozart discography.