OP3274. OTELLO (in German) - Excerpts, recorded 1943, w.Elmendorff Cond. Berlin Radio Ensemble; Helge Roswaenge, Maria Reining, Hans Reinmar, etc.; HANS REINMAR: Arias & Scenes from Don Carlos, Ballo, Simon Boccanegra, Carmen & L'Africaine. [Surely we would pay a king's ransom in our own time to hear such a formidable . . . and sensitive . . . Otello as Roswaenge!] (France) Malibran AMR 171.
“Helge Roswaenge boasted one of the most thrilling tenors of the century. In terms of heights and volume it seemed capable of almost anything its owner asked of it—and he was quite unstinting in its employment. Many of us brought up on 78rpm recordings of opera first encountered him in his quite overwhelming account of Florestan's scena, the only one in my experience that, from a vocal point of view, wholly measures up to Beethoven's exorbitant demands.”
- Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE
"I was at the Roswaenge concerts in 1963 at Carnegie Hall, and 1964 at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel. These New York concerts were recorded and are an amazing demonstration of superb technique, passionate singing, and extraordinary communicative skills, and at age 66 and 67!!! At Carnegie Hall Roswaenge sang the top 22 tenor arias back to back - no tenor singing today would attempt even half of that number."
- Richard Kummins
"Helge Roswaenge, the noted Danish tenor, spent most of his career in German opera houses. A star at the Berlin State Opera from 1929 to 1945, he was a member of the Vienna State Opera after 1930 as well as a guest singer in other major European houses. He sang Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1934 and 1936, a variety of roles at the Salzburg Festival both before and after the war and appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1963. He was known for the beauty of his voice and the expressivity of his delivery. Despite his nationality he was a pronounced German nationalist and apparently a sincere Nazi, joining the party in 1933. He appeared at the 1939 Nuremberg party rally, was highly regarded by Nazi officials and was one of the foreign artists esteemed by Goebbels for helping to support the German war effort by participating in Wehrmacht request concerts on German radio."
- Frederic Spotts, Great Conductors of the Third Reich
“Maria Reining was the jugendliche-dramatische soprano who took over the majority of Lotte Lehmann's rôles at the Vienna State Opera when Lehmann left in 1937, and continued singing them into the early 1950's. She proved hugely popular with the public because of her naturally beautiful soprano and lovely looks, the voice as we hear it obviously part of the outgoing, unaffected personality. On disc she recorded for Telefunken just before the war, for Electrola during it, and for Decca after, most notably her Marschallin in the legendary DER ROSENKAVALIER conducted by Erich Kleiber. Perhaps her most notable legacies on disc are her account of the title-rôle in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, recorded at the Vienna State Opera to celebrate Strauss's eightieth birthday, and her Arabella in the 'unofficial' off-the-air Salzburg Festival performances of Strauss' opera in 1947 (with Hotter as Mandryka).”
- Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE, Sept., 1992
“Maria Reining didn't begin her singing career until the age of 28, when she began at the Vienna State Opera, mainly in soubrette roles. Two years later, she moved to Darmstadt, then to the Munich State Opera, where she made her début as Elsa, under Hans Knappertsbusch. In 1937 she followed Knappertsbusch to the Vienna State Opera, where she sang Elsa again. Reining was a member of the Vienna State Opera ensemble between 1931 and 1933 and again between 1937 and 1957. Between 1937 and 1941, she sang at the Salzburg Festival with great success, conducted, among others, by Arturo Toscanini. She predominantly sang rôles by Mozart, Wagner and Richard Strauss. As a guest, she appeared at the leading European opera houses, at the Royal Opera House and at La Scala.”
- Z. D. Akron
“Hans Reinmar was a formidably equipped Viennese baritone [who] began his career with some provincial appointments, slowly learning his craft at the Municipal Theatre in Olomouc (or Olmütz as Reinmar would doubtless still have known it) and the opera company in Nuremberg. He then moved to Zürich and back, prestigiously, to Berlin after small stints in Dresden and Hamburg. Although he was heard in Bayreuth and in Salzburg, Berlin remained his base for the rest of his career. When one thinks of the contemporary competition - Bockelmann, Rode, Janssen, Schlusnus, Domgraf-Fassbänder and Hüsch among them - one realises that Reinmar had to have carved out his roles with considerable distinction and had the voice and the stamina to survive such strong colleagues. He sang much of the expected repertoire but also Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler and von Einem’s Dantons Tod (both after the War) and Boris Godunov (he was reputed to have been excellent) and, much earlier in his career, Kurt Weill. One of his last important roles was in Robert Kurka’s splendid opera THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK and it was a melancholy coincidence that he died, in February 1961, two days after his final appearance in Kurka’s opera.
He was a lauded Mozartian and a noted Verdi baritone and we have ample evidence to support the admiration of his contemporaries. That said I would characterise him as more a character baritone than one with a beautiful voice per se. In fact declamatory power was what Reinmar had, and a great deal of it, a strong sense of involvement and characterisation. Not for nothing did Reinmar work at the Komische Oper in Berlin.”
- Jonathan Woolf