OP2896. DER MUSIKANT (Bittner), Live Performance, 1949, w.Prohaska Cond. Wiener Rundfunk Ensemble; Karl Schmitt-Walter, Günther Treptow, Ester Rethy, Friedl Riegler, Franz Bierbach, etc. (E.U.) 2-Myto 00332. - 08040139903326
“Julius Bittner became one of the best known and most performed Austrian opera composers in the first half of the 20th Century. Many of his operas deal with Austrian-Alpine themes. He usually wrote his own libretti. After the Second World War, however, as a typical representative of late Romantic opera in the tradition of Richard Wagner, he was gradually forgotten. Critics gave him the somewhat derogatory nickname ‘the Anzengruber of the opera’; in importance he is comparable to his better known contemporary Wilhelm Kienzl. As a lawyer and leading member of Vienna's judiciary and close friend of Gustav Mahler, he assessed Mahler’s estate for probate after his death. He later won the Mahler Prize in 1915. He composed many operas, two symphonies and many songs and was helped and promoted by Mahler and Bruno Walter. He was also a close friend of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Schmidt. He was for a while editor of the Austrian music journal Der Merker and wrote music criticism for it and other newspapers. He was so influential that he was able to arrange Arnold Schönberg's release from active military service in the First World War.
He received numerous awards and honors and became a member of the German Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1925. In 1964, the archive containing almost all of his works (autograph sketches, text books, scores and piano reductions) was taken over by the Vienna City Library.”
“Schmitt-Walter made his key début at the Berlin State Opera in 1935, as Luna in IL TROVATORE, which led to a long association with this important theatre, where he would sing wide repertory of lyric parts for the baritone voice. He also performed often at the Hamburg State Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the Bayreuth Festival, and, from 1950, the Munich State Opera. Outside the Austro-German operatic heartland, he made guest appearances at the Paris Opéra, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Liceo in Barcelona, La Monnaie in Brussels and the Holland Festival, among other major European venues.
Schmitt-Walter possessed a comparatively light, high-baritone voice of great beauty and was equipped with an exceptionally good singing technique. He was particularly admired in Mozart and Wagner roles, notably Papageno, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Beckmesser, which role he often sang at Bayreuth. Schmitt-Walter also performed in Verdi operas such as ERNANI, LA TRAVIATA and UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, mostly in German translation. He enjoyed considerable success in light German operas by Lortzing and also in operetta. He was an excellent lieder interpreter, too. From 1962, he taught in Munich and Copenhagen and died in Bavaria at the age of 84.”
“Günther Treptow began his vocal studies at the Berlin Musikhochschule, and later in Milan with Giovanni Scarmeo. Treptow was a member of the SA and Nazi Party (membership #38 579) until the discovery in 1934 of his mother's Jewish heritage. He was banned from performing until being granted special permission to do so from Josef Goebbels on 6 June, 1935. He made his stage début in Berlin, as the Italian singer in DER ROSENKAVALIER in 1936. He sang at the Vienna Volksoper in 1938, as Florestan in FIDELIO. He appeared at the Zopot Festival in 1939, in the title role of TANNHÄUSER. He made his début at the Munich State Opera in 1940, the Vienna State Opera in 1947, and the Bayreuth Festival in 1951.
He quickly established himself as one of the leading heldentenors of his generation, in roles such as Siegmund in DIE WALKÜRE, Siegfried in SIEGFRIED and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, and Tristan. Besides Wagner, he also sang such roles as Max in DER FREISCHÜTZ, Steva in JENUFA, Canio in PAGLIACCI, and the title role in OTELLO.
On the international scene, he made guest appearances at La Scala in Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Royal Opera House in London, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, also appearing in Leningrad and Moscow. He sang at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1961 until his retirement in 1972.”
- Loyal Bluto