Wagner: Excerpts from Siegfried & Meistersinger - Flagstad, Suthaus, Hotter; Rankl, E. Kleiber. 1949 - 1950
Listen to a Sample of Siegfried London, 1949:
Listen to a Sample of Siegfried London, 1950:
Listen to a Sample of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Buenos Aires, 1949:
I came across some fragments of Wagner operas from 1949 to 1950 which offer a tantalizing glimpse into what was truly a golden age of singing. The first is a complete recording of Act III of Siegfried from 1949 and featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Set Svanholm (I have offered this performance previously in a truncated version that did not include the Erda and Wotan scene.) The sound has some patchy moments which come and go throughout. Even in her 50s, Kirsten Flagstad’s voice was still gleaming and she nails the first notoriously difficult high C effortlessly (she opts out of the final high C.) She is well matched by Set Svanholm’s clarion tenor voice as Siegfried The disc offers another performance of the two in the final duet from Siegfried from the following year. Although this performance is not complete, the sound is much better. Lastly, I came across a series of excerpts from a performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg from Buenos Aires, 1949 conducted by the great Erich Kleiber. Kleiber brings a light touch to Meistersinger with tempi leaning towards the brisk side of the spectrum and he extracts some excellent articulation from the orchestra. These excerpts include both of the Preludes as well as a portion of the Preislied sung effortlessly by Ludwig Suthaus, a portion of David’s music sung by Anton Dermota, a stirring ”Wacht auf!” and the finale of the opera sung by Hans Hotter. Of the three performances, the Meistersinger is in the best sound and is a wonderful find for all of the Erich Kleiber fans out there.