V2441. LJUBA WELITSCH: The Complete Columbia Recordings - w.Paul Ulanowsky (PF.): Songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Marx, Dargomyzhsky, Moussorgsky, Mahler & Strauss (incl. the latter's Vier Letze Lieder); w.REINER & RUDOLF Cond. Metropolitan Opera Orch.: Arias & Duets (w.Tucker & de Paolis) From Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, Tosca & Salome (The latter's Final Scene). (Austria) 2-Sony MH2K 62866, recorded, 1949-53, incl. sev.unpublished titles. Gatefold jacket has brochure, w.archival photos; discs feature facsimile original Columbia LP labels. Very long out-of-print, final ever-so-slightly used copy! - 074646286623
“Ljuba Welitsch's performance in the title role of SALOME on 4 Feb, 1949, was regarded as one of the most memorable in Metropolitan Opera history. The packed house had turned out mainly to hear Fritz Reiner make his Met début as a conductor, but by the time the performance ended, with at least 15 minutes of cheering and whistling from an ecstatic audience, Miss Welitsch had become an international star. A few days later, Miss Welitsch dazzled the critics again, displaying her versatility in the title role of Verdi's AÏDA and prompting Howard Taubman of The Times to call her ‘one of the few perfect singers to come to the Met in recent years’.' But Miss Welitsch's extensive repertory and her determination to make up for the years on the international stage that she had lost during World War II shortened her operatic career. She drove her voice mercilessly, and by the mid-1950's, critics seemed to agree that her best singing was behind her.
At the Met, she appeared in 63 performances between her début and her final appearance, in the nonsinging role of the Duchesss of Krakenthorp in Donizetti's FILLE DU REGIMENT on 17 Feb., 1972. Besides Salome and Aïda, her Metropolitan Opera roles included Donna Anna in DON GIOVANNI, the title role in TOSCA, Rosalinde in Johann Strauss' DIE FLEDERMAUS and Musetta in LA BOHEME.
But most of Miss Welitsch's career was spent in Europe, where she was coached by the composer when she made her Vienna Opera debut in a special performance of SALOME that celebrated Richard Strauss' 80th birthday in 1944. Even when her career in grand opera faded, Miss Welitsch's love of performance kept her busy into the early 1980's in operetta, films, radio, television and on the stage.
Welitsch began her professional career in 1936 with the Graz Opera Company which played a 10-month season that enabled Miss Welitsch to build her repertory. From 1941 to 1943 she sang in Hamburg and from 1943 to 1946 in Munich. In 1943 she also joined the Vienna Opera, where she made her noteworthy Vienna début in SALOME the next year. When she made her English début with the company in 1947, she dazzled audiences at Covent Garden, and by 1948 she had sung SALOME more than 50 times and appeared in more than 40 other roles. That summer, while abroad, Edward Johnson, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, heard Miss Welitsch and engaged her to sing in New York the following year.”
- Lawrence van Gelder, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6 Sept., 1996