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Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten Original recording reissued

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, September 9, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Julia Varady, Plácido Domingo, Hildegard Behrens, José van Dam, Sumi Jo, et al.
  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (September 9, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000420D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,365 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian M. Kulesza on December 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Critical opinion has been consistently divided over this work, which first premiered in October 1919. As a Chicagoan, I waited until 1984 to see the premiere at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and it was worth the wait.
This glorious performance under Solti's direction has firmly cemented my opinion that this is one of the greatest operas ever penned and should be standard repertoire by now.
To have Placido Domingo branch out and sing the role of the Emperor in this recording is another benefit of the performance.
I also appreciated very much that most of the music that had customarily been cut from performances [a practice apparently initiated by Karl Boehm] have been restored.
This is a work that succeeds musically even though the plot is at times encumbered by esoteric symbolism.
However, it is the best performance I have ever heard and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
When I bought this opera, I didn't know what to expect. Frau is largely ignored in the American repetoire, which is a tragedy now that I know how marvellous this work is. True, the story is lofty with a lucid message that is unpopular in today's culture. More importantly though, the music is thrilling from start to finish. The music keeps one's attention throughout, unlike Rosenkavalier and many of Strauss' later works. Solti's orchestra has some unforgetable moments -- the descent of the Princess into the human world in Act I,for example. All the singers are incredible, even if they have no stage experience in these roles. (Where would they get the opportunity in America, anyway?) Of note is the always fascinating Hildegard Behrens. Her transition from the surly and selfish woman who sells her shadow to gain "manly" powers to a loving wife could be pulled off convincingly by few others. The finale unleashes all the soloists, orchestra, and chorus in a Straussian climax equalled only by Salome's final scence and the Rosenkavalier trio.
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By A Customer on January 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Open up your ears!! This is a classic recording. There are only 2 completely uncut Die Frau's on the market, the Solti and the Sawallisch, and it's obvious that the Solti wins hands down because the Sawallisch is ruined by some inappropriate casting.
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By A Customer on August 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a simply fantastic recording. This is one of my favorite operas in the entire operatic repetoire. Behrens gives a terrific performance as the Dyer's Wife and so does Judy Varady as the Empress. Domingo sings fabulously as the Emperor and Reinhild Runkel's beautiful, mature and fruity voice is perfect for the difficult role of the Nurse. Jose Van Dam is a marvellous Barak. The Vienna Philharmonic is incredible!!
Having said that, I do also recommend another recording. Who can ever forget Leonie Rysanek in the role of the Empress? Leonie Rysanek, with her shimmering and floating high soprano whether pianissimo or fortissimo is just incomparable. And who can ever forget Christa Ludwig's miraculous and heart stopping performance as the Dyer's Wife? Just buy the DG Vienna 1964 <Die Frau Ohen Schatten> conducted by Karajan and listen to it. You will understand. I LOVE Die Frau Ohne Schatten!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great work of art. The story is intriguing. I'm not generally a fan of Strauss' operas, barring Elektra. I find the music is not generally tuneful enough for my taste, to put it crudely. There are however, stunning moments...like that charming interlude with the orchestra and cello solo. Really beautiful.

The singers are great but there is some trading-off. Where Placido Domingo is not necessaruly idiomatic enough, he sings beautifully, as always. Where Hildegard Behrens and Reinhild Runkel have the requisite idiom and dramatic expression, their voices are most unappealing to me. I agree with one previous reviewer's description of "Behrens' wiry tone," although she sounds better here than some of her other recordings. Ms Runkel does have some pitch problems and a fair bit of unsteadiness. Still, the roles are well performed.

Full accolades go to Julia Varady (a searing, touching and BEAUTIFUL-voiced Empress), Sumi Jo (a rapturously sung Falcon) and Jose Van Dam (an achingly warm and well sung husband). I found all the other supporting roles to be very well executed and Solti's conducting and the orchestral clarity make this an excellent choice.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite it's scarcity on (especially American) stages, "Die Frau" is certainly a candidate for the 20th century's greatest opera--epic in scope, and, yes, profound in meaning, it's creators were clearly reaching for something huge, and, in my opinion, they pull it off. Strauss's score erupts with strange and beautiful musical ideas. The haunting, sinister cry of the falcon alone make it a work that any lover of late romantic opera must own, and it's climax is earth-shattering! Solti's recording is a great one. It's true that Domingo's Emperor sounds a little more Latin than one might expect in this role., his take is still fabulous. And Varaday's spoken monologue at the climax powerfully conveys her character's terrible distress. "Die Frau" is an opera that grows in the mind with repeated listenings. It's a must have.
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