Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten - Rysanek, Hopf, Schech, Metternich, Benningsen; Kempe. München, 1954


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Of the performances of Die Frau ohne Schatten I have heard, this is one of the most successful at making sense out of an otherwise obtuse fairy tale. This is due in no small part to the stellar cast and the youthful energy they bring to their parts. Leonie Rysanek is captured before Abigaille and other roles that she took on in the 60s would rob her of the youthful purity of her voice. Her voice has an alluring silvery shimmer that is consistent during her most dramatic outbursts as well as the almost miraculously delicate pianissimos. She is well paired with Marianne Schech who sings the Dyer's Wife. Schech's voice always reminded me of Rysanek's. Although a shade brighter, it had the same kind of electric excitement on top. Hans Hopf highlights the lyricism of the Emperor even during some of the most athletic singing. Josef Metternich's approach to Barak is similarly lyrical, making for some very beautiful moments in Act III when he is searching for his wife. The sound is very good.

OD 10940-3

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