OP0357. DIE AGYPTISCHE HELENA, recorded 1979, w.Dorati Cond. Detroit S.O.; Gwyneth Jones, Matu Kastu, Barbara Hendricks, Willard White, Birgit Finnila, etc. 2-London 430 381, w. Elaborate 89pp. Libretto-Brochure. Excellent, ever-so-slightly used copy. - 028943038126
"Dame Gwyneth Jones has achieved remarkable success throughout her vocal career. Best known for her performances of Turandot and the role of Brunnhilde, she has brought an attractive stage presence, total musicianship, a highly controlled voice, and thorough emotional and dramatic involvement to all of her appearances.
Gwyneth Jones was born in Pontnewynydd, Wales; her professional debut, as a mezzo-soprano, was the role of Annina in DER ROSENKAVALIER with the Zurich Opera in 1962. Shortly afterwards, she noticed her voice moving upward, which allowed her to sing the role of Amelia in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. She was also heard singing Lady Macbeth for the Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera, and heard filling in for Leontyne Price and Regine Crespin at Covent Garden. After performing roles such as Santuzza, Desdemona, Donna Anna, Aida, and Tosca, she made appearances at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, and at principal opera houses in Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, and Rome. Shortly after Jones made her 1966 American (New York) debut as the title role in Cherubini's MEDEA, she married Till Haberfeld, a director, with whom she had one child. She achieved American success with her performance of Fidelio with the San Francisco Opera and for her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sieglinde in DIE WALKURE on 26 November. One of Jones' greatest achievements was doing all three Brunnhilde roles in the summer of 1976 at the Bayreuth centennial RING Cycle under Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chereau. Jones entered a new phase of her career when at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she gave her first performance of Turandot, a role she had learned from her former teacher Dame Eva Turner. This feat was regarded as one of the greatest triumphs of the later portion of Jones' career, during which she became known as the world's finest interpreter of this role. She also took on the roles of Minnie in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST, the widow Begbick in MAHAGONNY, and the mother in HANSEL UND GRETEL. Jones continued the same energetic performance schedule she began early in her career well into her sixties; in 1999 she had 70 opera and concert performances planned. She was made a Dame of the British Empire, received the German Cross of Merit, and is a Kammersängerin of both the Vienna and Bavarian Operas."
- Meredith Gailey, allmusic.com
"Antal Dorati, an internationally known conductor who championed the music of Bartok and who led the National Symphony in Washington from 1970 to 1977, was a warm, hearty conductor, not so concerned with refined interpretive detail as with vital, sensible statements of the music at hand. Aside from his wide-ranging career in concert life, he made more than 500 recordings, many of them sonic showpieces, which further spread his fame.
Mr. Dorati was born in Budapest. At the age of 14 he entered the Liszt Academy, where his teachers included Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly. Upon his graduation at the age of 18 he became a coach at the Budapest Royal Opera, where he made his conducting debut in 1924. In 1928 he became Fritz Busch's assistant at the Dresden Opera, and from 1929 to 1933 he was music director at the smaller Munster Opera. Although he never held another full-time operatic post, he periodically guest-conducted opera the rest of his life.
Mr. Dorati's next years were devoted primarily to dance, which presumably sharpened his sense of rhythmic propulsion in music. From 1933 to 1941 he was a conductor with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, touring the world with the company, and from 1941 to 1945 was music director of American Ballet Theater. Throughout this period Mr. Dorati continued his guest conducting in the symphonic repertory, making his American concert debut in 1937 with the National Symphony. After World War II he returned to the orchestral world, starting with the reconstruction of the Dallas Symphony as its music director from 1945 to 1949. He became an American citizen in 1947.
After the Dallas orchestra came 11 years with the Minneapolis Symphony, during which time he also appeared frequently in Europe - principally with the London Symphony and the Philharmonia Hungarica, a West German-based ensemble of Hungarian refugees. In the early 1970's, as that orchestra's honorary president, he recorded all the Haydn symphonies with the ensemble.
In the 1960s, Mr. Dorati established his residence in Switzerland and served as music director of the BBC Symphony (1963-66) and the Stockholm Philharmonic (1966-70). As music director of the National Symphony he led the inaugural concert in 1971 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He became senior conductor of the Royal Philharmonic in London in 1975, moving up to conductor laureate in 1978. His last full-time post was as music director of the Detroit Symphony from 1977 to 1981.
Throughout his career, Mr. Dorati advocated a wide range of 20th-century music. Above all he prized the work of his teacher and compatriot Bartok, music for which his own gifts for strong rhythmic articulation and vivid instrumental color were particularly suited. He was also a composer himself, in an idiom that was both modernist yet accessibly melodic, and he often conducted his own large-scaled scores. His autobiography, NOTES OF SEVEN DECADES, was published in 1979."
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 Nov., 1988