OP2445. DAPHNE, Live Performance, 1944, w.Böhm Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Maria Reining, Anton Dermota, Karl Friedrich, Herbert Alsen, etc.; Verdi Requiem – Excerpts, Live Performance, 4 Feb., 1945, w.Böhm Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Seefried, Höngen, Dermota & Alsen. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00306. - 0801439903067
“Maria Reining was the jugendliche-dramatische soprano who took over the majority of Lotte Lehmann's rôles at the Vienna State Opera when Lehmann left in 1937, and continued singing them into the early 1950s. She proved hugely popular with the public because of her naturally beautiful soprano and lovely looks, the voice as we hear it obviously part of the outgoing, unaffected personality. On disc she recorded for Telefunken just before the war, for Electrola during it, and for Decca after, most notably her Marschallin in the legendary DER ROSENKAVALIER conducted by Erich Kleiber. Perhaps her most notable legacies on disc are her account of the title-rôle in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, recorded at the Vienna State Opera to celebrate Strauss' eightieth birthday, and her Arabella in the 'unofficial' off-the-air Salzburg Festival performances of Strauss' opera in 1947 (with Hotter as Mandryka).”
- Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE, Sept., 1992
“Anton Dermota was one of the most musical tenors singing at his time. In Vienna, the highly-esteemed tenor was a leading representative of the lyric category. He was an outstanding figure in Austria’s musical life. It is a delight to hear his smooth line, his gleaming tone and his ‘slavic-elegiac’ vocalism. His smooth, honeyed mezza voce was marvellous. He had an imaginative way with Italian and French music. Today, he is best remembered as a Mozartian tenor…whatever he sang was superbly chiselled and presented as precious musical gems!”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
“In the 1940s and early 1950s, Irmgard Seefried was a paragon among German lyric sopranos, her voice fresh and crystalline, her stage presence vital and attractive. Although she was an intelligent and well-prepared artist, the impression she made was one of considerable spontaneity. Her Susanna in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE were very different creations, the first piquant and cunning, the latter direct and innocent, though never the pallid personality others have imposed upon her. Her Composer in Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS was a defining interpretation, ardently sung and passionately acted. It was captured in live performance in 1944 and, again, in the studio a decade later when her voice was at its zenith.
She studied at Augsburg University, first with Albert Meyer and, later, with Paola Novikova (with whom she continued to work long after her career was established). Her stage début took place at Aachen in 1940 when she sang the Priestess in a production of AÏDA. After Nuri in d'Albert's TIEFLAND, she was shocked to find that the theater's music director, Herbert von Karajan, had scheduled her for Donna Anna in DON GIOVANNI. As she acknowledged later, she ‘got away’ with the role due to the theater's small size and a very lyric approach to the highly dramatic role.
After three years in Aachen, Seefried moved to Vienna where she joined that theater's ensemble of extraordinary Mozart singers. Her wartime performances were accomplished under circumstances of utter privation: little heat, little food, repeated trips to shelters during both rehearsals and performances. Seefried's Eva under Karl Böhm established her as an artist with an unlimited future and she quickly became a favorite with the Vienna public. She was honored by being chosen to appear as the Composer in ARIADNE to celebrate Richard Strauss' 80th birthday and in 1946 made her first appearance at Salzburg where her Pamina became legendary. London heard her in 1947 when she performed Susanna and Fiordiligi with the visiting Vienna Opera. Susanna served for her début role at La Scala in 1949.
Although her Susanna was well-received at the Metropolitan Opera in November 1953, Seefried did not return to that theater, but did make memorable appearances with Chicago's Lyric Opera beginning in 1961. Chicago heard her Zerlina and Marzelline in her début year and her still-wonderful Composer in 1964.
In addition to opera, Seefried was a first-rank interpreter of Lieder and a concert singer much in demand. In her prime years, her singing of the soprano solo portions of Bach's ST. MATTHEW PASSION, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and, above all, Haydn's CREATION was unsurpassed. She performed all three of these works with Wilhelm Furtwängler, an influential guide and mentor. Seefried's recitals at Salzburg and elsewhere came to be treasured events. Many of her earlier Lieder recordings support the reputation she enjoyed among connoisseurs of beautiful and communicative singing.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
“Following an apprenticeship in his native Austria, Karl Böhm was appointed, at the recommendation of Karl Muck, to be assistant to Walter at the Munich State Opera in 1921. He went on to become music director in Darmstadt in 1927, in Hamburg in 1931 and, with Hitler's approval, in Dresden, as successor to Fritz Busch in 1934. During his decade-long tenure he maintained Dresden's reputation for imaginative repertory, with performances of new works that included the premieres of DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU, 1935, and DAPHNE, 1938, an opera dedicated by Strauss to the conductor. From 1943 to the end of the war, he was director of the Vienna State Opera.
Privately no less than publicly, Böhm was a strong supporter of Hitler and National Socialism from 1933 on and gave the Nazi salute at the beginning of a concert. He subsequently not only was unrepentant but defiant, even, claiming that while other conductors took the easy course and fled, he stayed behind to suffer and be bombed with other Germans. After a two-year ban by occupation authorities, Böhm became conductor of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic.”
- Frederic Spotts, Great Conductors of the Third Reich