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  • Le Nozze Di Figaro
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DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, THE ORIGINALS, OPERA, CLASSIC

Le Nozze Di Figaro

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, THE ORIGINALS, OPERA, CLASSIC

Le Nozze Di Figaro

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Product Description Product Description
  • BOHM KARL / DEUTSCHEN OPER BER
  • MUSICA CLASICA
  • INTERNATIONAL
  • MUSIC
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Customer Reviews

A Wonderful Recording!This particular recording shows Herman Prey at his finest and in one of his most performed roles! In my opinion, he is the greatest Figaro that we have on recording! Fischer-Dieskau's dark nature which he put into the Count is done very well, but at times he over-darkens his voice. I enjoyed his singing in the ensemble numbers but in 'Hai gia vinta la causa' I felt that he put more weight that was needed and should have made it a bit more lyrical. Even though the Count is enraged, that does not mean that you sacrifice good lyrical singing for choppiness. At the end of the aria where he has a trill on E3, I felt that it was more of a trillo than a trill and it felt as though he was just pulsating the voice in a choppy manner rather than doing an appropriate trill. If one can not trill appropriately one should not attempt to. The entire cast, as a whole, is very good but I will say that I purchased this recording mainly to hear Prey and Fischer-Dieskau, and although I was not impressed with the counts aria, both performers pleased me in their respective roles. As a whole this is definitely a recording worth purchasing! In reccomending another recording I would say that the Met's production with Te Kanawa, and Hampson would be the best one over all, especially if you are wanting a recording which has great singing from the Count and the Countess. This recording with Prey I would suggest more for those interested in hearing a good Figaro!5MY very own Sull'Aria.............I can't tell you how many times I've fast-forwarded my Shawshank to 1 hour 5 minutes into the tape just to hear this Duettino. And now I have my very own CD. I've never played the full Figaro and I must admit, some of the pieces I have already heard and liked. But disc 2 track 28 is, for me, worth the entire cd set.I am taping an entire side of tape of just this piece. Next time some boom-box kid pulls next to me and resonates the ground that my car sits on, well, I'm gonna pump up the volume and show them what QUALITY music is all about -- all windows down, no foolin'.Buy it and enjoy forever !!!!!! CHJ4A Dreamy Gorgeous FigaroHermann Prey (Figaro) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Count) Gundula Janowitz(Countess), Edith Mathis (Susanna) Tatiana Troyanos (Cherubino) Patricia Johnson (Marcellina) Erwin Wohlfahrt (Basilio) Martin Vantin (Don Curzio) Peter Lagger (Bartolo) Klaus Hirte (Antonio) Barbara Vogel (Barbarina) Christa Doll, Margarethe Giehse (Two Women) Karl Bohm conducts the Berlin Opera Orchestra and Chorus 1968 LP remasteredTHE "FIGARO" MOZART ORIGINALLY ENVISIONED:Karl Bohm's "Figaro" recording from 1968 (in 3 LPs) is the stuff of opera legend; as much a classic and masterpiece of recorded opera as his previous successes: Wagner's Tristan and Isolde with the Bayreuth Festival forces and starring Birgit Nilsson and Wolfgang Windgassen and the Ring Des Nibelung operas with Nilsson, Windgassen, Leonie Rysanek and Theo Adam. While his Bayreuth career is undisputed and his Wagner repertoire is far more magnificent, his Mozart repertoire is equally impressive and shows a conductor who understood German music like no other, with the exception of Herbert Von Karajan. Bohm and Karajan, despite whatever differences they might have, were cut from the same cloth; essentially conducting similar works and in the rigidly German manner which extended to Austrian composers' ouvre like Mozart, who was Austrian."Figaro" is hard for some people to understand and can be an extremely dull operatic experience for the newcomer to opera. Running at 4 hours long, the action taking place in the course of only one day and confined to the inside a Count's grandiose mansion (except for the finale in the Garden exterior), the opera has a minimal plot: It's drawn from the 1780's French play by Beaumarchais whose French Revolution spirit is palpable as the story involves scheming and intelligent servants who outwit their masters and whose portrayal of aristocracy/nobility as represented in the character of the unfaithful, lusty, vainglorious, bafoonic Count is very negative and perhaps hinting at sexual preferences of the nobility at that period in time which flipped their wigs! Count Almaviva no longer loves his own wife and instead has turned his sexual advances to the servants, namely his own valet Figaro's betrothed Susanna. It's likely this Count has previously seduced other servant girls as he demands the droit de signeur, the ancient right of property owners and nobility to take lovers among the poorer servant class. Figaro and Susanna cannot live without one another so they come up with a scheme to get back at their own master and at the same time, they help the Countess, grieving the loss of her husband's former affection, to win him back. The opera was written in Italian (libretto by Da Ponte) and meant to be sung in the style of the popular Italian "boudoir" comedies which Viennese enjoyed. But the music is Mozart's and Austrian to the core, full of the most elegant but monumental, beautiful, charming and sublime, spiritual melodies Mozart had composed up to that point. He would do the same in an entirely different piece of theater - The Magic Flute- another opera in which the subject matter (fantasy) was treated to more inspirational music. Figaro is text-wise a comedy but the music is at a higher level. Karl Bohm understood all these things and here at last is the Mozart Figaro that Mozart himself had written. Already a veteran conductor since the WWII days, he was still an energetic and skilled conductor who was now foraying into recordings. For Figaro, he cast what he considered to be alpha singers available at the time but this was before his Salzburg Festival career and the singers are not exactly a varied and international cast. They are, like Bohm, Germanic people familiar with opera as seen in Dresden, Berlin and Vienna. This was an entirely diffeernt school of opera than Italian, American or East European singers. They sang operas in German translations before sliding into the original languages of the operas such as Italian. Bohm was interested in a Figaro with purity of sound, some color and radiance, perhaps in an effort to rival the acclaimed luxurious Giulini version which had set the bar high. He instructed the singers to harmonize during the ensembles and explicitly forbade any onesinger to outsing another. The chorus is especially good (German choruses are among the best) so during the scenes such as Figaro's Wedding we find unrivaled unison of beautiful voices. The same goes for the ensembles, even the tricky one that conclude Act 1 and 4 in which the music tempi is constantly changing in color and pace. There is perfection of sound both in orchestra and singers. It appears that Bohm might have recorded each act seperately, each ensemble seperately and each aria seperately in a series of recording sessions. This is why each major aria strikes the ear as being individualistic and carefully sung. Each major aria Figaro's "Si Vuol Ballare", "Non piu andrai", Cherubino's "Voi Che Sapete", The Countess' arias "Porgi Amor" and "Dove Sono" seem to be like jewels, pearls, beads, in a treasure chest, each attracting us with their unique illumination. The strength of this Figaro is not the dramatic or theatrical punch but the delicacy, the finesse, the elaborate Roccoco touches in the process of making a "sound painting", which makes this very much like something that belongs in 18th century Austria, the time of Mozart himself in a performance that might have even been similar to what was heard at the time. And even with all this artistic detail, there is still a sense of the theater, a production of careful consideration to the milieu of Vienna, and if these singers sang in live productions in the 1960's, I would have been in Heaven watching them in action. There is a film in which Herman Prey and Dietrich Fischer Dieskau reprise their roles as Figaro and the Count(with Mirella Freni as Susannah)and it's available on Deutsche Grammophon's DVD line.Sadly, detractors and critics continue to bash this recording as being badly performed by a mainly German cast as opposed to Italian-trained singers (the general sentiment is that dramatic baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is too Germanic, cartoonish and over-the-top as the Count); that the whole thing is overly long (3 LPS!!) pretentious, excessive and completely lackluster but the reasons owing to most people's dislike of this version is that previous recordings had more lively, theatrical Italian comic attitudes and for a long time this was considered to be the truest way to do Figaro. Bohm did not cast Italian-school singers and did not play up the hilarious Italian comedy bit. He knew that this was a Viennese boudoir comedy and we get a very intimate, regal, cooly artistic and an efficiently performed version. It's a work of art period. Bohm conducts the Berlin forces with a loving, tender hand, guiding the instruments to play with lavish musicality and attention to details in every single scene, big and small. This is the most musical Figaro and if you pay close attention to the accompanying music and not the singing, you will find that this is the most stylish, artistic and excellent version of Figaro ever put to record. It is long, true, and too long for listeners used to hearing the music played faster for dramatic punch. But this is a dreamy recording, leisurely and really does feel as if we're in that huge manor house and the transition from scene to scene feels as if the hours are passing from day to night, which culminates in the garden scene and reconciliation between man and wife. That alone is enough to make this a classic and a winner. The Overture is not as large sounding as it is heard in other recordings but everything after that is played with continuous fluidity of sound, color and melody; beads of various shades and jewels as represented in the strings and winds, and at the same time the majestic brass, marches, fanfares and slightly darker nocturnal moments and such maintain a dramatic balance to the score. The orchestra is in tune with the same elegant, refined and beautiful phrasing and singing of the cast. It's Bohm's greatest recording of a Mozart opera, eventhough he would do a similar "mostly musical" thing in 1977 leading the Vienna Philharmonic with a Salzburg Festival Don Giovanni recorded live and available on Deutsche Grammophone (Sherill Milnes as Don Giovanni, Walter Berry as Leporello, Peter Schreier as Ottavio, Anna Tomowa Sintow as Anna). But while that one sounded very natural and was highly theatrical almost Shakespearean, this Figaro, being made as an LP recording, is artificial excellence, souding like a beautifully crafted light epic, so gorgeous to listen to and so relaxing, a real escape into the Austrian countryside.The downside for this and it's still not that big a deal for me (although it is to some) there is no real sense of reality to this entire drama and the garden scene, which I'm used to hearing as climatic and really very significant sounding (like a fairy tale ending) sounds too generic and unlike any of the other previous curtain-down closing numbers. The way Bohm continued the nearly eternal flow one would think that the lastt track is not even the end of the opera!! The whole thing lacks any realism or flesh but it is outstanding in its unique magic, ethereal effect, giving a new dimension to Figaro, making it high art. Put it on your best sound system at home during a soiree or just relax with the music on a summer afternoon and you will see that it's the most European and most endearing piece of music ever made.DIETRICH FISCHER DIESKAU is in a class of his own. His performances of opera are an acquired taste. This one is a Count that is overdone only because listeners are used to the more realistic, human and multi-dimensional approach at the Count requiring us to pity him. But the character was written to be a ham and to be seen as an imperious prick (like Don Giovanni) so Dieskau is essentially doing the right thing in his performance. This is the same thing he did with his Don Giovanni on two other recordings - with Bohm and with Ferenc Fricsay. He is not trying, however, to sound as elegant, smooth-toned and lilting as the others in the cast and some listeners enjoy the masculine beauty of baritone sounds which Dieskau overlooks in favor of dramatic vitality and pure camp. This was usually his style though (except in the purely lyric Lieder he sang a lot) but if you're a fan of Dieskau this is one of his classic performances and he totally understood the comic potential of the character that, along with Figaro, provide for comedy which is what Figaro is at heart. HERMANN PREY is a very refined baritone singer playing up the seriousness of Figaro's character rather than the comic element. Figaro is cunning and intelligent and the way Hermann Prey sings it is also intelligently done and well-studied. Problem is he overdid it, much like Dieskau overdid the campiness of the Count, and so he sounds more like a nobleman himself than a funny, cunning, smiling, low-brow comedy servant. But every aria and scene with Hermann Prey is a wonderful treat for the ears. He is still considered to be among the best interpretors of Figaro.GUNDULA JANOWITZ is no Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and in fact takes on an entirely different approach to the role of the Countess, long considered a fine debut for a serious opera singer that if sung successfuly can launch that soprano's meteroic career. It did just that for Janowitz but she had already sung full lyric roles and became an accomplished singer of German Lieder. Schwartzkopf was a perfectionist but at least she was able to emote as she sang and live her roles and her Countess was the stuff legends were made of, a warmer, more poignant and heartwarming Countess you'll be hard-pressed to find. Janowitz does not take this approach. She is not singing with any hint of emotion or warmth. Her Countess does not sound sad, not even when she is referring to her husband's lack of love for her!! Janowitz has a cool, leisurely voice with a floating effect. There is a kind of cold Netherlands royal tone to her voice, but there is no depth, real color and nuance. For me, it's Janowitz who is miscast, not Dieskau who knew the significance of the hamming it up part. A very poignantly performed Countess is always needed in Figaro but Janowitz is too distant and her voice sounds too ethereal and detached to cut it for me. When she sings, she's on another level, rising higher than the voice seems to call for, making it seem as if the Countess is some kind of goddess. That being said, she still has glorious moments of stunning lyricism and heavenly angelic beauty, especially when paired with Edith Mathis equally angelic voice (as in the Letter Due "Sull's Aria") it's absolutely spiritual! EDITH MATHIS' Susanna is unrivaled. She is also the one singer that really tries to sound Italian and especially in the talky recitatives in which she uses laughter or surprise in the voice. She has a beautiful, soubrette-ish voice that is perfectly suited to the ingenue role of Susanna. The thing is the irony is that Susanna has even more to sing than the Countess, and Edith Mathis sounds as if she's never done a bigger role than this one. But she mastered it! Finally Tatiana Troyanos. It's really she's who's the best singer on here and everyone seems to agree. Her dark, deep mezzo voice fully convinces us that she's playing the part of a man (Cherubino) and moreover, a young man experiencing adolescent passions. Troyanos has a very Italian voice and she is wonderful in everything she sings in this. It's a pity that Bohm does not care to showcase her voice and whenever she's on, it's far too fleeting a moment. Other conductors have captured more of a touching portrayal of Cheruino who can become a very significant character. Bohm does not seem to care for Tatiana on the count that she's the baby next to all the experienced German singers. And Troyanos was indeed the ingenue in this recording made very early in her operatic career as a mezzo."Shawshank Redepmtion": The score/soundtrack to the 1994 movie Shashawnk Redemption starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins used the duet "Sull' aria" also known as "Che Souave Zeffireto" sung by Gundula Janowitz and Edith Mathis from this very album. In the scene, Andy (Tim Robbins) has established a prison library that besides books features LP recordings. He discovers a record of Le Nozze Di Figaro and puts it on, turns up the volume and puts it over the loudspeakers so that all people in the prison and the prison yard are able to hear it. This moment is very poignant and touching, the emotional effect enhanced by Morgan Freeman's voice-over "I have no idea what those two Italian ladies we're singing about..I'd like to think that they were singing about something so beautiful it couldn't be expressed in words....I'm telling you those two voices sang higher than any one can dare to dream...and for a moment every last man at Shashawnk was free".....Because Karl Bohm and his orchestra approached this duet at a slow and lingering pace, this duet has long become famous for its sublime feeling and its sheer beauty. It's absolutely spiritual. A lot of operaphiles even purchase this recording to have access to this Duet in their own homes. It's the best performed "Sull'aria" ever. In the opera, Susannah and the Countess are alone in her room and are thinking about writing a letter for the Count, with the intent of deceiving him and entrapping him in the garden where the Countess will reveal her true identity as the woman he thought he was pursuing romantically. Joking around, the Countess and Susannah write "a song to the wind", and talk about how they will catch the Count in the "little forest under the pines". Other Figaro recordings, such as Solti, Muti, Levine and others make the mistake of speeding up the tempi in this duet and breeze right through it, making the duet seem very insignificant and boring. Bohm recognized the beauty of this duet and the tempi is just right, not plodding at all, and showcases the women's voices with flair, passion and again a touch of the spiritual. Giulini, too, however, was smart enough to slow down the pace of this duet and the Countess of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Susanna of Anna Moffo are also finely showcased in a very similar way. The two duets of both recordings are sumptuous and touching, but Bohm's version sets up the voices very high in the Heavens.There are many Figaros on recording and it's an opera that is beloved by the opera recording industry. You're spoilt for choice. Some Figaro recordings are very boring since without any real color to the score the entire thing can sound like the same tune. Avoid Sir Neville Marriner's version or Ricardo Muti's which can indeed fall into this category of the bland and boring. By common assessment, the most loved versions are Giulini's and Bohm's. Some prefer the Kleiber version of the mid 1950's. The modern recordings dating from the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's contained improved sound quality and singers who added a more unique and more human/realistic interpretation. Often these singers stand out from the rest of their co-stars. The Countess of Leontyne Price (in the Mozart album and Prima Donna album) is very beautiful and unlike any other. Jessye Norman, the African-American diva, had sung the Countess in the Davis recording and she is amazing in that one, adding a very regal tone. Her young voice had not yet become too Wagnerian. Kiri Te Kenawa has always been considered a fantastic Countess and overall Mozart soprano. Some like Margaret Price, who is also an accomplished Mozart heroine singer, as well as Carol Vaness who adds a luxurious, deep, full lyric and yet nuanced voice to her Countess or Donna Anna. Renee Fleming's career was launched because before she became too full of herself she knew just how to sing the Countess to the most technically brilliant detail. Look for a good Countess and Susanna and you'll have yourself a good Figaro. Me I like Karl Bohm and Giulini as well as the Solti version and the one with Teresa Stratas as Susanna and Sena Jurinac, a supreme Mozart soprano of the old-school, as the Countess.5Exactly what I was looking for!It was a Father s Day gift for my husband and he loved it!5B hm's Genial Mozart At Its BestIf you enjoy a quintessentially Viennese production of *Figaro*, then this recording is for you. B hm leads a performance that consistently uplifts for its geniality, elegance and charm. This is a heartwarming rather than a sizzling account of the score, though B hm's tempos do not strike me as excessively slow (as they did another reviewer on this website). Indeed B hm can convey enormous vitality when the occasion demands--as in the Act II Finale. He also manages to get crisp and committed playing from his Viennese forces (nothing routine here). Few listeners will be able to resist B hm's ideal combination of pathos and serenity in the great reconciliation scene of the Act IV Finale; this may be B hm's finest moment on record.But it is chiefly for the singing that I am always drawn back to this version. Arguably this is the finest cast ever assembled for a studio recording of the opera. Janowitz' Countess can seem cool at first, but the sheer beauty of her voice--silvery, angelic, like something one might hear in Galadriel's mythic realm--and the consistent perceptiveness of her characterization cannot be gainsaid. Opposite her, Fischer-Dieskau overacts as usual--sometimes distractingly playing the buffoon--but his commanding manner and intelligent way with the text make this otherwise slimy character unusually sympathetic, even noble. One believes every word of his penetential plea in Act IV--while remaining disposed to forgive him for any future lapses! Prey is a virile, at times overly serious Figaro who plays up the revolutionary subtext. One could wish for a bit more "smile in the voice" but with a singer as gifted as he, one is not disposed to complain. As his consort, Mathis is a pert and perky Susanna, sexy where she needs to be, believably scheming, and most movingly standing by her man (Figaro -- or the Count?) in "Deh, vieni non tardar." Best of all is Troyanos' Cherubino. I have never heard a more convincing portrayal of this terminally randy adolescent. Her agile and believably boyish voice is a perfect fit for the part; no matronly mezzo she. The comprimarios are everything they should be, with the possible exception of a "grandmatronly" Marcellina. Their Act IV arias, included here, do prove to be too much of a good thing too late in the game. If I were conducting *Figaro*, even for a recording, I would omit these arias (which suffer by contrast to the other, truly great, arias in Act IV) if only for the sake of preserving dramatic continuity. But listeners can, of course, choose to include them or program them out.The remastering is a success. The sonics, which always were crisp and clear, are smoother than on LP, though there is a hint of peaking here and there. One might wish for a tad more warmth, but with superbly balanced orchestral textures and vocal ensembles, I count the engineering to be far more of an asset than a liability. I notice that used copies of this set are being offered for astonishingly low prices on this website; don't hesitate, then, to acquire a *Figaro* with all the classic virtues and an unbeatable cast.5Amazing performanceWhen I saw that some customers had rated this item with 2 stars or less, I couldn't believe my eyes. This is by far the best recording available. How can you go wrong with such a cast, a Fischer-Dieskau is at his best in any opera. He's such a delightful musician and artist. I disagree that the performance is plodding - it is anything but. Bohm contrasts well the fast and lyrical overture and opening numbers with the slower arias later on into the first act.Bohm does well to contrast the characters with different voices. The rich and bold voice of Fischer-Dieskau with the energetic lightness of Prey. The same goes with the Countess and Susanna - Bohm's use of contrasts. How boring if all the characters sounded the same! The contrasts help to set the characters apart. It's such a stunning interpretation! Mozart would have been proud.As for the lack of 'Italianness' - I think people forget that Mozart was Austrian, and not to mention that the opera is set in Spain and was based on a French play retooled by an Italian lyricist. I don't think that it is fair to listen to this opera for its 'Italian-ness'. It does the work an injustice to label it geographically or expect the music to represent a particular "culture" since it touches so many corners of Europe.This is a wonderful recording, and you won't be disappointed.5Music from Shawshank RedemptionRemember the beautiful opera played over the prison public address system? This is the one. If you loved it in t he movie, you will love the complete opera.5Absolutely the best version ever recorded.Never been equaled.5Mozart I've been wanting finally found!The CD's are in excellent shape and play perfectly. This is a production that lives up to its reviews and as it is a complete opera it is exactly what I was looking for.5Bellissima!Finest recording I've heard despite the age of the original masters.5
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