OP3290. FIDELIO, Live Performance, 7 Jan., 1984, w. Klaus Tennstedt Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Eva Marton, Jon Vickers, Franz Mazura, Paul Plishka, Roberta Peters, etc. [This was Tennstedt's final Met Opera performance of the seven FIDELIOs he conducted during his brief 3-week Met career!] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-794.
"...the Leonore Overture #3 [was played] as a segue from the Dungeon Scene to the Finale of the opera. You will hear the final notes of the duet between Leonore (Fidelio) and Florestan, with applause dissolving into the opening of the Overture. The unbelievable, heart-stopping audience reception following the Met Orchestra's inspiring performance of Leonore #3 nearly raised the roof off the house, leading the segue into the Finale.
The cast was about as good as you could get: Jon Vickers was legendary as Florestan. With his total commitment, he literally 'became' the role, and in the process raised the level of everyone else. Eva Marton was Leonore, Roberta Peters played Marzelline, Matti Salminen was Rocco, Franz Mazura, Pizzaro, and Aage Haugland as Don Fernando. The production was by Otto Schenk. And then there was Klaus Tennstedt.
From the outset of the very first rehearsal, one could sense his total, life and death, commitment to the score. That made the orchestra even more eager to reciprocate in kind. Those incredible moments on January 7, 1984 made me feel privileged to be part of this great orchestra, and will remain with me forever as one of the high points of my career."
- James Kreger, 'cellist, Metropolitan Opera Musicians
"Even before Klaus Tennstedt lifted his baton to make his American opera debut as the leader of the season's first FIDELIO, he was given a long, fervent ovation. The cheering was repeated at every subsequent opportunity, perhaps as an expression of the audience's gratitude at finding one of the world's foremost conductors in the Metropolitan's pit, even if as a passing guest. Mr. Tennstedt responded by leading a high-tension performance of FIDELIO that often stretched the dramatic line near the breaking point, particularly in a passionate reading of the 'Leonore' Overture #3, gratuitously played as usual before the final scene. This was not a FIDELIO especially rich in orchestral or vocal nuance. What Mr. Tennstedt seemed to be aiming for, on the whole, was heart-stopping melodrama and a musical line that never fell slack for a moment. That is certainly one valid way to approach this most melodramatic of operas. One could imagine Beethoven himself conducting it along the same lines."
- Donal Henahan, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 December, 1983
"[Vickers' Florestan] was the most awesome thing I ever heard in my life; [with] the first note of the part, I just fell out of my seat. I can still hear it."
- James Levine (as quoted in Jeannie Williams' A HERO'S LIFE, p.107)
“FIDELIO featured Eva Marton in the title role and the debut of Klaus Tennstedt in American operatic conducting. Miss Marton, fresh from her triumph as Turandot in Boston, gave the role splendid amplitude of voice and an increasing commitment to the unfoldment of the character's dilemma. The voice is big, cutting, and thrilling when unfurled in all its majesty....
In the pit, Mr. Tennstedt gave forth with a noble, propulsive, electrifying performance of the score. His roots are clearly in the opera house. The Met orchestra responded to him the way it does to few other conductors these days, playing like the important ensemble it has become these past few years.
Tennstedt offered the score in his own way - now rather slow, now exceedingly peppy - but he managed to remain true to the spirit of the work. He made the ‘Leonore’ #3 Overture between the two scenes of the second act sound as if it really belonged there, and the finale was of an ecstatic order.”
- Thor Eckert Jr., THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 13 Jan., 1984