Strauss: Die schweigsame Frau (In English) - Ward, Holt, Macdonald, Sinclair, Vaughan, Berry; Kempe. London, 1961

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If you have never given Die schweigsame Frau a chance, now is your opportunity! The opera is based loosely on the same premise as Don Pasquale and flirts with all the same ideas of class and geriatric delusion. And although Strauss does tip his hat to a style that seems born out of the old tradition of opera buffo, he was not about to shortchange the audience on orchestral color and rich harmonies. It was quite wise for the Britons to present this performance in English as it gives the witty libretto a chance to shine, especially when in the hands of some first rate English singers. As Sir Morosus, the excellent bass-baritone, David Ward, gets a chance to display his cheeky side. Barbara Holt manages a demure and shrinking Aminta and then unleashes a monster of Elektra-sized proportions. She also congers up some lovely lyrical singing with tenor Kenneth MacDonald. MacDonald deserves double kudos for both his lovely lyric tenor as well as his keen skills as an actor. With all the spoken dialogue the character has, this proves to be an enormous blessing (there is nothing worse than listening to a singer embarrass themselves when made to speak without the crutch of music.) The sound is excellent.

OD 10890-3

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