“Trove Thursday” pays tribute to the great German bass Kurt Moll who died two months ago with Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail featuring his classic Osmin. This broadcast from Paris is conducted by Karl Böhm and its cast also includes Christiane Eda-Pierre, Norma Burrowes, Ryland Davies and Norbert Orth.
Moll sang nearly 130 performances of eleven roles at the Met in a career that stretched from 1978 to 2005. The first time I heard him was in 1982 as Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier which I was surprised to realize was his only run of that role there. I particularly remember his marvelous Rocco in Fidelio and his noble and caring Sarastro during the first seasons of two different productions of Die Zauberflöte—the John Cox–David Hockney show in 1991 and the current Julie Taymor version in 2005 in which he made his final Met appearances.
I’m particularly disappointed to have missed enjoying in person his towering Osmin which he performed at the premiere of the 1979 John Dexter production which is still in the Met repertoire and was revived as recently as last season. He returned to the role there in both 1990 and finally in 2003. His portrayal is probably best known from the 1973 DG Böhm recording with Arleen Augér, Reri Grist and Peter Schreier.
This performance from several years later shows him in prime form and livelier than on the commercial recording. Since it’s conducted by Böhm there are some cuts including the unsurprising omission of “Ich baue ganz.” My recollection is that Stuart Burrows had been scheduled to sing Belmonte but became ill and was replaced for the opening (heard here) by Davies.
Both Burrowes and Orth sang alongside Moll in the Dexter Met premiere, their only roles at the house. I retain a particular fondness for Burrowes whose career didn’t last very long and whose lovely Dalinda is a highlight of the Raymond Leppard recording of Handel’s Ariodante. After Pedrillo, Orth went on to sing dramatic roles like Walther von Stolzing and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Burrowes appears in the Colin Davis recording of Entführung with Eda-Pierre who also sang several performances of Konstanze at the Met in 1980, one of her just three roles there. Perhaps the Martinique-born French soprano brings an unusual voice to this Mozart role but I’ve always found her a formidable performer who brings an appealing vulnerability to Konstanze. Her disk of arias by Philidor and Grétry remains a particular delight.
Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
26 March 1976
Christiane Eda-Pierre : Konstanze
Norma Burrowes : Blondchen
Ryland Davies : Belmonte
Norbert Orth : Pedrillo
Kurt Moll : Osmin
Karlheinz Böhm : Pasha Selim
Karl Böhm : Conductor
To download Entführung, just click on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.
With a nod to a recent Parterre Box discussion and to Saturday’s final Met HD transmission, I might call attention to two previous “Trove Thursday” offerings:
Stephen Sondheim’s Passion starring Natalie Dessay
and a Glyndebourne Der Rosenkavalier with Régine Crespin, Elisabeth Söderström, Anneliese Rothenberger and Oskar Czerwenka.