Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos - Saunders, Kozub, Geszty, Troyanos, Fliether, Grundheber, Sotin; Kuntzsch. Hamburg, 1968
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This transcendent performance of Ariadne auf Naxos speaks volumes of the prodigious talents at the disposal of the Hamburg State Opera in the 1960s. Arlene Saunders made Hamburg her home for most of her career, trading in the jet-setting life of an opera star for the saner routine of a steady job. But make no mistake - there was nothing provincial about this singer. She sings with equal parts power and sweetness, tackling the soaring Strausian lines with astonishing ease. Ernst Kozub as Bacchus delivers one of the most lyrical accountings of a role that is more often than not shouted. A young Tatiana Troyanos conveys ardor and ernest masculinity as the composer. Sylvia Geszty’s Zerbinetta skews more to the lyric side of the spectrum than the coloratura side. She nonetheless manages all of the high notes and fioratura with ease while treating the listener to a fuller voice than one might be used to in this part. There are also impressive cameos by Franz Grundheber as the lackey and Hans Sotin as the Wig Master, both of whom spent their formative years in Hamburg. The sound is good.