OP1739. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 12 Feb., 1956, w.Cluytens Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Gertrud Grob-Prandl, Rudolf Lustig, Georgine von Milinkovic, Kurt Böhme, Toni Blankenheim, Hans Braun, etc. (E.U.) 3-Walhall 0235. - 4035122652352
“One of the three potent Wagnerian heroic sopranos born within a half year of each other, Gertrud Grob-Prandl, according to numerous colleagues, outshone both Astrid Varney and Birgit Nilsson in sheer amplitude. Soprano Irmgard Seefried swore that ‘the walls shook’ when Grob-Prandl sang TURANDOT, and indeed, the great-voiced soprano achieved celebrity in Italy surpassing even that accorded her in her native Austria. Grob-Prandl's voice was not merely immense, it was firmly knit and true, with a fast vibrato that avoided any taint of the unwieldy. If her passagework in Mozart was slightly labored, her dramatic roles were all sung with lyricism as well as power. Working mostly with Papier Singer-Burian, Grob-Prandl found herself engaged by the Vienna Volksoper even before the end of her four-year academic program. After her 1939 début there as Santuzza, she was plunged into the hochdramatisch repertory, including Leonore, Elisabeth, Ariadne (heard by Strauss), and a lengthy list of large Italian roles, all sung in German. A hoped-for production of Strauss' DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA under the composer's baton came to naught due to the widening war in Europe. In January 1944, Grob-Prandl joined the Vienna Staatsoper where she sang for nearly three decades, although from 1945 to 1947, she was the leading dramatic soprano in Zürich. With the Vienna Staatsoper destroyed by Allied bombs during WWII and so many sets and costumes reduced to powder, those operas for which a production could be pulled together were the ones to be heard following the cessation of hostilities. Thus, Grob-Prandl was heard in some 35 performances of DIE FLEDERMAUS as Rosalinde, a luxury seldom thereafter accorded her. In 1949, she made an appearance at Salzburg in the important but rather brief role of the First Lady. Grob-Prandl's first WALKÜRE Brünnhilde was sung in 1949 with Clemens Krauss as her conductor. With conductor Rudolf Moralt, she undertook the SIEGFRIED and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG Brünnhildes that same year, finding in them both strength and lyric expression. The role of Isolde was introduced with the Vienna Staatsoper shortly before the company took its production from the Theater an der Wien to Brussels. Grob-Prandl's enormous success there resulted in her being made a Kammersängerin when the company returned to Vienna. In Italy, the soprano relished working with Victor de Sabata, whose TRISTAN UND ISOLDE she found graceful and poetic. Grob-Prandl appeared at Covent Garden in 1951 to sing TURANDOT in English with Sir John Barbirolli conducting. Her mastery of Turandot, in fact, most endeared her to Italian audiences who appreciated her stentorian sound and fiery top notes. Bayreuth eluded her, as did America, except for the 1953 season in San Francisco when she appeared as the WALKÜRE Brünnhilde, Isolde, and Amelia. With Nilsson later dominating the big roles in America, there was little call for Grob-Prandl's services. Aside from regular appearances in Italy and occasional guest performances in other European houses, Grob-Prandl primarily sang at her home theater in Vienna, retiring in 1972 while her voice was still in its prime.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“Georgine von Milinkovic was a Croatian operatic mezzo-soprano of Czech birth, particularly associated with Wagner and Strauss roles. After vocal studies in Zagreb and Vienna, she sang at the Zürich Opera from 1937 to 1940, and then in Hilversum and later in Prague from 1945 until 1948. She made her début at the Munich State Opera and the Vienna State Opera in 1948, where the major part of her career was to take place. She also appeared at the Salzburg Festival, where she created the role of Alkmene in Richard Strauss' DIE LIEBE DER DANAE, in 1952. She sang at the Bayreuth Festival from 1954, in roles such as Fricka, Magdalene, Grimgerde, Second Nom, etc. She made guest appearances at the Edinburgh Festival and the Holland Festival, and the Royal Opera House in London.
She was also admired in Strauss' DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU and ELEKTRA (as Klytemnestra), as well as in Verdi roles such as Eboli, Amneris, and Bizet's Carmen.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron
“André Cluytens was among the leading French conductors of his time. His father, Alphonse, was conductor at the Royal French Theater of Antwerp. André became his assistant and a choirmaster there. When an illness prevented Alphonse from conducting, André made his performance début in 1927. After that experience he devoted his efforts to orchestral and opera conducting rather than choral work, and he became a resident conductor in the house.
In 1932 he accepted a position as the musical director of orchestral concerts at the Capitole de Toulouse, and he became a French citizen. In 1935 was appointed the opera director in Lyons. He was an assistant of Josef Krips in a summer series in Vichy and, once again, was called on to substitute when that conductor could not perform. He became musical director of the Lyons Opera in 1942, conductor of the Conservatoire Concerts and the French National Radio Orchestra in Paris in 1943, and in 1944 conducted at the Opéra de Paris. From 1947 to 1953 he was music director of the Paris Opéra-Comique, and in 1949 was appointed as principal conductor of the Conservatory Concerts. He retained that position for the rest of his life. In 1955 he was invited to conduct LOHENGRIN at the Bayreuth Festival, the first French person to appear on the podium there. He débuted in the United States in 1956, and in Britain in 1958, when he substituted for Otto Klemperer. He formed a close relationship with the Vienna State Opera, which he first conducted in 1956, becoming a permanent guest conductor in 1959. In 1960 he became conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra in Belgium, also holding that post until his death. He also formed a close link with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he made a notable recording of the Beethoven symphonies. However, he was primarily known for French repertoire, premiering works by Françaix, Jolivet, Messiaen, Milhaud, Tomasi, Büsser, and Bondeville. He was invited back to Bayreuth in 1965.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com