CD: Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier / Boehm

(DG, 3 CDs)
Schech / Seefried / Streich / Böhme / Dresden State Opera Chorus / Dresden Staatskapelle / Boehm

More classical CD reviews

This set caused an almighty furore when it first appeared in 1959, with adverse criticism flung at both the apparent solemnity of Karl Boehm's conducting and the miscasting of steely dramatic soprano Marianne Schech as the Marschallin.

Opinions about Der Rosenkavalier, however, have shifted since then and Boehm's approach - broodingly introspective and generating a palpable sense of the corrosive effect of time on people's lives - now seems starkly modern and perceptive.

Schech's unsexy Marschallin remains problematic, however, though the set also contains Irmgard Seefried's astonishing Octavian, one of the greatest individual Strauss performances to survive in sound. Rita Streich is a temperamental Sophie, while Kurt Böhme's Ochs, swivelling between charm and violence, is more complex and dangerous than most.

Not a first choice Rosenkavalier, but Seefried is essential listening for lovers of great singing.


Tim Ashley

The GuardianTramp

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