Berg: Wozzeck (In English) - Walters, Wolkowsky, Sinclair, Hannesson, Jones, Dalberg; E. Kleiber
Listen to a Sample:
This complete performance is notable for two reasons: the opera is sung in English and it is conducted by the great Erich Kleiber. English speakers will appreciate the immediacy of hearing this great drama in the vernacular and lovers of great conducting will marvel at the lightness and transparency that Kleiber brings to Berg's savagely beautiful score. Kleiber makes the complexities of the score seem almost effortless, and whereas so many conductors seem to approach the piece as a math puzzle, Kleiber shows that there is a strong organic quality to the score that is greater than mixed-meters and tone rows. The cast is very strong. Jess Walters brings a nobility and thoughtfulness to the title roles even at the moments when the character is seemingly becoming undone. Marea Wolkowsky is a sensual Marie. Parry Jones stands out as the Captain. The sound is far from perfect, having been transferred from LPs but the performances comes through. If this is your first recording of Wozzeck I might steer you clear but if you love this opera you will find this interpretation invaluable. As a bonus I have included a performance of Act II of Wozzeck sung in German from 1934 conducted by Adrian Boult (it is remarkable to think that the composer was still alive when it was made!) Ironically the sound of this performance is much better than the one from 1953.
Act II of Wozzeck
Bitterauf, Blyth, Jones, Hemming; Boult