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Count the days

What seems to be the European opera event of the summer, Elektra from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, will be webcast just a little over 48 hours from now, starting at 2:00 PM EDT on Friday. An embedded player is provided after the jump.

Naturally the House of Atreus La Cieca will be open for chat during this momentous event.


  • 21
    Dolciamente Pipo says:

    Have been a Ludwig fanatic since my very earliest opera-pup days. In the small town where I grew up in the ’70’s there was no opera or even a Met broadcast to speak of. The local “HiFi” store had a tiny bin of random classical LP’s. That’s where I stumbled upon (and on a whim purchased) a Christa Ludwig album that I have never (to my dismay)seen reissued. It featured her renditions of Rosina from “Barber” (auf Deutsch), Iphigenie (Tauride), and Ariadne (auf Naxos)on side 1. Side 2 was devoted entirely to Brunhilde’s Immolation. All amazing. This was my introduction to opera. Unopinionated neophyte that I was I didn’t even know that this was some kind of tour de force.

  • 22
    Famous Quickly says:

    “I didn’t even know that this was some kind of tour de force.”

    NONSENSE. I could sing “Mura felici” and the SALOME Schlussszene *tomorrow*. It’s a question of color and tessitura.

  • 23
    Krunoslav says:

    OK, I tried three times to post this in the “Discussion” thread but the 15,000 birthday Youtube Clips placed there kept shutting down my server. Maybe fewer of these on one page???

    Anyway, a review in a 1948 OPERA NEWS brought me to seek out this NP cast for a Vienna ZAUBERFLÖTE. Surely one of the stronger casts ever:

    Dienstag, 13. Jänner 1948 | 18:30 | in deutscher Sprache


    Staatsoper im Theater an der Wien

    Josef Krips | Dirigent
    Oscar Fritz Schuh | Regie
    Robert Kautsky | Bühnenbilder und Kostüme

    Anton Dermota | Tamino
    Ludwig Weber | Sarastro
    Paul Schöffler | Sprecher
    Hermann Gallos | Erster Priester
    Karl Dönch | Zweiter Priester
    Wilma Lipp | Königin der Nacht
    Irmgard Seefried | Pamina
    Ljuba Welitsch | Erste Dame
    Sena Jurinac | Zweite Dame
    Elisabeth Höngen | Dritte Dame
    Emmy Loose | Papagena
    Erich Kunz | Papageno
    Peter Klein | Monostatos
    Günther Treptow | Erster Geharnischter
    Adolf Vogel | Zweiter Geharnischter
    Wiener Sängerknaben | Drei Knaben

    And the next night brought on the “second”
    cast, also nothing to sneeze at (the Pamina and Sprecher could smoke backstage and fondly recall the days when the conductor and the Erste Dame would not have been allowed to live, let alone appear):

    Mittwoch, 14. Jänner 1948 | 18:30 | in deutscher Sprache

    2. Aufführung in dieser Inszenierung

    Staatsoper im Theater an der Wien

    Josef Krips | Dirigent
    Oscar Fritz Schuh | Regie
    Robert Kautsky | Bühnenbilder und Kostüme

    Hugo Meyer-Welfing | Tamino
    Herbert Alsen | Sarastro
    Alfred Jerger | Sprecher
    Hermann Gallos | Erster Priester
    Karl Dönch | Zweiter Priester
    Maria Stader | Königin der Nacht
    Elisabeth Schwarzkopf | Pamina
    Hilde Zadek | Erste Dame
    Marta Rohs | Zweite Dame
    Else Schürhoff | Dritte Dame
    Wilma Lipp | Papagena
    Alfred Poell | Papageno
    William Wernigk | Monostatos
    Horst Taubmann | Erster Geharnischter
    Ljubomir Pantscheff | Zweiter Geharnischter
    Wiener Sängerknaben | Drei Knaben


    What is particularly unbelievable is the Three Ladies casting on Opening Night:

    Ljuba Welitsch | Erste Dame
    Sena Jurinac | Zweite Dame
    Elisabeth Höngen | Dritte Dame

    Surely the strongest trio for a live performance in the postwar period, no?

    • 23.1
      Bill says:

      Krunoslav -- I always thought that this
      Zauberfloete premiere in Vienna in 1948 was
      one of the most luxurious casts ever for this
      opera (or any other). Krips, Boehm, von Karajan,
      and Furtwaengler used pretty much the same cast
      in the following years in Vienna and Salzburg.
      Welitsch went on to sing 34 additional first ladies
      and in Vienna or Salzburg one could find also
      Zadek, Grob-Prandl, Anny Konetzni, Hilde Konetzni,
      Annelies Kupper, Helene Werth, Goltz, Lisa della
      Casa, Judith Hellwig and later even Gundula Janowitz
      singing the first lady -- the three ladies were
      almost always assigned to prima donnas (I saw
      Claire Watson do it in Munich) Big stars also sang
      the third lady -- Hoengen, Rosette Anday, Margarete
      Klose, Baltsa and Christa Ludwig was often 2nd Lady.
      The Paminas in those days included not only
      Seefried and Schwarzkopf, but della Casa, Gueden,
      Gruemmer, Jurinac, Stich-Randall, Reining, Rethy, eventually Janowitz, Leontyne Price, Lipp, Rothenberger, Cotrubas, Zylis-Gara and a host of others.

      Curiously Stader sang only that one Queen of the
      Night in Vienna -- one of her very rare forays
      into the opera house (due to her small stature).

      It was the nature of the ensemble opera house in
      those days to utilize leading singers at times
      in smaller roles, but the Three ladies in Die
      Zauberfloete were considered to be important roles
      throughout that period (1940s to 1965) and in
      ensemble opera houses to this day (Budapest for
      example) the first lady is almost always a reigning
      Salome, or Tosca or Donna Anna. Dermota went on to sing 169 Taminos, Kunz 249 Papagenos, Lipp 132 Queens of the Night, 87 Paminas, but the second
      premiere night in 1948 was her only Papagena. Both Jurinac and Schwarzkopf conceded that. at the time,
      Seefried was incomparable as Pamina. These were
      heady times for Mozart in Vienna -- This particular
      production was conducted mostly by Krips, Boehm and
      Kempe but later von Karajan and Furtwaengler were
      fighting over pretty much the same cast for the 1950
      EMI recording of Zauberfloete over which Karajan
      was chosen by Legge to conduct.

  • 24
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I skimmed the video and will watch all of it later. The ovations were huge, but the scenery and costumes so uninteresting. Meier was pretty classy. I guess Cherau and his designer love that Totenhaus grey look. Mehr Lichter!

    • 24.1
      Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      • 24.1.1
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Note that Peter McClintock is listed as Chereau’s assistant in Aix, which makes a lot of sense for the MET when he will be involved in the same production there.

  • 25
    La Cieca says:

    Elektra from Aix now available on demand.

    • 25.1
      PushedUpMezzo says:

      I was there last Wednesday and can vouch for the musical excellence. Production slightly sober (I miss the blood), orchestra possessed and E-PS pointing much of the Rosenkavalier tenderness at the heart of this crazy piece. Meier cool and elegant if slightly voiceless. My first live encounter with Herlitzius and what an amazing physical performer she is! Vocally all there too. Pieczonka most convincing in her maternal yearnings, but not very regal. I always feel that Chrysothemis should be a mix of her mother and her sister and I missed that relationship here. Possibly the most detailed and moving performance came from the wonderful Miss Alexander, a beacon of humanity in the general mayhem. Cavalli’s Elena was also a real treat. Indeed the opening scene with the 3 goddesses put me in mind of La Cage aux Folles. A bevy of gorgeous countertenors and a most sensuous orchestra. Cavalli was such a tease! Best not to linger over the infuriating, jerky and mannered Don Giovanni despite fine contributions from the ladies, especially Joelle Harvey, a really individual and sparky Zerlina, and a nicely contained and vocally smooth Anna (Maria Bengtsson). Aix is still as gorgeous as ever, pedestrian-friendly and full of fountains.