OP1648. PENTHESILEA (Schoeck), Live Performance, 15 Dec., 1957, w.Leitner Cond. Stuttgart Staatsoper Ensemble; Martha Mödl, Res Fischer, Eberhard Wächter, Stefan Schwer, etc. (E.U.) Walhall 0225. - 4035122652253
"PENTHESILEA is a one-act opera by Othmar Schoeck, to a German-language libretto by the composer, after the work of the same name by Heinrich von Kleist. It was first performed at the Staatsoper in Dresden, Germany on 8 January 1927. Othmar Schoeck was a Swiss composer and conductor known mainly for his considerable output of art songs and song cycles, though he also wrote a number of operas, notably his one-act PENTHESILEA, which was premiered in Dresden in 1927 and revived at the Lucerne Festival in 1999. He wrote a handful of instrumental compositions, including two string quartets and concertos for violin (for Stefi Geyer, dedicatee also of Béla Bartók's first concerto), cello and horn.”
“The incredibly lengthy career of Martha Mödl has been well documented. In that time she sang it all: beginning as a mezzo (Hänsel, Eboli, Carmen, Azucena), then soprano (Isolde, Brünnhilde, Kundry), then in the 1960s returning to mezzo and some great character rôles (Klytemnestra, Die Amme, Waltraute). In the 1970s she adapted to secondary character rôles (Widow Begbick, Grandmother Burya, the Old Countess in QUEEN OF SPADES), some of which were rechristened ‘Mödl-Rollen’ in her honor. She was often called the ‘German Maria Callas’ with her dramatic intensity, excitement, unique, colorful mezzo-tinted soprano voice.
She was one of the singers very important to the re-establishment of the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth in the 1950s. She appeared in several world premières, creating rôles in operas by Fortner, Cerha, and von Einem. There is a little-known video of an interview with Mödl, Astrid Varnay, and Birgit Nilsson—great Wagnerians all. Varnay and Nilsson defer to Mödl!”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2012
"In 1953 Eberhard Wächter made his operatic début as Silvio at the Vienna Volksoper. From 1954 he was a member of the Vienna State Opera, and in 1963 he was named as Austrian Kammersänger. He made his début in at London’s Covent Garden as Count Almaviva and his first appearance at the Salzburg Festival as Arbace in IDOMENEO in 1956. In 1958 he made his début at the Bayreuth Festival as Amfortas. He sang for the first time at the Paris Opéra as Wolfram in 1959. In 1960 he sang Count Almaviva at his débuts at Milan’s La Scala and Chicago’s Lyric Opera. In 1961 he made his Metropolitan Opera début as Wolfram. In subsequent years, he continued to appear regularly in Vienna, where he created the rôle of Joseph in Einem’s JESU HOCHZEIT in 1980. In 1987 Eberhard Wächter became director of the Vienna Volksoper. From 1991 he was also co-director of the Vienna State Opera."
- Ned Ludd