OP2772. DAS RHEINGOLD, Live Performance, 22 May, 1962, Cologne, w.Sawallisch Cond. Gürzenich Ensemble; George London, Zoltan Kelemen, Erwin Wolfahrt, Elisabeth Schärtel, etc. (Slovenia) 2-Living Stage 1004. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 3830025710045
“Wolfgang Sawallisch, one of the last of the old-school German conductors, who led the Philadelphia Orchestra for nearly a decade and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for two decades before that, embodied the German type of the ‘Kapellmeister’ in the best sense: a man steeped in music, who knew every note of every score he conducted (often from memory), who was a supportive accompanist as well as an informed interpreter and who understood how to train, develop and lead an orchestra. Never flashy, even somewhat understated, he was, at his best, insightful and illuminating.
While Mr. Sawallisch was renowned throughout Europe, he might have remained little known to American audiences had the Philadelphia Orchestra not tapped him to take over as music director in 1993. When he arrived at age 70, he underwent a veritable renaissance, evidently enjoying a new freedom, both artistic and political — far from the political squabbling that had increasingly overshadowed his last years in Munich. ‘The last 10 years, with the Philadelphia Orchestra’, he said in 2006, ‘were really the top years of my symphonic life’. His time in Philadelphia was therefore a particularly happy ending to his career. Against some expectations, the reserved, intensely private German thrived in America, and the orchestra responded warmly to him.”
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Feb., 2013
“In the many performances I have appeared in, there were many wonderful colleagues who had me in raptures. There were those with magnificent voices, or great musicians, wonderful actors or great personalities. But George London had it ALL. He was as impressive on stage as he was the wonderful colleague and friend in his private life.”
- Birgit Nilsson, as quoted in Leonardo A. Ciampa’s THE TWILIGHT OF BELCANTO, p.130
“George London was a dramatic and very expressive singer. In many rôles he sang like a demonic panther with a sound of purple-black in color. London was a singer favoring the drama in a piece, varying color to suggest shifts of mood. His acting on stage was described as overwhelming. The special magnetism of this artist is documented on his great recordings. Every rôle he sang was sung with utmost expression and unbelievable commitment, truly a singing-actor!”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile
"A Karajan favorite and a Bayreuth regular, the Hungarian baritone Zoltán Kelemen was at home on most stages in Northern Europe. His skill as a singing actor is patent from first to last - no character trait escapes his probing mind, no phrase is untouched by some imaginative vocal effect. Best of all, the voice has substantial size and the singing method is sound - in several welcome moments he even allows its timbral appeal to surface."
- Paul Jackson, START-UP AT THE NEW MET, p.196
“Zoltán Kelemen was a Hungarian bass-baritone who made his début as Kecal in Smetana's BARTERED BRIDE in 1959. He began studying music at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music before leaving Hungary in order to study in Rome. When he left Rome in 1959, he established himself in Germany, first in Augsburg and later in Cologne. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Kelemen was a favorite singer of Herbert von Karajan, with whom he recorded FIDELIO in the role of Don Pizarro, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN as Alberich, BORIS GODUNOV as Rangoni, DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG as Fritz Kothner, THE MERRY WIDOW as Mirko Zeta, and others. Kelemen also recorded the role of Klingsor in PARSIFAL with Georg Solti (1971). At the Bayreuth Festival, Kelemen succeeded Gustav Neidlinger in the role of Alberich, in which he débuted in 1964 and with which he became identified. He notably sang it several times under the direction of Pierre Boulez.”
- Eugene Chadbourne, allmusic.com