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A budget reissue of a masterpiece – so surely worth buying? Well, it does contain one superlative assumption, Frederica von Stade’s Octavian, which is well-nigh perfect. Her tone is free and thrilling, and her characterisation vivid and passionate. Unfortunately, in the face of such an incredible performance everything else seems rather dowdy. Evelyn Lear’s Marschallin is finely detailed and at her best in her final Act 1 musings, but at the vital moments the voice doesn’t soar by this late point in her career. Ruth Welting’s soprano certainly soars as Sophie, but her characterisation tends to the girl’s irritating side. Jules Bastin sings very well but not overly colloquially, and José Carreras certainly belts it out as the Italian Tenor. Edo de Waart conducts a well-detailed performance, but somehow the performance doesn’t add up to a cohesive whole. Von Stade aside, there are many more attractive Rosenkavaliers available.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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