OP2673. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, recorded 1928, w.Karl Elmendorff Cond. Bayreuth Festival Ensemble; Nanny Larsén-Todsen, Gunnar Graarud, Anny Helm, Rudolf Bockelmann, Ivar Andrésen, Joachim Sattler, etc.; Mini-lecture on the Wagnerian motifs, in French. (Canada) 3–St Laurent Studio YSL 78-144. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Specially priced.
“Karl Elmendorff was a German conductor whose career was almost exclusively tied to the opera house. Elmendorff was a prominent conductor who led major performances at some of the most prestigious venues, including at the Bayreuth Festival, the Dresden State Opera, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bavarian State Opera, and others. Critically, Elmendorff is generally viewed as a seasoned master of a broad repertory largely of German, Italian, and French opera; he was particularly known for his incisive interpretations of Wagner's operas. Elmendorff's efforts to promote German opera in Italy and Italian opera in Germany helped create a climate of reciprocal pursuit in the operatic traditions of both countries.
Karl Elmendorff was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 25 October, 1891. From 1913-16 he studied conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Köln under Hermann Abendroth and Fritz Steinbach. In 1916 Elmendorff débuted at the Düsseldorf Opera, and he continued to regularly conduct there until 1920. He served as first conductor at the Bavarian State Opera (1925-1932) under music director Hans Knappertsbusch, and during this time he also conducted at the Berlin State Opera. He also served as the music director at the National Theater Mannheim from 1935-1942. Meanwhile, he was occupied during his summers: from his 1927 Bayreuth début (Wagner's TRISTAN UND ISOLDE), Elmendorff was a regular at the Bayreuth Festival until 1942.
Elmendorff served at the Dresden State Opera from 1942, but returned to the posts he held with the Kassel Staatstheater and Hessische Staatstheater from 1948-1956. He freelanced in his remaining years, appearing at opera houses throughout Europe, including La Scala.”
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com
“Nanny Larsén-Todsen was a Swedish soprano renowned for her performances in works by Richard Wagner and counted as one of the most notable Wagner-singers of the 20th-century. She was particularly popular at the Bayreuth Festival as Brünnhilde and Isolde. She was a Wagnerian soprano from the generation before Frida Leider and Kirsten Flagstad, active at the Royal Swedish Opera 1906-25, at La Scala 1925-27, the Metropolitan 1927 and Bayreuth in 1927-31, and she also toured frequently. She made her last performance in Paris in 1937.
Gunnar Graarud was a Norwegian operatic tenor. After making his début in 1919, he was a leading artist at the Berlin State Opera from 1924-1926 and at the Vienna State Opera from 1929-1937. In 1927 he created the role of The blind judge in the world premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE at the Hamburg State Opera. In 1928 he sang the role of Tristan for the first recording of Richard Wagner's TRISTAN UND ISOLDE. After retiring from the stage he was a member of the voice faculty at the Vienna Academy of Music. One of his notable pupils was bass Otto Edelmann.
Rudolf Bockelmann was a German dramatic baritone and Kammersänger. He built an international career as an outstanding Wagnerian singer but damaged his reputation during the 1930s by joining the Nazi Party. After the war he made his operatic début in 1920 in Celle, and from 1921 to 1926 he sang as a member of the Oper Leipzig's company. Bockelmann's opera career in Germany would hit its peak during the 1930s and last until the 1950s. At the height of his vocal powers, in 1932, he was engaged by the Berlin State Opera, remaining connected to the company until 1944. He sang often at Germany's Bayreuth Festival, too. His first Bayreuth appearance occurred in 1928, and he returned there regularly until 1942. Above all, he was famed for his performances of heroic baritone roles such as that of Wotan in DIE WALKÜRE and DAS RHEINGOLD. He was equally renowned for his assumption of the dramatically demanding part of Hans Sachs in DIE MEISTERSINGER.
Bockelmann enjoyed a successful overseas career as well. He undertook many guest performances prior to World War II at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and at the Chicago Opera in the United States, performing Wagner's works in the main.
In 1937, Bockelmann joined the NSDAP (Nazi Party) and was registered under the membership number 5.849.261. He then became a member of the Präsidialbeirat Comradeship of German Artists within the Ministry of Arts. In August 1944, during the final phase of World War II, dictator Adolf Hitler included him in the Gottbegnadeten list, which gave the names of the most important artists active in Germany under the Third Reich. He was also appointed a music professor to the Imperial School of Music in Salzburg.
His voice was impressively powerful, steady and wide ranging, with a warm and attractive timbre.
After World War Two, Bockelmann was criticised for his Nazi links and his career was restricted thenceforth to the German stage. He sang mainly at the Hamburg State Opera and Hans Hotter succeeded him as Germany's foremost heroic baritone in the international arena.
[Andrésen’s] voice was as black as coal, strong as steel, and steady as a rock, with plenty of projecting power to spare. His characterizations were influenced by a strong spiritual element that gave him dignity and philosophical insight into the text….This is Wagnerian singing at its best."
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2006
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011