OP0148. EUGEN ONÉGIN (in German), Broadcast Performance, 10 & 11 Sept, 1952, w.Schüchter Cond. Norddeutschen Rundfunks Ensemble; Hugo Hasslo, Sena Jurinac, Rudolf Schock, Gottlob Frick, etc. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0021. - 4035122650211
“With her graceful bearing and a voice both rich and penetrating, Sena Jurinac was a star of the first generation of European singers to emerge after World War II. She made her début in Vienna on 1 May, 1945 — in the company’s first performance in a liberated Austria — as Cherubino in Mozart’s NOZZE DI FIGARO, a rôle she sang 129 times there. Though she made her first mark in Vienna, which became her artistic home, her radiant Mozart performances at the Glyndebourne Festival in the 1950s catapulted her to international stardom. She also made lauded appearances at the Salzburg and Bayreuth Festivals, the Royal Opera House in London, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, La Scala in Milan and the San Francisco Opera.”
- Zachary Woolfe, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Nov., 2011
“The Jurinac voice was capable of a gleaming fortissimo, but it also commanded a wide range of shadings of colour and dynamic. The top notes could be floated with an ethereal purity; the middle and lower registers had a very human warmth….The present release is particularly valuable in presenting her as a Lieder singer….Like such great Lieder singers as Rehkemper, Erb, Janssen, Lehmann or Schumann, Jurinac gives us unforgettable musical phrases….We owe her a great deal – and history has already judged her to be one of the immortal sopranos of the twentieth century.”
- Tully Potter
“Rudolf Johann Schock was a German tenor who sang a wide repertoire from operetta to LOHENGRIN, recording among others opera and lieder, doing television, radio and film work. Slim and handsome, he made many films. His voice fell almost into the heldentenor fach but was smaller and more ‘ingratiating’ than many voices in that category.[ Colored distinctly with a rich baritonal quality, Schock is described by Grove as a ‘lyric tenor’ with a warm flexible voice, and a ‘strong top voice’ which suited him to ‘heroic rôles’.
When he was 18 and still continuing his musical studies that took him to Cologne, Hanover and Berlin, Schock joined the opera chorus at Theater Duisburg in the city of his birth. The Staatstheater Braunschweig cast Schock in solo roles in 1937, but his career was interrupted by his being enlisted into the army in 1940. It resumed after the war in 1945 in Hanover. In 1946, he appeared with two of the Berlin-based opera companies and in 1947 he joined the Hamburg State Opera where he was a member until 1956.
Schock was one of the first Germans to sing at Covent Garden in 1949, appearing as Rodolfo, Alfredo, Pinkerton and Tamino in his first season. He sang the title role at IDOMENEO at the Salzburg Festival and took part in the premiere there of Rolf Liebermann's, PENELOPE and the Vienna State Opera's first staging of LULU. Schock made repeat visits to the Edinburgh International Festival and sang Walther at Bayreuth in 1959.
In 1953 he played and sang the role of Richard Tauber in the film DU BIST DIE WELT FÜR MICH (released in English-speaking countries as either YOU ARE THE WORLD FOR ME or THE RICHARD TAUBER STORY). He was often compared to the older tenor and was spoken of as his successor. He was also considered the most successful German film singer of his generation. He sold over 3 million records and his German films made him almost a superstar of his day. Schock's most impressive performances include the roles of Paul in DIE TOTE STADT (Korngold), and multiple Puccini principals.
Schock also interested himself in the development of younger singers by judging vocal competitions. After discovering Karl Ridderbusch at one of these, Schock part-funded the bass's musical training. Rudolf Schock continued making concert appearances into his sixties.”
“If the name Gottlob Frick appears on the recording, I buy it. The great German bass had a huge, black as midnight voice – a grand rolling cantante of rich sound.”
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May / June, 2011
“[Hasslo possessed] a high, supple lyric baritone [voice], [appearing in] opera, operetta, concert and oratorio. [He was] a lifelong stalwart of the Swedish Royal Opera, [was] offered a Met contract for Escamillo, but declined to accept it….His disinterest in an international career became a great and lasting asset to the Swedish Royal Opera.”
- Richard T. Soper, NORDIC VOICES
“Hugo Hasslo was a Swedish operatic baritone who studied in Stockholm with Hjaldis Ingebjart and Joseph Hislop, making his début at the Stockholm Opera, as Guglielmo in COSI FAN TUTTE, in 1940, where he remained until 1964, quickly establishing himself as first baritone. He was particularly admired in the Italian repertory singing roles such as Figaro in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Belcore in L'ELISIR D'AMORE, Malatesta in DON PASQUALE, the title role in MACBETH and RIGOLETTO, di Luna in Il Trovatore, Riccardo in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Marcello in LA BOHEME, etc.
In Stockholm, he took part in the creation of Natanael Berg's GENOVEVA, in 1947, and in Kurt Atterberg's Der Sturm, in 1948. He made guest appearances in Hamburg, the Royal Opera House in London, the Edinburgh Festival, the latters both in 1959. Hasslo was also much appreciated in concert and often appeared in oratorios. Hasslo was offered a Met contract to sing Escamillo, but he declined.”
“Wilhelm Schüchter was one of those prodigiously talented German conductors who had the misfortune to live in a time filled with geniuses at the podium: Furtwängler, Walter, Abendroth, von Karajan, Krauss, Böhm, Knappertsbusch, Kempe, Schmidt-Isserstedt and Klemperer. In such company, he never had a chance to move into the forefront of his profession outside of Germany. Despite his lack of international success, however, Schüchter managed to leave behind one major recording of LOHENGRIN that deserves to be a part of any serious Wagner collection.
Schüchter studied with Hermann Abendroth. He made his début at the podium in Coburg in 1937, conducting CAVELLERIA RUSTICANA and PAGLIACCI. His first major appointment came that same year, as conductor in the opera house in Wurzburg, where he stayed for three years. In 1940, he took an appointed conductor at the opera house in Aachen, a post he held for two years, working under Herbert von Karajan. Two years later, he joined the Berlin State Opera.
Following the Allied victory and the reorganization of German cultural life, in 1947 Schüchter joined the North German Radio Orchestra as a conductor and deputy to Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. His major recording career began soon after, principally for EMI during the late 78 rpm and early LP era.
His major activities and his most significant legacy, however, were in the operatic field. In 1953, Schüchter conducted EMI's first recording of a complete version of Wagner's LOHENGRIN with his North German Radio Orchestra and Rudolf Schock in the title role, Gottlob Frick as King Henry, Maud Cunitz as Elsa, and Josef Metternich as Friedrich. This performance remains one of the most finely crafted recordings of the opera ever laid down and is competitive with all subsequent stereo and digital recordings. The singing has a warmth and power that resounds more than 40 years later and the playing is extraordinary, a match for any orchestra in the world. Moreover, the sound -- despite being limited to mono -- is extraordinary for its era, being both rich and close.
Unfortunately, Schüchter never got to record another complete opera, eclipsed as he was outside of Germany by figures such as Karajan and Klemperer. His career in the concert hall was more successful; in 1958, he took a three-year appointment as the chief conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, and after his return to Germany in 1962, he was made music director of Dortmund. It was in this post, in just three years, that Schüchter achieved fame in Germany, raising the musical standards in Dortmund so high that he was promoted in 1965 to artistic director and general manager of the Dortmund State Opera. He remained in this position for the rest of his life and was acclaimed for the excellence of the productions mounted by the company and its overall rise to prominence within Germany. His Wagnerian performances in particular were singled out for praise by critics.
Schüchter was among the first generation of conductors in Germany who understood the use of the orchestra in the studio and this is reflected in his recordings. In contrast to Wilhelm Furtwängler or Hans Knappertsbusch, he saw the intrinsic value of recording and he paid special attention to the spaciousness and opulence of the sound he achieved. When working with sympathetic producers and engineers, as on his LOHENGRIN, the results were extraordinary.”
- Bruce Eder, allmusic.com