OP2643. DER ROSENKAVALIER, Live Performance, 7 Jan., 1939,(replete with Milton Cross’ commentary at end of Act I in which he introduces 'the very first live Met Opera backstage interview' with Lotte Lehmann), w.Bodanzky Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Lotte Lehmann, Risë Stevens, Marita Farell, Emanuel List, Friedrich Schorr, etc.; John Guttman interviews Lotte Lehmann, 22 March, 1958, Santa Barbara; Der Rosenkavalier – Act III Final Scene, w.Seinemeyer, Stünzer, Merrem-Nikisch, Marherr, Kern & List, recorded 1928-29. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances IPCD 1023. Transfers by Richard Caniell. Elaborate Edition features numerous lovely photos & 39pp booklet. - 713757314039
"Richard Caniell’s restoration of this 1939 broadcast surpasses all previous issues in quality, even including the Met’s own lavishly produced (and lavishly priced) LP set. The sound is fuller, the voices truer and more natural, the sonic grit minimized to a degree I would not have thought possible...The sound is now listenable to anyone with an ear attuned to ‘historic’ recordings, in a way that it never has been.
So why can you not be without this? Primarily, but not solely, Lotte Lehmann in one of her greatest roles, caught in terrific voice and in a real performance....Her Marschallin is one of the truly great operatic characterizations, worthy of mention with Chaliapin’s Boris and Caruso’s Canio, and to have it in this form is to have a treasure. In addition we get the young Risë Stevens’s deftly characterized and beautifully sung Octavian, a relatively unknown Sophie in Marita Farell, but one who sings with the pure silver tone this music wants.
This is a hugely important release to anyone who cares about this opera; even if you have the performance in an earlier incarnation, replacement is urgently recommended."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, May/June, 2013
“The most famous of pre-war Marshallins was unquestionably Lehmann, one of the great Elsas and Sieglindes of her day, who created the lyric soprano role of the Composer in the Vienna premiere of ARIADNE II and the dramatic soprano role of the Dyer’s Wife in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN. Lehmann’s voice must have developed gradually into the heavier parts, for she is the first of several celebrated ROSENKAVALIER ‘hat-trick’ holders: sopranos who have progressed from Sophie to Octavian to the Marshallin….Lehmann was clearly one of the sopranos who served as inspirational muse to Strauss: in addition to the Composer and Dyer’s Wife, she was also entrusted with the creation of one of his most individual and beloved protagonists, Christine Storch in INTERMEZZO, a thinly disguised portrait of Strauss’ wife Pauline. [One shouldn’t forget that his Arabella was written with LL in mind].
Lehmann’s dramatic conception of the [Marschallin] manages to convince despite her age: she is coquettish with both Octavian and Ochs, using a sly portamento (‘Du, Schatz!’) to convey her amusement at the Mariandel disguise, and she seems more tolerant than most of her successors of her ‘aufgeblasene, schlechte Kerl’ of a cousin. Indeed, from the histrionic point of view, Lehmann maintains the melancholic and frivolous sides of the Marschallin’s personality in carefully balanced equilibrium: the dry eye much in evidence in her teasing of her lover and remonstrations with Ochs, the wet one in her nostalgic reminiscences of ‘die kleine Resi’ fresh from the convent in the Act 1 monologue and especially in the ‘Heut’ oder morgen’ section the the succeeding duet with Octavian. Long experience of the opera has evidently led to a deep understanding of the Marschallin’s mercurial temperament: her tears are not self-pitying ones and they do not for long dull the twinkle in her eye…”
- Hugh Canning, INTERNATIONAL OPERA COLLECTOR, Spring 1999
“What memories this historic broadcast recording brings back to me! It was my first ROSENKAVALIER on the air and my first and only broadcast with Lotte Lehmann, taking place only a few weeks after my Metropolitan Opera début in MIGNON….My teacher, Anna Schoen-René, felt Octavian…would be a good rôle for me. She took me to the Mozarteum in Salzburg to study with one of Europe’s finest Octavians, the soprano Marie Gutheil-Schoder. It was this remarkable woman who gave me the physical security and ease to become credible in portraying a young boy….When I did my first Octavian in Prague, at the age of twenty-two, thanks to Mme. Gutheil-Schoder, I was prepared.”
- Risë Stevens, MEMORIES OF OCTAVIAN, Met Historic Recordings
“Risë Stevens is a fiery and juvenile Octavian in a live performance conducted by Bodanzky opposite Lotte Lehmann, Marita Farell and Emanuel List, and in a performance under Fritz Reiner opposite Eleanor Steber, Erna Berger and Emanuel List (all at their best) [OP2054]. Both recordings are a ‘must’.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile