OP0036. IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Live Performance, 31 Dec., 1976, w.Schippers Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Frederica von Stade, Hermann Prey, Renzo Casellato, Enzo Dara, Ruggero Raimondi, Paolo Montarsolo, etc. (Slovenia) 2-Living Stage 1111. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 3830257411116
"Born in 1945, Frederica von Stade - who auditioned for the Met on a $50 bet - is considered one of the world's most accomplished mezzo-sopranos....Von Stade's honey-coated, light voice was, in its time, a fresh alternative to those of powerhouse mezzos like Marilyn Horne.
Though Mr. Prey's voice was a mellow, lyric baritone, he sang with such focused sound and robust projection that he enjoyed an active career in opera. He avoided the heavier Verdi roles, but excelled at Mozart, Gluck, Rossini, and lighter Strauss and Wagner roles. One of his great achievements was Beckmesser in Wagner's MEISTERSINGER, which he sang at the Met in 1993. To his characterization of a town clerk in medieval Nuremberg, typically portrayed as a scheming buffoon, Mr. Prey brought an emotional complexity and light-on-the-feet comic grace that made Beckmesser endearing.
Mr. Prey's voice was ideally suited to lieder, and he left a large and important discography, including songs by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Mahler, and Carl Loewe, a neglected 19th-century composer whom Mr. Prey championed. Commenting on Mr. Prey's 1985 recording of Schubert's WINTERREISE with the pianist Philippe Bianconi, The New York Times critic Bernard Holland wrote: ‘This is Schubert singing that does not twist sound for pictorial or dramatic effect but instead creates, with unusual musical clarity and purity of tone, a narrative voice which, though concerned and moved, tells the story first and lives it only indirectly’."
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 July, 1998