The ultimate Arabella and Mandryka in a superb Arabella
Arabella is not my favourite of Richard Strauss' operas(Der Rosenkavalier) but it still has all the ingredients that make Strauss' operas so great, namely amazing music as well as a good story and characters. And this is a superb live performance, as great as the 1984 Glyndebourne and 1994 Met productions are this is the best one. Although I know this performance best from a live recording, I had the pleasure just this morning of seeing it live. And I am so glad I did, the black and white was crisp and the costuming and settings sumptuous, and the sound on both the recording and video are of great quality favouring both the orchestra and singers rather than one of the other. The orchestral playing is beautiful and emotional as it should be, and Joseph Keilberth's conducting is lyrical and sensitive. You couldn't have asked for better performances either. Lisa Della Casa for me is the best Arabella, whether on record or on stage. As well as being a beautiful woman,her singing is simply beautiful, singing her soaring melodies with legato so controlled, and she sings with charm and authority. The sadly late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau matches her in every way, his singing is equally striking with none of the mannerisms or blustering that eluded some of his Verdi complete with his supreme musicianship and crystalline diction. His Mandryka is commanding and nuanced, managing to give humanity to a boorish character. Annelisse Rothenberger's Zdenka is charming and very musically sung, while Karl Christian Kohn is a fine Waldner and Irina Malanuik an excellent Adelaide. The only disappointment is the Matteo of George Peduska, who fails to give credibility to yet another taxing but thankless Strauss tenor role. But this is not about the Matteo, it's about the music, Araballa, Mandryka and Zdenka, and they are all at the highest standard you can possibly get. In conclusion, a superb live performance with Della Casa and Fischer-Dieskau for me the best singers of their respective roles. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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