OP2617. JENUFA (in German) (Janácek), Live Performance, 29 Sept., 1961, w.von Matacic Cond. Frankfurt Opera Ensemble; Anny Schlemm, Christel Goltz, Ernst Kozub, Gerald McKee, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00319. - 0801439903197
“Lovro von Matacic was one of the great conductors who preserved the authentic late-Romantic tradition into the late-Romantic age. He worked at the Salzburg Festival on the music staff, and then returned to Yugoslavia which, at the end of World War I, had finally obtained its independence from Austria. He became the Music Director of the opera house in Osijek, continuing his career advancement through opera houses in the larger cities, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and in 1938 the capital, Belgrade. In the same year he also became the conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. After the German invasion of 1941 he resigned his position at the Belgrade Opera (1942) and from 1942 to 1945 he was conductor of the Vienna Volksoper.
After the war, he became the General Music Director in Skopje. He organized the annual Dubrovnik and Split Festivals. He was permanent guest conductor at the opera houses of Munich and Vienna. From 1956 to 1958, he was General Music Director of the Dresden State Opera and Staatskapelle Orchestra and, with Franz Konwitschny, co-General Music Director of the (East) Berlin State Opera. He appeared in America with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1959. In 1961, Matacic succeeded Georg Solti as General Music Director of the Frankfurt Opera and orchestra, remaining there through 1966. In 1965 he was appointed Honorary Chief Conductor of the NHK (Japanese Radio and Television) Orchestra in 1965. He was Music Director of the Zagreb Philharmonic from 1970 to 1980, and of the Monte Carlo Opera from 1974 to 1979. At the end of these tenures, he became honorary conductor for life of both organizations.
He guest conducted extensively and at various times was principal guest conductor or permanent guest conductor at various times of the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, and Prague Philharmonic. He began conducting orchestras in America frequently, and led opera performances at La Scala, the Bayreuth Festival, Opera di Roma, and various other European and Japanese venues.
He recorded frequently, and many ‘dall vivo’ recordings of his live and broadcast performances exist. He was especially praised for his control over the immense formal structures of Bruckner's symphonies and his masterly control of phrasing.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Anny Schlemm joined the Berlin State Opera, where she remained until 1961, during which period her rôles included Susanna, Marenka, Donna Elvira, Desdemona, Manon Lescaut, Octavian, Arabella, etc. She also sang at the opera houses of Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, and at the Bayreuth Festival, etc. She made guest appearances at the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Paris Opéra, the Holland Festival, etc. Later, as her voice darkened, she became a famous exponent of rôles such as Clytemnestra, Herodias, Kabanicha in KÁTYA KABANOVÁ, and Kostelnicka in JENUFA, etc. A superb singing-actress and highly versatile artist, she was equally at home in comic and dramatic roles.
Soprano Christel Goltz was a discovery of conductor Karl Böhm and one of the leading dramatic sopranos of her generation who possessed a rich voice with a brilliant range and intensity. She was particularly associated with the operas of Richard Strauss, especially SALOME and ELEKTRA, and with contemporary operas. Before she became a singer, Goltz had been a dancer and was physically the antithesis of the typical operatic soprano: small, lithe, and energetic. Despite her diminutive stature, Goltz had a big voice that easily made it out to the farthest tier, and it is said that when the character Narraboth killed himself in Strauss' SALOME, that Goltz would leap over his dead body during the Dance of the Seven Veils. It was in dramatic rôles such as Salome and Elektra that Goltz made her mark, and by all accounts in performance she was extremely effective at them. The only sizable studio recordings she made -- SALOME with Clemens Krauss and ELEKTRA with Georg Solti -- were in such rôles. Early in her career, Goltz also created rôles in works of Carl Orff and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister.
Born in Dortmund, she studied in Munich with Ornelli-Leeb and with Theodor Schenk, whom she later married. After singing small rôles, she made her official début in Fuerth, as Agathe, in 1935. She sang one season in Plauen, before joining the roster of principal sopranos at the Staatsoper Dresden through the invitation of Karl Böhm in 1936. She remained at that house until 1950. She began appearing at both the Berlin State Opera and the Stadtische Oper Berlin in 1947, and at the Munich State Opera and Vienna State Opera in 1950. Beginning in 1951, she also made guest appearances in Salzburg, Milan, Rome, Brussels, Paris, London, Buenos Aires, and sang at the Metropolitan Opera in 1954. Besides SALOME and ELEKTRA, her greatest successes included the title rôle in JENUFA, Marie in WOZZECK, Die Farberin in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, Leonora in FIDELIO and Elettra in IDOMENEO. She created the title rôles in Carl Orff's ANTIGONE and Rolf Liebermann's PENELOPE. An intense singing-actress with a clear and powerful voice of great range, she also tackled a few Italian rôles, notably Turandot.”
- Ned Ludd
“The most important singer of the German Heldentenor repertory in the 1950s and 1960s, Wolfgang Windgassen employed his not-quite-heroic instrument, believable physique, and considerable musical intelligence to forge memorable performances on-stage and in the recording studio. Although his voice lacked the sensuous appeal of Melchior's or Völker's, it was never unattractive and never employed to obvious effect. Indeed, it conveyed a youthfulness that suited the young Siegfried especially well.
The tenor made his début as Alvaro in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO at Pforzheim in 1941. In 1945, he joined the Württembergisches Staatstheater in Stuttgart, steadily moving from lyric rôles to more heroic parts; he remained a singer there until 1972. Upon making his début in the first postwar season at Bayreuth in 1951, he came to international attention. His Parsifal, growing from uncomprehending innocence to maturity and service, was a moving portrayal and was recorded live by Decca Records. Windgassen became indispensable at the Bayreuth Festival, excelling as Lohengrin, the two Siegfrieds, Tannhäuser, and Tristan. There, he earned the respect and devotion of the three leading dramatic sopranos of the age: Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, and Birgit Nilsson. Elsewhere, Windgassen made positive impressions at La Scala (where he débuted as Florestan in 1952), Paris (Parsifal in 1954), and Covent Garden, where he appeared as Tristan in 1954. Although regarded by English critics as somewhat light of voice for Wagner's heaviest tenor rôles, his lyric expression and dramatic aptness were wholly admired. The Metropolitan Opera briefly heard him as Siegmund beginning in January 1957 and as Siegfried. Windgassen did not return to America until 1970, when he sang Tristan to the Isolde of Nilsson at San Francisco. Beginning that same year, he turned to stage direction. Among Windgassen's finest recordings are his Bayreuth PARSIFAL, captured with a superb cast under Knappertsbusch's direction, his 1954 Bayreuth LOHENGRIN under Jochum, his SIEGFRIEDs under both Böhm at Bayreuth and in the studio with Solti, and his Bayreuth TRISTAN with Böhm conducting and Nilsson as his Isolde.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com