Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Otello Vienna 1944

Otello by Giuseppe Verdi (in German)
Conductor Karl Böhm
August 1944
Orchestra & Chorus - Wiener Staatsoper
Ralf as Otello

Otello - Torsten Ralf
Desdemona - Hilde Konetzni
Iago - Paul Schöffler
Cassio - Josef Witt
Rodrigo - Peter Klein
Lodovico - Tomislav Neralic
Montano - Viktor Madin
Emilia - Elena Nikolaidi
Un Araldo - Roland Neumann

This radio broadcast of Otello from Vienna in the last months of the war gives us a rare chance to hear a complete opera with Viennese soprano Hilde Konetzni. Although the war severely restricted her career, she was able to appear in international houses such as Covent Garden both before and after the war. Complete recordings of her are few, but she did appear in the Moralt ring in lighter soprano parts in 1949.
Swedish tenor Torsten Ralf made his career in singing the heavier Wagnerian and Verdi roles. Despite singing in Germany and Austria during the war (unlike some other Swedish singers) he was readily accepted back into the international opera scene, opening the 1945-46 season at the Met for instance as Lohengrin.
Paul Schoffler was one of the greatest German baritones of the 1940s and 1950s. He had an international career even before the war, and was one of the most noted Hans Sachs of his generation, performing and broadcasting the role at Bayreuth, Vienna and New York.
The sound is not bad for a radio broadcast from the 1940s.

Hilde Konetzni

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Tosca Rio 1954

Tebaldi as Tosca
 This recording is interesting to two reasons. Firstly it is from Rio and not that many opera recordings exist from Rio, but it was a part of the Latin American opera tradition that included the Colon in Buenos Aires and opera houses in Mexico and Uruguay. Secondly it is the earliest live recording (that I know of) of Tebaldi's Tosca. She had recorded the role for Decca in 1952 and would go on to be heard over the radio in live performances in London, New York and elsewhere. Hers is quite a different Floria Tosca to that of her contemporary Callas, but no less worthwhile. She is partnered by Di Stefano, who had been Callas's Cavaradossi for EMI the year before. The sound is not good, there's not much orchestral detail to be heard, but I think the voices come through well enough for those willing to persevere.

Tosca - Puccini

Conductor Oliviero De Fabritiis

September 21, 1954 Teatro Municipal de Rio de Janeiro

Floria Tosca - Renata Tebaldi

Mario Cavaradossi - Giuseppe di Stefano

Il barone Scarpia - Giuseppe Taddei

Il Sagristano - Guilhermo Damiano

Cesare Angelotti - Giuseppe Modesti