Sunday, July 29, 2012

Listening back to Otto Klemperer's "Così fan tutte" recording


Klemperer with his Così score at the time of the recording

by Ken

As I indicated in Friday night's preview, today we're going to listen again to a little of the recording that Otto Klemperer made of Mozart's Così fan tutte," in celebration of sorts of this lovely recording's overdue reissue by EMI.

We actually did a more comprehensive listen-through to chunks of this recording in the March 2011 post "Remembering Margaret Price, Part 3 -- as Mozart's Fiordiligi," and I've begun replacing the original audio clips for that post, made from my German-pressed LPs, with clips from the (pretty good) new CD issue. As I've said, it's not among my very favorite recordings of the opera, but as I indicated in writing about it for The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera, in this case most of Klemperer's special insights have been intuited by other conductors on records -- among whom my clear favorite remains Eugen Jochum in his near-miraculous 1962 DG recording.

We're just going to hit some high points today, with a couple of other performances tacked on, and I thought we'd kick off with a perennial favorite excerpt of mine, the Act I farewell trio, as the ladies think their fiancés are going off to war, in a scheme engineered by their cynical old friend Don Alfonso.

Act I, Trio, Fiordiligi-Dorabella-Don Alfonso,
"Soave sia il vento"


Gentle be the breeze,
Calm be the waves,
And every element
Smile in favour
On their wish.

Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella; Hans Sotin (bs), Don Alfonso; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b), Don Alfonso; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English] Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; John Shirley-Quirk (bs-b), Don Alfonso; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969


TO CONTINUE WITH OUR LISTEN-
THROUGH OF THE KLEMPERER COSÌ --




 One obvious casting strength of the Klemperer Così is his pair of sisters, the formidable Margaret Price as Fiordiligi and Yvonne Minton as Dorabella, and so in the selections for the original Margaret Price-themed post I devoted most attention to excerpts featuring them.

I should that, because I did Fiordiligi's two great arias fairly extensively in that post, offering not just Margaret Price's heroic performances but performances by Teresa Stich-Randall, Irmgard Seefried (from the Jochum-DG Così), Leontyne Price
, and René Fleming, we're not going to revisit them at all. Also, I'm sorry, but I still haven't incorporated an excerpt featuring Klemperer's Despina, Lucia Popp.

Overture


New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969


Act I, Duet, Fiordiligi-Dorabella, "Ah guarda, sorella"

[A garden by the seashore. FIORDILIGI and DORABELLA are both gazing at miniatures hanging round their necks.]

FIORDILIGI: Ah tell me, sister,
If one could ever find
A nobler face,
A sweeter mouth.
DORABELLA: Just look,
See what fire
Is in his eye,
If flames and darts
Do not seem to flash forth!
FIORDILIGI: This is the face
Of a soldier and a lover.
DORABELLA: This is a face
both charming and alarming.
FIORDILIGI and DORABELLA: How happy I am!
If ever my heart
changes its affection,
may love make me
live in pain.

Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English] Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969


Act I, Quintet, "Sento, o Dio"

GUGLIELMO: O Heaven, I feel my steps falter
In their progress towards you.
FERRANDO: My trembling lips
Cannot utter the words.
DON ALFONSO: In moments of the greatest stress
A hero calls up all his strength.
FIORDILIGI and DORABELLA: Now that we have heard the news,
One detail remains for you to do;
Be brave, and plunge your blade
Into this heart.
FERRANDO and GUGLIELMO: My love, blame fate
If I must abandon you.
DORABELLA [to GUGLIELMO]: No, no, do not go!
FIORDILIGI [to FERRANDO]: Cruel one, do not leave me!
DORABELLA: I would sooner tear my heart out!
FIORDILIGI: I would sooner die at your feet!
FERRANDO [aside, to DON ALFONSO]: What did I say?
GUGLIELMO [aside, to DON ALFONSO]: Do you see now?
DON ALFONSO [aside]: Patience, friend;
We've not reached the end yet!
ALL: Thus destiny confounds
Our mortal hopes.
Ah who, amid such sorrow,
Can ever more delight in life?

Geraint Evans (b), Guglielmo; Luigi Alva (t), Ferrando; Hans Sotin (bs), Don Alfonso; Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Hermann Prey (b), Guglielmo; Ernst Häfliger (t), Ferrando; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b), Don Alfonso; Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English] Peter van der Bilt (b), Guglielmo; Kurt Westi (t), Ferrando; John Shirley-Quirk (bs-b), Don Alfonso; Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969


Act I, Quintet, "Di scrivermi ogni giorno"

Recitative
FIORDILIGI and DORABELLA: I'm dying of breathlessness.
Quintet
FIORDILIGI [weeping]: Swear that you'll write me
Every day, my love!
DORABELLA [weeping]: Write me twice as often, if you can.
GUGLIELMO: Never doubt me, my dear!
FERRANDO: Rest assured, my love!
DON ALFONSO [to himself]: I'll burst if I don't laugh!
FIORDILIGI: Be true to me alone!
DORABELLA: Remain faithful!
FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA, FERRANDO, and GUGLIELMO: Farewell!
My heart is rent in twain, my love.
Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!

Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella); Luigi Alva (t), Ferrando; Geraint Evans (b), Guglielmo; Hans Sotin (bs), Don Alfonso; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Ernst Häfliger (t), Ferrando; Hermann Prey (b), Guglielmo; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b), Don Alfonso; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English] Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; Peter van der Bilt (b), Guglielmo; Kurt Westi (t), Ferrando; John Shirley-Quirk (bs-b), Don Alfonso; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969


Act II, Recitative and Duet, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, "Questo è ver" . . . "Prenderò quel brunettino"
Recitative
FIORDILIGI: This is true.
DORABELLA: So?
FIORDILIGI: So you go ahead:
But I don't want to be involved
If there should be a scandal.
DORABELLA: How can there be a scandal
When we're taking such precautions?
However, listen, let's come to an agreement:
Which of these two Narcissi do you fancy for yourself?
FIORDILIGI: You decide, sister.
DORABELLA: I've already chosen.
Duet
DORABELLA: I'll take the dark one,
Who seems to me more fun.
FIORDILIGI: And meantime I'll laugh
And joke a bit with the fair one.
DORABELLA: Playfully I'll answer
His sweet words.
FIORDILIGI: Sighing, I'll imitate
The other's sighs.
DORABELLA: He'll say to me:
My love, I'm dying!
FIORDILIGI: He'll say to me:
My dearest treasure!
FIORDILIGI and DORABELLA: And meanwhile
What sport and pleasure
I shall have!

Margaret Price (s), Fiordiligi; Yvonne Minton (ms), Dorabella; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, cond. EMI, recorded Jan. 25-Feb. 18, 1971

[recitative begins earlier] Irmgard Seefried (s), Fiordiligi; Nan Merriman (ms), Dorabella; Berlin Philharmonic, Eugen Jochum, cond. DG, recorded December 1962

[in English; recitative begins earlier] Elizabeth Harwood (s), Fiordiligi; Janet Baker (ms), Dorabella; Scottish National Opera Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, cond. Live performance, May 1969
#

No comments:

Post a Comment