OP2764. DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Live Performance, 27 July, 1949, Salzburg, w.Furtwängler Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble, w.Seefried, Lipp, Ludwig, Greindl, Schmitt-Walter, Grob-Prandl, etc.; Furtwängler Cond. Members of Vienna Phil.: Serenade #10 in B-flat, K.361 (Mozart), recorded 1947. (Germany) 3-Gebhardt 0010. Long out-of-print, final copies of this truly definitive and glorious performance! - 4035122001006
“The Furtwängler-Salzburg performances were virtually a roll call of the foremost Mozartean singers of the day, who were molded (with few exceptions) into an ensemble force that amounted to a single constellation rather than a mere juxtaposition of stars….Nothing is rigid; there are none of the false conceptions of style, prevalent with many conductors….”
- John Ardoin, THE FURTWÄNGLER RECORD, pp.100 & 103
“Walther Ludwig was a German operatic lyric tenor, particularly associated with Mozart roles and Schubert lieder. He first studied medicine in Freiburg before turning to voice studies in Königsberg, where he made his début in 1928. He then sang in Schwerin, where he created the title role in Paul Graeners's FRIEDMANN BACH in 1931. He joined the Städtische Oper Berlin in 1932, where he established himself in Mozart roles such as Belmonte, Don Ottavio, Tamino, Idomeneo, Ferrando, etc. After the war, he began appearing at the Hamburg State Opera, and made his début at the Vienna State Opera in 1947, and at the Salzburg Festival in 1948. He also made guest appearances at La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opéra, the Royal Opera House in London, the Liceo in Barcelona.
A stylish and musical lyric tenor, other notable roles included light Italian roles such as Nemorino, Ernesto, Duke of Mantua, Alfredo, French lyric role such as Wilhelm Meister. He left complete recordings of DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR, ZAR UND ZIMMERMANN, DIE SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN, DIE SCHÖPFUNG, and a very Germanic sounding Verdi ‘Requiem’. He was the very moving Evangelist in a live 1950 Vienna performance of Bach's ST MATTHEW PASSION under Karajan, in which Kathleen Ferrier sang. He taught in Berlin from 1952 until 1969.
Discussing colleagues in her dressing room following a recital, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf remarked that Seefried had by nature almost all the gifts that she and others strove for years to acquire….”
- Vivian A. Liff, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2010
"Seefried became a favorite of the public because of her beautiful lyric soprano, her natural, unaffected way of singing, and her charm. Her colleague (and competitor) in Vienna, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, is quoted as having been envious of Seefried's natural way of singing; as she put it, 'Seefried sang with her heart'....Her voice is fresh and irresistibly beautiful, and her use of it sounds spontaneous and natural. Her diction is acceptable. It's a joy and a privilege to listen to her."
- Kurt Moses, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, July/Aug., 2010
“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
“Josef Greindl was considered as one of the greatest Wagner singers of his time. He had a powerfully expressive bass voice, whose clarity of declamation exhibited his stylistic projecting ability. Josef Greindl was equally convincing in dramatic and Buffo rôles. He also excelled in concert singing.”
- Aryeh Oron