Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (In German) - Wunderlich, Grist, Wächter, Kunz, Konetzni; Böhm. Wien, 1966
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Sometimes comedy proves untranslatable. Such is not the case in this sparkling 1966 Il Barbiere di Siviglia performed in German by the Wiener Staatsoper. The singable translation is easy on the ears, the performances (with one exception) are hard to beat, and the orchestra is in the hands of Maestro Karl Böhm, who delivers one of the most original, deft renditions of the classic overture on record. Fritz Wunderlich and Reri Grist lead the cast as the central lovers. Both are in terrific voice and clearly having a blast, especially Grist. Erich Kunz manages to be be simultaneously beautiful to listen to and funny as Bartolo, which may actually be a first. The only disappointment is Eberhard Wächter's tight, breathless rendition of Figaro's aria, but even he loosens up as the opera goes along. This is a very live performance, but you would not be able to tell from the sound quality. Only the clear delight of the Viennese audience indicates that this performance is captured in real time. For those who do not object to Opera out of its original language, this is a gift. For those who do, it is the clearest reason for changing their mind.