Händel: Xerxes

Album cover art for upc 4011790476032
Label: ORFEO
Catalog: ORF-C230063

Cook, Jean; Kohn, Karl Christian; Proebstl, Max; Kubelík, Rafael; Hallstein, Ingeborg; Pöld, Naan; Töpper, Hertha; Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Wunderlich, Fritz

This 1962 production of Xerxes was based on Rudolf Steglich’s 1958 version, which is distinguished by close reference to the autograph, preserved in the British Museum, and by a new German translation; the roles of Xerxes and Arsamenes, originally written for castrato sopranos, are here set for tenor. As regards the orchestra, Kubelik favors a rather objective string sound, completely avoiding the monumental, with discreet vibrato, and adopts Baroque terraced dynamics and tempo relationships that avoid extremes. In today’s view his interpretation turns out to be, therefore, midway between those productions based on Oskar Hagen’s arrangement, which was frequently committed to a romantically-colored understanding of the Baroque, and the modern original-sonority versions. The cast starring Fritz Wunderlich, Naan Pöld, Hertha Töpper, Jean Cook, Ingeborg Hallstein, Carl Christian Kohn und Max Pröbstl makes clear how high a level an opera production could attain at that time.

Price: $52.98