At the Christmas 2012 Against the Grain Christmas party I won a mega box set of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau goodies which included a couple of DVDs of opera extracts including some footage of him singing the title role in Don Giovanni auf Deutsch. The full recording from which those excerpts were taken has recently been released on DVD. It’s a TV broadcast from the opening of the rebuilt Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1961. It’s the earliest recorded in a theatre, in front of an audience, TV opera broadcast that I have seen. It wasn’t, apparently, broadcast live. The recording was made during the final dress and broadcast the following evening simultaneously with the first performance proper.
Today’s Ponelle production is the 1976 Le Nozze di Figaro. It has the starriest cast of any of the Ponelle films I’ve seen to date; Herrman Prey in the title role, Mirella Freni as Susanna, Kiri Te Kanawa as the countess and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as the count. It even, rather bizarrely, has Maria Ewing as Cherubino. To round things out Karl Böhm conducts with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Staatsopernchor. As we shall see, musically it lives up to the casting. Continue reading
OK, I have shamelessly stolen the title of this post from the DVD booklet because it’s just a perfect description of Götz Friedrich’s 1981 film version of Strauss’ Elektra. It’s one of those lip-synched films where the soundtrack is recorded in the studio and then the filming is synched to the sound track. Mercifully the singers are also the actors. I hate it when they use body doubles. Continue reading