Arias from Miss Julie, The Nightingale, Troilus and Cressida,
Susannah, Rusalka, Peter Grimes, Vanessa, Paul Bunyan, Monsieur Beaucamp,
of the Screw, Wuthering Heights, Die tote stadt, and Die Lustige
Duets from Faust, I pescatori di perle, Carmen, Otello,
Iris, La bohème, and Turandot
Arias from Figaro's Hochzeit, Don Juan, Wilhelm Tell, Der
fliegenda Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger,
Das Rheingold, Siegfried, Il Re di Lahore, L'Africana, Aida
Aris from Il trovatore, Lohengrin, Aida, Carmen, Prodaná nevesta,
Evgenije Onjegin, Cavalleria rustyicana, I pagliacci, Andrea Chenier, Tosca,
Der Liebe der Danae
Soprano Kate Royal's latest CD is a fascinating collection that focuses on the unusual. What a pleasure it is to hear arias from operas by Alwyn's Midsummers Night, Walton's Troilus and Cressida, Floyd's Susanna, Barber's Vanessa, Stravinsky's and Messager's setting of the nightingale, three operas of Britten: Peter Grimes, Paul Bunyan and The Turn of the Screw, and, particularly, the exquisite aria from Herrmann's Wuthering Heights. Royal's sumptuous voice is beautifully controlled in all of these, with only a touch of stridency at the top. Tenor Andrew Staples and baritone Thomas Allen are briefly heard, along with the Crouch End Festival Chorus. This is a major release on the vocal scene, very well recorded, with complete texts in three languages.
Some years ago, this site mentioned a Preiser CD devoted to the stunning soprano Selma Kurz (REVIEW). Details of her remarkable career can be read in that review, which covers recordings made from 1923-24. Now the same label has issued their second solo disk of Kurz recordings, made 1910-1914 when she was in her prime. Again sparks fly—what a remarkable artist and technician she was! This is a valuable release—and if you've never heard Kurz, do it now!
Soprano Rosanna Carteri (b. 1930) is best-known for her 1956 Rome recording of La traviata with Cesare Valletti and Leonard Warren and Pierre Monteux conducting. When only 18 she made her operatic debut in 1949 as Elsa in Lohengrin at the Baths of Caracalla creating a sensation and overnight she was an operatic star. In 1952 she sang Desdemona in Otello at the Salzburg Festival (with Ramon Vinay, Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting). She wisely sang lighter Puccini and Verdi roles as well as many contemporary works , and retired in the late '60's. She lives today in Monte Carlo. She considers the recordings on Preiser's new CD to be her best, and we have the pleasure of hearing her in these duets with Giuseppe Di Stefano recorded in 1957 with Antonio Tonini conducting, and a selection of arias from 1952 with Arturo Basile on the podium. Although she was overshadowed by other sopranos of her era (she never was invited to the Met), her solid technique and musicality are ever apparent in these recordings.
Fritz Feinhals, born in Cologne in 1869, was a true heldenbariton. His distinguished career began in 1895 with a minor role in a performance in Essen of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots. He became well known for his performances of Silvio and Escamillo, and sang his first Wagner (Dutchman/Telramund) in 1897, his first Wotan later that year. Soon he was a major Wagnerian baritone singing primarily in Munich. During his one season at the Met (1908-1909), he sang Walküre, Tristan, Meistersinger, Parsifal, Tiefland, and Aida. Recordings on Preiser's CD were made 1907-1911 and should represent Feinhals at the peak of his career, but some of his singing is unsteady, and perhaps the acoustic recording technique doesn't flatter his voice. Still, this is a disk of considerable interest.
The final Preiser CD in this group is odd indeed. Josip Gostic (b.1900 in Belgrade. d. -1963 in Belgrade) first appeared in opera in Ljubljana and Zagreb but soon became a favorite in Vienna where for some years he sang many major tenor roles. A highlight of his career was when he sang Midas in the first public performance of Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae in 1952 with Clemens Krauss conducting at the Salzburg Festival. "In Syriens Glut trich ein armer Knabe den treuen Esei" from this performance is heard on Presier's disk, sung admirably by Gostic—which cannot be said of the remainder of the CD: ten arias recorded on unidentified dates, presumably very late in his career. His singing in these is, to put it kindly, mediocre. Tenor Dusan Georgevic (1909-1999), a contemporary of Gostic, shares this disk. Little is known of him; Georgevic sang mostly in Italy and in 1936 sang Andrea Chenier with soprano Zinka Kunc (later Milanov). He also was an engineer and served in the U. S. Army for 24 years. Georgevic continued to perform concerts until 1964 and died in 1999. Preiser's CD offers 6 recordings made in 1948 for Decca with Alberto Erede and the Suisse Romande Orchestra. On these Georgevic displays an assured, sensitive voice; surely his participation is the reason to own this CD—except for those who wish to hear a segment from the premiere of the Strauss opera
R.E.B. (September 2009)