LP0402. DER ROSENKAVALIER, Live Performance, 7 January 1939, w. Artur Bodanzky Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Risë Stevens, Lotte Lehmann, Emanuel List, Friedrich Schorr, Doris Doe, Karl Laufkötter, Ludwig Burgstaller, etc. 3-Metropolitan Opera Historic Broadcast Recordings MET 5. Producer: Dario Soria; Audio Engineer: Sam Sanders, R & H Archives. The packaging is in the style of the deluxe RCA Victor Soria Series releases - velvet-covered slipcase edition with an inner box that holds, in addition to the records, an elaborate beautifully-illustrated booklet with background on the opera's Met history by Risë Stevens, Lotte Lehmann, Mary Ellis Peltz & Gerald Fitzgerald, photos and biographies of the artists, plus a second booklet containing a libretto with translation. Produced by RCA in 1978. Factory-Sealed.
“For any number of reasons, this could not be anyone’s only recording of DER ROSENKAVALIER. On the other hand, if this opera is in any way important to you, this is also not a recording that you should be without....
So why can you not be without this? Primarily, but not solely, Lotte Lehmann in one of her greatest roles, caught in terrific voice and in a real performance. Her studio recording of most of the role for EMI in an abridged set (conducted decently enough by Robert Heger - reportedly EMI didn’t want to pay the fees asked by Strauss or Bruno Walter) is a classic, and has somewhat better sound. But here we have more of the role, and Lehmann motivated by the full theatrical experience of a stage performance. Her Marschallin is one of the truly great operatic characterizations, worthy of mention with Chaliapin’s Boris and Caruso’s Canio, and to have it in this form is to have a treasure. In addition we get the young Risë Stevens’ deftly characterized and beautifully sung Octavian, a relatively unknown Sophie in Marita Farell, but one who sings with the pure silver tone this music wants. Emanuel List was the Ochs of choice for many years, though I find that he slightly overdoes the boorish side of the character and his singing here is a bit rough. On the other hand, Friedrich Schorr as Faninal is luxurious casting in the extreme.”
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE, May / June 2013
“The most famous of pre-war Marshallins was unquestionably Lehmann, one of the great Elsas and Sieglindes of her day, who created the lyric soprano role of the Composer in the Vienna premiere of ARIDANE II and the dramatic soprano role of the Dyer’s Wife in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN. Lehmann’s voice must have developed gradually into the heavier parts, for she is the first of several celebrated ROSENKAVALIER ‘hat-trick’ holders: sopranos who have progressed from Sophie to Octavian to the Marshallin….Lehmann was clearly one of the sopranos who served as inspirational muse to Strauss: in addition to the Composer and Dyer’s Wife, she was also entrusted with the creation of one of his most individual and beloved protagonists, Christine Storch in INTERMEZZO, a thinly disguised portrait of Strauss’ wife Pauline. [One shouldn’t forget that his Arabella was written with LL in mind].
Lehmann’s dramatic conception of the [Marschallin] manages to convince despite her age: she is coquettish with both Octavian and Ochs, using a sly portamento (‘Du, Schatz!’) to convey her amusement at the Mariandel disguise, and she seems more tolerant than most of her successors of her ‘aufgeblasene, schlechte Kerl’ of a cousin. Indeed, from the histrionic point of view, Lehmann maintains the melancholic and frivoluous sides of the Marschallin’s personality in carefully balanced equilibrium: the dry eye much in evidence in her teasing of her lover and remonstrations with Ochs, the wet one in her nostalgic reminiscences of ‘die kleine Resi’ fresh from the convent in the Act 1 monologue and especially in the ‘Heut’ oder morgen’ section the the succeeding duet with Octavian. Long experience of the opera has evidently led to a deep understanding of the Marshallin’s mercurial temperament: her tears are not self-pitying ones and they do not for long dull the twinkle in her eye…”
- Hugh Canning, INTERNATIONAL OPERA COLLECTOR, Spring 1999