OP3180. FAUST (in German), recorded 1908, w.Seidler-Winkler Cond. Berlin Hofoper Ensemble; Emmy Destinn, Karl Jörn, Marie Goetze, Desider Zador, Paul Knüpfer & Ottilie Metzger: EMMY DESTINN: ten most revered recordings from the period 1906 to 1910. 2-Marston 52074. Program Notes by Michael Aspinall. Transfers by Ward Marston. - 638335200743
“Listening to this venerable set, quite well recorded and beautifully refurbished by Ward Marston…[one hears] Karl Jörn, a ringing Faust who makes a positive impression straight away….he does some lovely singing at his best….the revelation is Paul Knüpfer…here given the chance to develop his character on an extended recording, he makes a very fine Mefisto, surprisingly light on his feet and even more surprisingly humorous. His ‘Serenade’ hits the right balance between style and vulgarity….But this is Emmy Destinn’s show. The whole enterprise is clearly built around her, and she does not disappoint….Destinn knows all about phrasing. She gets round the notes with ease and makes a most appealing Margarethe. She is affecting in the Ballad of the King of Thule, shading the ends of phrases sensitively….She sings the Jewel Song very well, with fine trills.
Marston has room for a dozen arias in German and Czech by Destinn….Moving into her own language, she is absolutely terrific in the aria from DALIBOR; and the Lullaby from THE KISS is like a benediction on my listening room, with delicate variations of dynamic.”
- Tully Potter, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2016
“Czech soprano Emmy Destinn's first musical studies were on the violin which she first played in a public concert at age eight. At 14, she started to study voice and at the age of 20 she made her début at Berlin as Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA. She was immediately given a five-year contract with the Berlin Imperial Opera. In 1901, she sang Senta in Der FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER to great acclaim, which led to her London début as Donna Anna in DON GIOVANNI. In London, she also sang Aïda and Madama Butterfly. In 1904 at Berlin, she sang in the world premiere of Leoncavallo's DER ROLAND VON BERLIN. During this period, she also sang in Vienna, Prague, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden, and Paris. At London in 1908, she created the title role in TESS by Erlanger. That same year, she came to the Metropolitan Opera, making her début as Aïda. It was there that she created Minnie in LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST with Caruso and Toscanini. She returned to her homeland during World War I and worked for national independence, and at one point she was interned at her home for her activities. In 1919, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera for two seasons. It is said that Destinn could sing over 80 operas on a moment's notice and at one Metropolitan Opera performance when a colleague was ailing, she sang the off-stage Priestess as well as Aïda in the same performance. In 1926, she gave her final stage performances. She lived out her life in Straz, Bohemia, and occasionally gave concerts, primarily benefit performances.
Destinn had a beautiful, rich soprano voice with an extensive range. It was a very expressive voice with complete command of the dynamic range. The voice recorded very well and she recorded over 200 items. Her recordings have been issued on CD (Romophone 81002); her 1908 recording of CARMEN with Karl Jorn (Marston 52022) was one of the earliest complete opera recordings and is sung in German. It gives a wonderful example of her vocalism and her ability to create a character. Destinn also recorded a complete FAUST by Gounod. This recording was also sung in German with Karl Jorn as Faust. Emmy Destinn was one of the greatest sopranos of the first quarter of the twentieth century, and we are fortunate that her voice recorded so well.”
- Richard LeSueur, allmusic.com
“Karl Jörn was born in Riga as a shoemaker‘s son, learning his fathers trade. In 1895 he was adopted by a rich nobleman who enabled the young man to study singing. A year later he made his début as Lyonel (MARTA) in Freiburg. After public appearances in Zürich and Hamburg, he was engaged at the Berlin Hofoper in 1902. In 1905 Jörn sang at the Munich Festival His successful guest appearances as Florestan and Stolzing in Cologne during 1905 improved his position in Berlin, but he was still engaged mainly in the lighter German and French Repertoire. After Kaiser Wilhelm II expressed his liking for the singer, he finally was cast in the great Wagnerian parts.
From 1906 to 1908 Jörn appeared very successfully in London; on 22January, 1909 he finally made his New York début at the Metropolitan Opera as Stolzing. For the following years he commuted between New York and Berlin, but finished his contract with the Berlin Hofoper in 1911. From 1912 to 1914 he lived in New York and had a contract with the Metropolitan Opera. From 1914 on, he didn’t accept fixed engagements any more and returned to Europe. In 1916 the singer finally moved to the USA and became an American citizen.
In 1919 Jörn at last became a singing teacher in Denver (Colorado). Surprisingly he received an invitation from Johanna Gadski in 1929 to appear on stage again with her touring ‘German Opera Company’. Once more Karl Jörn was highly celebrated, especially for his début in the role of Tristan (at age 56!). In 1932 he tried to settle as a singing teacher in New York, but soon after retured to Denver, where he died on 19 December, 1947.
Jörn’s numerous records show the exceptional versatility of his voice, his repertoire ranging from Mozart and the lighter German and French parts to the great Wagner rôles. Even with German Lieder he was very successful.
Paul Knüpfer spent most of his career at the Berlin Imperial Opera where he was a noted buffo bass. He sang Baron Ochs in the Berlin premiere of Der Rosenkavalier. He often performed with his wife, soprano Maria Knüpfer-Egli."
-Zillah D. Akron