OP1231. TANNHÄUSER, Live Performance, 1967, w.Sawallisch Cond. La Scala Ensemble; Sena Jurinac, Janis Martin, Hans Beirer, Martti Talvela, Victor Braun, etc.; HANS BEIRER: Siegfried – Excerpts. (Slovenia) 3-Myto 062.325. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 608974503253
“Wolfgang Sawallisch, one of the last of the old-school German conductors, who led the Philadelphia Orchestra for nearly a decade and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for two decades before that, embodied the German type of the ‘Kapellmeister’ in the best sense: a man steeped in music, who knew every note of every score he conducted (often from memory), who was a supportive accompanist as well as an informed interpreter and who understood how to train, develop and lead an orchestra. Never flashy, even somewhat understated, he was, at his best, insightful and illuminating.
While Mr. Sawallisch was renowned throughout Europe, he might have remained little known to American audiences had the Philadelphia Orchestra not tapped him to take over as music director in 1993. When he arrived at age 70, he underwent a veritable renaissance, evidently enjoying a new freedom, both artistic and political — far from the political squabbling that had increasingly overshadowed his last years in Munich. ‘The last 10 years, with the Philadelphia Orchestra’, he said in 2006, ‘were really the top years of my symphonic life’. His time in Philadelphia was therefore a particularly happy ending to his career. Against some expectations, the reserved, intensely private German thrived in America, and the orchestra responded warmly to him.”
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Feb., 2013
“Martti Talvela, a Finnish bass who appeared regularly at the Metropolitan Opera and was the director-designate of the Finnish National Opera, was most highly regarded in the Russian operatic repertory, and was considered a peerless interpreter of the title role in Modest Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV, which he sang many times at the Metropolitan Opera. He also enjoyed considerable success as Dosifei in the Met's production of Mussorgsky's KHOVANSHCHINA.
His physical stature made him a natural for the mythical roles that were his specialty. He stood 6 feet 7 inches tall, and weighed close to 300 pounds. He became interested in opera after hearing a performance by the Russian bass Ivan Petrov, as Boris.
In January 1960, he won first prize in a lieder competition in Helsinki, and went to Stockholm to continue his studies with Carl Martin Ohmann. The following year he made his debut, as Sparafucile in Verdi's RIGOLETTO, at the Swedish National Opera.
Wieland Wagner, the composer's grandson and a noted stage director, heard one of Mr. Talvela's early performances and invited him to appear at Bayreuth in 1962. In 1963, he made his debut with the Deutsche Oper, in Berlin, and toured Japan with that company as Seneca in Monteverdi's INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA. By 1965, he had made debuts at La Scala, in Milan, and at the Vienna State Opera, and was performing regularly at Bayreuth and Salzburg. Mr. Talvela made his American debut with a recital at Hunter College in 1968, and with performances at the Metropolitan Opera that same year.
In discussing his work, Mr. Talvela often spoke in passionate, mystical terms. ‘Singing is, for me, a combination of notes and visions’, he told a NEW YORK TIMES interviewer. ‘I must see pictures when I sing, and when I do not have those pictures in my mind, I am uncomfortable. Singing must be a passion, like the praying of the holy man, who is always thinking about how he can improve his prayers to make the message clearer. I am not a holy man - not at all - but I know how it is. In singing, everything must happen in the spirit, in the soul’.''
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 July, 1989
“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