OP0341. FEUERSNOT (Strauss), recorded 1988, w.Heinz Fricke Cond. München Rundfunk Ensemble; Julia Varady, Bernd Weikl, Kieth Engen, etc. (Germany) 2-Acanta 43 530. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“Simplicity in art was not a choice weapon in the Richard Strauss arsenal, but FEUERSNOT is about as simple as a Strauss opera can get. It is the work of an orchestral wizard who, with EIN HELDENLEBEN and DON QUIXOTE already behind him, conjures up tonal images with unfailing mastery, from lush waltzes to graphic illustrations of love making. In passing, we also encounter delicately harmonized children's choruses à la Humperdinck and eloquent Wagnerian echoes, but the Strauss imprints are unmistakable everywhere.
A large cast of Munich Opera regulars under conductor Heinz Fricke treat us to a fine ensemble effort enriched by two star turns. Julia Varady is enchanting as the beleaguered maiden who faces a fate decidedly not worse than death. Miss Varady's singing of the ‘Midsummer’ aria is the set's vocal highlight. Strauss wrote an uncomfortably high part for Kunrad, which is impressively encompassed by Bernd Weikl, but one needs more tolerance for loose vibratos than I possess to fully enjoy Mr. Weikl's singing. It is fun to have FEUERSNOT on records, but acquisition of a libretto is recommended.”
- George Jellinek, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3 Feb., 1985