Lehar Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)
Herbert von Karajan
Operetta masterpieces from DG
As a label specializing in western classical music, Deutsche Grammophon (DG) took up the challenge of recording these popular operettas for the first time. Exceptional vocalists and orchestra flourish in these recordings with its beautiful sound, down to the finer points of a 'live' stage performance. These albums feature stunning acoustics that makes the listeners experience the depth of even the stage atmosphere and presence of the performers. ESOTERIC presents the world's first re-mastered version of "The Merry Widow."
Experience by yourself...
Experience the legendary performance in this new Super Audio CD/CD format. Not only for new followers, but also for well experienced followers of these recorded materials. All will be equally impressed by the "soul" hidden within the notes, but never before found in previously released recordings in any format.
ESOTERIC equipment used for re-mastering
The criterion of re-mastering is to faithfully capture the quality of the original master tapes. ESOTERIC's flag ship D/A converters, model D-01VU, Rubidium master clock generator model G-0Rb and ESOTERIC MEXCEL interconnect cables and power cords, were all used for this re-mastering session. This combination of highly advanced technology greatly contributed to capturing the high quality sound of the original master tapes.
This album represents the sublime essence and sophistication of Lehar recorded by Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) at their prime. At long last, listeners can experience all the tracks of "Die Lustige Witwe" (The Merry Widow), in the ultimate sound quality of Super Audio CD/CD hybrid technology.
"The Merry Widow" studio recording made during the heydays of Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
The works of Herbert von Karajan (1908 to 1989) have been re-evaluated from various standpoints since 2008, which marked the 100th birth anniversary and the 10th death anniversary of the pioneering conductor who was dedicated to recording albums with a never changing, lifelong passion. Karajan left a large volume of recorded works spanning from SP recordings to digital recordings. In the course of a long recording history and career, Karajan reached one of his musical peaks in the1970s. During this period, Karajan's relationship with the BPO finally became so deep that they made very high-caliber recordings one after another. Like "Second Viennese School" (ESOTERIC ESSG-90017), which contains Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht" and other orchestral works, already re-mastered in hybrid Super Audio CD/CD format by ESOTERIC. For ESOTERIC's re-master process, this complete album of "The Merry Widow" originally released in 1973, is also a landmark masterpiece that demonstrates the musical heights of that era.
The first ever operetta recording made by Deutsche Grammophon
"The Merry Widow" was recorded in studio sessions that took place purely for the purpose of recording. It was very rare for Karajan to make a recording of an opera independently of a live performance because live opera performances and recordings were invariably carried out in conjunction at that time (Karajan never conducted this opera on an actual stage). Rene Kollo and Elizabeth Harwood were appointed as the two leading characters of this operetta. Rene Kollo was becoming prominent as a Wagnerian tenor vocalist at that time and sang in the role of Walther for Karajan's 1970 recording of "Die Meistersinger von Numberg" in Dresden prior to this recording. On the other hand, Elizabeth Harwood, the English soprano vocalist who was favored by Karajan, sang in the role of Musetta in the complete album of "La boheme." Besides these two, other roles were assigned to Karajan's preferred vocalists including Teresa Stratas, Zoltan Kelemen (who sang in the role of Alberich in all tracks of Karajan's "The Ring of Nibelung"), Werner Hollweg (tenor vocalist in Haydn's "The Seasons"), Donald Grobe, and Werner Krenn. Together with these distinguished vocalists and the choir of Deutsche Opera Berlin, lead by the eminent choir director Walter Hagen-Groll, Karajan produced an operetta of ultimate sophisticated splendor. In a live operetta performance on stage, there is often more prominence put on the stage performance and audience reaction rather than the finer points of singing and orchestra parts. But, in this album, the singing and orchestra parts were recreated meticulously so that the opulence of the music composed by Franz Lehar, which could not be experienced so clearly prior to this studio recording by Karajan, was manifest for the first time to listeners. This album has been regarded highly since its release as a most creditable masterpiece both in name and real terms as the first operetta recording ever made by DG who had no prior experience with operettas since its founding.
Ultimate sound quality by Super Audio CD (SACD)/CD hybridization
All the tracks of "The Merry Widow" were recorded over seven days in sessions that took place at the Jesus Christ Church in Berlin from 1972 to 1973. This album was one of the last recordings made at this church by Karajan and the BPO since their recording venue was moved to Berliner Philharmonic (BPO's home concert hall) after March 1973. The Jesus Christ Church, located in the quiet suburb of Dahlem, served as broadcasting and recording venue after World War II because of its superb acoustics. DG produced many masterpieces at this church following the recordings made by conductors Wilhelm Furtwangler and Ferenc Fricsay. DG's distinguished tone meister Gunter Hermans, who had an in-depth knowledge of this church's acoustics, was in charge of recording "The Merry Widow." The famous opera director August Everding, who was an attendant at Hamburg State Opera at that time, was in charge of directing the dialogs of the performers. This masterpiece album was released on CD from the earliest days of digital recordings. This time, however, ESOTERIC has issued a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) re-mastering from high sound quality master, allowing the listeners to appreciate the sophisticated world of Lehar via a crystal clear and yet fresh sound for the first time.