OP2642. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE – Act III (composite re-creation from several performances), w.Leinsdorf & Kinsky Cond. Lauritz Melchior, Göta Ljungberg, Genia Gusalewicz, Herbert Janssen, Ivar Andrésen, etc.; Die Meistersinger – Gut’n Abend, Meister, w.Göta Ljungberg & Friedrich Schorr, recorded 1931. (Canada) Immortal Performances 1019. Restoration, re-creation & transfers by Richard Caniell. - 713757465106
“Given the wealth of operatic material available since the advent of electrical recording, many a collector must have dreamed of ideal casts that somehow never made it onto tape or disk. The original notification of [the above] issue – an apparently unknown recording of the two fabled singers in the last act of Wagner’s great work - came like a thunderbolt. Although they often sang it together in the opera house, there are no known recordings. Richard Caniell has decided to make his dreams come true and set out to remedy the situation by splicing recordings from various dates and studios….Against all odds, this proved an enjoyable listening experience, essentially emerging as a homogenous performance. Ljungberg’s instantly recognisable, truly lovely timbre presents a human, almost fragile Isolde….in the care of almost certainly the finest heldentenor of the last century, Tristan’s ravings seem not one note too long. He is worthily supported by Herbert Janssen’s splendid Kurvenal. Andrésen, one of the great basses of his era, also graces a rôle he must have sung innumerable times at all the major opera houses. If Immortal Performances could now conjure up the first two acts! The ‘conversation piece’ filler illustrates to perfection the artistry and glorious voice of Schorr – unquestionably the supreme Wagnerian bass-baritone of his time. Together with Ljungberg they supply a demonstration of Wagner singing at its peak. This Sachs-Eva conversational interchange, even ignoring the beauty of the voices, illustrates a degree of inflexion, nuance, and verbal pointing apparently lost to contemporary exponents of these rôles.”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2012
“Lauritz Melchior trained with retired Danish tenor Vilhelm Herold. In 1918, now singing as a tenor, Melchior gave his first performance as Tannhäuser. 1924 saw his first performances at Bayreuth (Siegmund, Parsifal), and at Covent Garden (Siegmund), two of the most important theaters of his career. Another crucial debut came in 1926: the Metropolitan Opera, portraying Tannhäuser. The remainder of the 1920s passed by in a whirlwind of newness.
Although in the 1920s Melchior was planning to make Germany the center of his career, the unforeseen Nazification and Great Depression of the early 1930s in fact moved him away from that country's theaters, including ‘Hitler's Bayreuth’. After 1933, the majority of his opera season was spent at the Metropolitan. It was a Dionysiac time for Wagner performance. His only new operatic rôle in the 1930s was Florestan.
Melchior left the Met and the opera after a much publicized kafuffle with incoming General Manager Rudolf Bing, giving his last performance (Lohengrin) in February of 1950."
-Zillah D. Akron