Der fliegende Holländer

Richard Kraus
Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
18 July 1942
Festspielhaus Bayreuth
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
DalandLudwig Hofmann
SentaMaria Müller
ErikFranz Völker
MaryLilo Asmus
Der Steuermann DalandsErich Zimmermann
Der HolländerJoël Berglund
Corliss Phillabaum

This recording is derived from a wartime broadcast of the performance of July 18, 1942 from the Bayreuth Festival. (Even as late as 1944 there were still a few performances at the Festival.) By 1942 German broadcasting companies were making use of magnetic tape recording equipment, which made it possible to capture uninterrupted performances of lengthy works, and a number of these wartime Bayreuth performances have been preserved in this way. The sound quality of these early tapes is remarkably good at times, though louder vocal passages often suffer from distortion. This Preiser CD issue seems to be derived from multiple sources, some of them tape, while surface noise in some sections suggests that parts were taken from acetate discs. Some sections also display audible artifacts of an AM radio broadcast, a high tone and occasional sputters. Finally, although the sound of the orchestra in the overture has vivid presence, as soon as the curtain goes up it recedes to the background behind the closely miked voices. Despite the documentary value of this earliest complete recording of the opera and the quality of most of the singing, the variable quality of the sound is a major disadvantage.

Swedish baritone Joel Berglund sings strongly as the Dutchman but is a rather stolid interpreter, while bass Ludwig Hofmann’s rather gruff style is not out of place for Daland. The main vocal interest, however, is in the Senta of Maria Müller, whose warm voice and dramatic intensity are very compelling and in the Erik of tenor Franz Völker, who brings real vocal beauty and some eloquence to this often ungrateful part. Richard Kraus conducts an energetic performance which has some dramatic power but is lacking in eloquence.

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Media Type/Label
Preiser, Line, OOA
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Technical Specifications
524 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 553 MByte (flac)
Broadcast from the Bayreuth Festival
A production by Heinz Tietjen