OP3157. FIDELIO, Live Performance, 5 Aug., 1983, Salzburg, w.Maazel Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; James King, Eva Marton, Tom Krause, Aage Haugland, Lilian Watson, Thomas Moser, etc. (Austria) 2-Orfeo C 908 152 I. Specially priced. - 4011790908229
gEvery conductor, even a great one, has his strengths and weaknesses, but Mr. Maazelfs seem oddly out of sync. He is a consummate musical technician whose control of the musical phrase often seems arbitrary; a committed liberal humanitarian whose reputation is that of an aloof loner; a man who has lavished money and attention on his own mini-festival in Virginia, but was never a notable presence in the life of the city from which he won, by his own admission, the eultimatef job. If he seems to be a paragon of the overpaid superstar conductor, it is not so much the amounts involved (Toscanini, at the height of the Great Depression, was also more than generously compensated) but frustration at a musician who too often seemed to think that allowing us into his presence was an achievement in itself.
For most of us in music, technique, whether with the baton, the voice, an instrument, or the composerfs pencil, is something we strive and strain to acquire, hoping that wefll gain enough of it to give wings to whatever artistic insights we can muster. For Maazel, a child-prodigy conductor, it was just the opposite: musical matters were so easy for him; so were business negotiations; he had no agent; that he could readily become bored, fussing with the music when he should have been shaping it lovingly and giving it life. A performance of Mahlerfs First Symphony that I heard during his tenure was garish and shallow: he made the work sound like the most accomplished youth-orchestra piece ever penned.
For the greatest conductors - masters like Bernstein, Tennstedt, Monteux, Levine - technique is a bridge to greatness, to the special place where perfection of spirit and execution combine, not just an end in itself. Maazelfs visits to that realm were rare but memorable, and with his passing only a handful of the big maestros of the postwar era, principally Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, and Christoph von Dohnányi, in addition to the great Russian survivor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky remain. Such men have not always lived up to their larger-than-life reputations, of course. But, more than any of them except Herbert von Karajan, Maazel made his way in the music business by his own rules, which made colleagues and critics uniquely unsympathetic to those instances when his performances failed to live up to the legend.h
- Russell Platt , THE NEW YORKER, 14 July, 2014
gJames King, an American heldentenor whose bright, ringing voice and fluent high notes captivated critics and audiences in leading European opera houses in the 1960's, started out as a baritone before training as a tenor with Martial Singher in New York, and with Max Lorenz. He won acclaim for roles by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, composers in whom he specialized.
King was noted by the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, where he had his first resident appointment in 1962 as a nearly unknown singer from the United States, and at the Metropolitan Opera, where he took on some of the most challenging tenor roles. At the Met, he made his début in 1966 as Florestan in Beethoven's FIDELIO, the first of 113 appearances there. He set records for the most performances in two particularly demanding roles on the Met roster, Bacchus in Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS and the Emperor in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, a role he sang in the opera's Met premiere. Met audiences also heard him in works by Berg, Bizet, Britten, Puccini and Wagner. His final performance was in 2000 at Indiana University in a production of Wagner's WALKÜRE, in which he took the role of Siegmund.
Keeping a baritone quality in his lower notes, he acquired a distinctive, recognizable timbre that assured him a long career. His voice was described as strong and dependable, with the stamina to sustain him in longer dramatic roles, and his six feet of height added impact to his performances. Howard Klein of THE NEW YORK TIMES, welcoming him as the Met's Florestan in 1966, hailed him as eamong the few tenors around today who can fill the role and still have plenty of voice to sparef.
James King won an American Opera Audition held in Cincinnati in 1961 and went in search of a career in Europe, as did many budding American singers at the time. His professional début was as Cavaradossi in Puccini's TOSCA at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence. He repeated the role at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan, gaining his first resident appointment in Berlin with a début as the Italian tenor in DER ROSENKAVALIER. Over the years he sang also at London's Royal Opera House, in Salzburg and at the Bayreuth Festival; and in Cincinnati, San Francisco and Philadelphia in the United States.h
- Wolfgang Saxon, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Nov., 2005
gHungarian soprano Eva Marton has enjoyed a highly successful career on the world's leading operatic stages since the late '60s. With her powerful, attractive voice she has managed to score numerous successes in the Italian spinto roles of Verdi and Puccini, the heftier roles of Wagner and Richard Strauss, and the more delicate but equally demanding ones of Mozart. She has also performed songs by Mahler, Liszt, and Schönberg, generally to critical acclaim.
Martonfs major début took place at the 1967 Margareten Island Festival (Budapest) as Kate Pinkerton in Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY. In 1968 she made a successful début at the Hungarian State Opera in Rimsky-Korsakov's LE COQ D'OR as the Queen of Shemakha. During her five years (1968-1972) at the Hungarian State Opera she sang a variety of roles, including Countess Almaviva in Mozart's LE NOZZE DE FIGARO and Rodelinda in Handel's RODELINDA. In 1972, at the behest of conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, she débuted at the Frankfurt Opera as Countess Almaviva. While serving for five seasons in Frankfurt, she débuted at the Vienna State Opera as Tosca (1973) to critical acclaim. She scored another success in her début at the Met in 1976 as Eva in Wagner's DIE MEISTERSINGER. In 1977, shortly after leaving the Frankfurt Opera, she joined the Hamburg State Opera where she received acclaim as the Empress in Strauss' DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN. Her highly praised La Scala début took place the following year when she sang Leonora in Verdi's IL TROVATORE.
In the 1980s and 1990s her further successes included several at the Salzburg Festival: Leonore in Beethoven's FIDELIO (1982); Elektra in Strauss' ELEKTRA (1989); and the Dyer's Wife in Strauss' DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN. She débuted at Covent Garden during this period as Puccini's Turandot (1987) and returned there in 1994 as Elektra. Marton has a special affinity for the role of Turandot, having sung it on-stage nearly 200 times.
Her TOSCA performances at the Met in 1999 and her Kundry portrayal in Wagner's PARSIFAL in 2001 productions in Lisbon and Barcelona all met with notable success. Marton has appeared on numerous CD and DVD opera and song recordings on several major labels.h
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com
gTom Krause, the Finnish baritone, made his name singing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner and starred in the American premiere of Brittenfs WAR REQUIEM. The WAR REQUIEM had been premiered at Coventry Cathedral in May 1962. The following January, Krause took on the role created by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for a performance at the Albert Hall with Peter Pears and Galina Vishnevskaya under Brittenfs baton. The critics were quick to praise his estrong, flexible, most musicianly voice and impeccable English enunciationf. In July, on Brittenfs recommendation, he was the sole singer from the London performances to transfer when the work was performed at Tanglewood, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf. Krause went on to sing it in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Carnegie Hall, New York.
Krause had a tall and commanding presence with brooding looks and a dark, resonant voice - once described as virile - that would immediately command attention. He spoke seven languages perfectly and was also a teacher who could draw the best out of his students and a singer who would happily share the spotlight with his fellow performers.
Tom Gunnar Krause made his début with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1959 as Escamillo in CARMEN and three years later joined the State Opera in Hamburg, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1962 he also made his Bayreuth début in Wagnerfs LOHENGRIN as well as appearing in his native Finland.
Krause appeared at Glyndebourne as the Count in Straussf CAPRICCIO opposite Elisabeth Söderstrom under John Pritchard in 1963. His début at the Met in 1967 was as Count Almaviva in Mozartfs THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with Cesare Siepi, Mirella Freni and Teresa Berganza. The following year he replaced an indisposed Nikolai Ghiarov in the title role of DON GIOVANNI under Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival, returning there regularly over the next 20 years. His association with the Met lasted until 1973 and included a thrilling Escamillo under Leonard Bernstein when Marilyn Horne sang Carmen. By then he had sung in the American premiere of Shostakovichfs Symphony #13 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, and Samuel Barber had written his cantata THE LOVERS for him. His attention turned once more to Europe, and in particular to Opéra de Paris, though he came to the Royal Opera House in 1973. In 1978 he sang in a new production of CARMEN at the Edinburgh Festival with Berganza and Plácido Domingo under Claudio Abbado.
Later in life he began to perform songs by his compatriot Jean Sibelius, notably at a recital at the Wigmore Hall accompanied by Irwin Gage in May 1983. Many of these songs appeared on disc two years later in a glorious recording shared with Söderstrom. Indeed, Krausefs legacy on disc stretches to more than 80 recordings, including Kurnewal in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE with Birgit Nilsson under Georg Solti.
He found teaching to be enjoyable and inspiring, feelings that were reciprocated by his many students. In 1995 he gave a masterclass at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. In an interview with the BBC on that occasion he explained his belief that singers were born rather than made. eSome people are born with a Stradivarius in their headf, he said.h
- THE TELEGRAPH, 24 March, 2014