Rudolf Schock In Five Italian Operas, Vol. 1 : Opera In German (11CD)
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Till well into the 1960s it was common practice to perform operas in the language of the country where they were being performed. What now seems strange to us, with our reverence for the original, was taken for granted then – except perhaps by those who knew not only the music but the language originally set to it and were annoyed by more or less inappropriate translations. Today we have long since grown used to being distracted from the action on stage by subtitles, or surtitles, and thus being at least able to follow the crude, implausible or totally incomprehensible plot of this or that opera by reading the libretto. Whatever the language, the artistic value of the performance depends very much upon its exponents. And that was where the German-speaking nations of the 1950s and 1960s, when the recorded-music market had not yet succumbed to globalization, had a lot to offer. The proof is in the five complete recordings – complete, that is, but fo the cuts so often made in those days – that make up this box set. The cast lists read like a Who’s Who of contemporary vocalists. We can count ourselves lucky to have these audio documents – edited to the highest possible technical standards – at our disposal. They offer us a reunion with a great series of irreplaceable and unforgettable soloists.