OP0119. DER ROSENKAVALIER, Live Performance, 7 Jan., 1939, w.Bodanzky Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Risë Stevens, Lotte Lehmann, Marita Farell, Emanuel List, Friedrich Schorr, etc. (England) 3-Naxos 8.110034/36; LOTTE LEHMANN, w.Ormandy Cond.Hollywood Bowl S.O.: Songs by Schubert, Brahms & Strauss - Live Performance, 5 Aug., 1948. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 636943103425
“The most famous of pre-war Marshallins was unquestionably Lehmann, one of the great Elsas and Sieglindes of her day, who created the lyric soprano role of the Composer in the Vienna premiere of ARIDANE II and the dramatic soprano role of the Dyer’s Wife in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN. Lehmann’s voice must have developed gradually into the heavier parts, for she is the first of several celebrated ROSENKAVALIER ‘hat-trick’ holders: sopranos who have progressed from Sophie to Octavian to the Marshallin….Lehmann was clearly one of the sopranos who served as inspirational muse to Strauss: in addition to the Composer and Dyer’s Wife, she was also entrusted with the creation of one of his most individual and beloved protagonists, Christine Storch in INTERMEZZO, a thinly disguised portrait of Strauss’ wife Pauline. [One shouldn’t forget that his Arabella was written with LL in mind].
Lehmann’s dramatic conception of the [Marschallin] manages to convince despite her age: she is coquettish with both Octavian and Ochs, using a sly portamento (‘Du, Schatz!’) to convey her amusement at the Mariandel disguise, and she seems more tolerant than most of her successors of her ‘aufgeblasene, schlechte Kerl’ of a cousin. Indeed, from the histrionic point of view, Lehmann maintains the melancholic and frivoluous sides of the Marschallin’s personality in carefully balanced equilibrium: the dry eye much in evidence in her teasing of her lover and remonstrations with Ochs, the wet one in her nostalgic reminiscences of ‘die kleine Resi’ fresh from the convent in the Act 1 monologue and especially in the ‘Heut’ oder morgen’ section the the succeeding duet with Octavian. Long experience of the opera has evidently led to a deep understanding of the Marshallin’s mercurial temperament: her tears are not self-pitying ones and they do not for long dull the twinkle in her eye…”
- Hugh Canning, INTERNATIONAL OPERA COLLECTOR, Spring 1999
“What memories this historic broadcast recording brings back to me! It was my first ROSENKAVALIER on the air and my first and only broadcast with Lotte Lehmann, taking place only a few weeks after my Metropolitan Opera début in MIGNON….My teacher, Anna Schoen-René, felt Octavian…would be a good rôle for me. She took me to the Mozarteum in Salzburg to study with one of Europe’s finest Octavians, the soprano Marie Gutheil-Schoder. It was this remarkable woman who gave me the physical security and ease to become credible in portraying a young boy….When I did my first Octavian in Prague, at the age of twenty-two, thanks to Mme. Gutheil-Schoder, I was prepared.”
- Risë Stevens, MEMORIES OF OCTAVIAN, Met Historic Recordings
“Risë Stevens is a fiery and juvenile Octavian in a live performance conducted by Bodanzky opposite Lotte Lehmann, Marita Farell and Emanuel List, and in a performance under Fritz Reiner opposite Eleanor Steber, Erna Berger and Emanuel List (all at their best) [OP2054]. Both recordings are a ‘must’.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile