Teresa Stratas has been called the world's greatest living singing actress, and she is seen and heard at the peak of her powers in the title role of director Götz Friedrich's spine-chilling version of Salome. on of the most highly acclaimed opera films ever made - with Strauss's score in the expert hands of his protégé Karl Böhm, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.
This DVD of Ariadne is a 1978 film based on Filippo Sanjust’s Vienna State Opera production. The bustling Prologue is set in the backstage area of the mogul’s palace and the 18th century costumes fit neatly. In the opera proper, the stage is transformed into a very stagey desert island with an improbable set of stairs leading to the heroine’s cave, the action spilling over into the theatre’s side boxes at times. While there’s nothing particularly imaginative about the production, it never distracts from the main event–the music. Strauss was profligate in his melodic gifts, his ability to make a reduced orchestra sound big, and his wonderful obsession with the female voice, which yields many glorious moments in the opera. Lavish casting helps.
“A glittering account of the most perfect of all operettas, with an incredibly starry cast, all in peak condition. Karl Böhm's conducting is relaxed but sparkling.” (BBC Music Magazine)
Böhm's Mozart as experienced in these precious films is marked by youthful vigour and directness, as well as a lack of pathos and sentimentality. Every reading glows with profound love and understanding. "Thanks to Bruno Walter's exemplary performances, I grabbed on to Mozart and fell in love with him so much that I had only one wish: to conduct Mozart, Mozart, Mozart." - Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm conducting the Requiem: one of the foremost Mozart conductors of the 20th century in one of Mozart’s most admired works. Singers Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier and Walter Berry join forces to form a brilliant cast of soloists. Taped in 1971 at the Piaristenkirche in Vienna, this is a rare document of outstanding artistic quality.
…[Böhm] may be an octogenarian, but he directs the opera for the most part with a spirit and an urgency that many a young man might envy. Most of the accompanied recitatives are alert and fiery, and in this particular work they carry a great deal of the emotional weight. Here and there I find myself at odds with a choice of tempo. Especially in the closing scenes, some of the orchestral recitative seems to need to go more slowly; it is inclined to lack the proper sense of momentousness. I was a little surprised too at the quickish tempo for the opening aria and, most of all, for the great quartet in Act III, which has more turbulence and urgency than usual, particularly with its sharply contoured dynamics and its incisive accents. Of the choruses ending Act II, "Placido è il mar" is very slow and sticky, indeed positively becalmed (Dr Bain should remember that in ancient times an excessively calm sea did not portend a prosperous voyage— there could be no voyage at all!); the subsequent "Qual nuovo terrore", however, has tremendous power and drama, with superb choral singing and brilliant playing from the fine Dresden violins. And of course BOhm brings true grandeur and a sense of tragic inevitability to the noble music of the Temple Scene; "O voto tremendo" in particular is duly slow and weighty. All praise to him—and to the engineers—for the exceptional clarity of texture in these scenes; Mozart's orchestral writing is often unusually complex, and here every strand of it can be heard without any feeling of unnatural perspectives. – Gramophone
Mozart's greatest symphonies in classic performances by Karl Böhm and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
Böhm’s Mozart as experienced in these precious films is marked by youthful vigour and directness, as well as a lack of pathos and sentimentality. Every reading glows with profound love and understanding.
“Thanks to Bruno Walter’s exemplary performances, I grabbed on to Mozart and fell in love with him so much that I had only one wish: to conduct Mozart, Mozart, Mozart.” – Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm's Beethoven is, on balance, the best complete cycle available from Deutsche Grammophon. This will come as a surprise to many, given the fact that the label relentlessly promotes performances by Herbert von Karajan (three complete cycles!) and Leonard Bernstein, but for quality of playing, as well as superb sound, these versions are just about unbeatable. And at a "twofer" price, the complete set on three pairs of discs is a terrific value. –David Hurwitz