OP0419. DIE DREI WÜNSCHE (Loewe), w.Peter Falk Cond. SWF Rundfunk Ensemble; Jonas Kaufmann, Franz Hawlata, Florian Prey, Hermine May, Regina Klepper, etc. (Germany) 2-Capriccio 60074, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate 43pp. Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 4006408600749
“There's gold in this recording in the magnificent lyric tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who sounds eerily like Fritz Wunderlich and has the musical instincts and brains to match. Like Wunderlich, Kaufmann is a compellingly intense singer who pays attention to inflection and motivic articulation in the context of a cumulative, goal-oriented rhythm. He navigates the elaborate fioriture of his Act III cavatina (‘Philosophie oder liebe’) with uncommon ease, impeccable legato and a clarion yet full-bodied sonority richly supported in every register. I look forward to hearing much more from this singer, whose contribution here makes having this set all the more worthwhile.
Best known for his copious catalogue of ballads and lieder, Carl Loewe (1796-1869) demonstrated his consummate skill as an orchestrator and impressive understanding of the voice in his 1834 opera DIE DREI WÜNSCHE (The Three Wishes). Its woodwind-saturated lyricism pays homage to opera while adhering to the more simplistic conventions of singspiel. Recitative and spoken dialogue are abandoned in favor of Schubertian cavatinas and reassuring choruses, and rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter are frequently used. Strophic constructions prevail as well, but in the context of the narrative forms in which Loewe's vocal music thrived, they are more subtle than dogmatic. Although DIE DREI WÜNSCHE is occasionally reminiscent of FIDELIO - the opening duets, for example, evoke the colloquy between Marzelline and Jaquino - it's hardly a slavish imitation, but rather an honest aesthetic expression of its time.
Peter Falk's urbane, persuasive conducting supports a fine cast of young singers that includes an effective, studious performance of the Dervish Bathmendi by Franz Hawlata, a bass-baritone whose musicianship makes up for a somewhat strained breathiness in his lower register. Florian Prey (son of the great Hermann) and fellow baritone Frank Worner offer sturdy, focused readings of the merchants Muley and Zadig, though Worner's wide vibrato occasionally compromises simple declamation. Regina Klepper's bright, birdlike soprano is ideally suited to Suleima, but she tends toward stridency when compelled to sing on long breaths. Mezzo Hermine May and soprano Astrid Weber deliver solidly as rivals Aischra and Fatme.”
- John Bell Young, OPERA NEWS, June 1999