Der fliegende Holländer

Otto Klemperer
BBC Chorus
New Philharmonia Orchestra London
Date/Location
19 February – 14 March 1968
Abbey Road Studios London
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
DalandMartti Talvela
SentaAnja Silja
ErikErnst Kozub
MaryAnnelies Burmeister
Der Steuermann DalandsGerhard Unger
Der HolländerTheo Adam
Gallery
Reviews
Corliss Phillabaum

In his younger days conductor Otto Klemperer conducted extensively in the opera house and was known as something of a firebrand. However his public performances in his later years were devoted mainly to concert appearances and his recordings of opera were limited to the recording studio. Perhaps for this reason these late recordings seem to me to be rather a hothouse product, slow, measured, and with little dramatic force. In the case of Dutchman his recording runs more than two and a half hours and seems heavy-handed. His Dutchman, Theo Adam, usually a vivid performer, seems very subdued and focused more on sustaining the vocal lines rather than dramatic expression. His Senta, soprano, Anja Silja, created a sensation eight years earlier when she sang the role in Bayreuth at the age of 20. Her voice is not especially beautiful but it is an unusual combination of a high soprano with considerable power. In the recording of her 1961 Bayreuth performance (no longer available) she combines the vocal sound of a Queen of the Night with remarkable power, though by the time of recording the role with Klemperer the voice had darkened somewhat. Throughout her career she was justly noted for her intensely dramatic interpretations and something of that power comes through here, even at Klemperer’s ponderous tempos. Martti Talvela, usually a vivid dramatic presence, seems strangely subdued here as Daland. The remaining soloists are competent. EMI’s sound is often edgy and distorts at the climaxes in my 1994 CD edition but later remasterings may sound better. Not recommended.

Gramophone

Klemperer’s magisterial interpretation of this work was unavailable in any form for far too long so its reissue was most welcome. As ever, Klemperer by and large justifies some moderate tempi by the way in which he sustains line and emphasises detail. Only once or twice – in the Spinning and Sailors’ choruses – do you sense a lack of propulsion. Otherwise throughout there’s a blazing intensity to the reading that brooks no denial. The storm and sea music in the Overture and thereafter is given stunning power, and the Dutchman’s torture and passion is evoked in the orchestra. Indeed, the playing of the New Philharmonia is a bonus throughout. Klemperer catches as convincingly as anyone the elemental feeling of the work – the sense of the sea, basic passions and the interplay of character unerringly adumbrated.

There have been few baritones before or since Theo Adam who have sustained the line of the Dutchman so well and so intelligently reached the heart of the matter where the text is concerned. Silja’s bright, sometimes piercing timbre isn’t to everyone’s taste but hers is a most moving portrayal of trust, loyalty and love unto death, the interpretation of an outstanding singing actress. Martti Talvela, singing magnificently and suggesting a formidable presence, is a bluff, burly Daland. Ernst Kozub’s Erik has its clumsy moments but one admires the shining tone. Gerhard Unger offers an ardent, cleanly articulated Sailor. Annelies Burmeister is a ripe Mary. The overall sound is a shade on the dry side but doesn’t detract from the enjoyment.

Platte11.de

Niemand dirigiert den Fliegenden Holländer so weihevoll und langsam wie Otto Klemperer, niemand versteht den Orchestersatz so deutlich als einen “psychologischen” Kommentar zum Gesungenen, niemand erreicht vergleichbar suggestive Wirkungen. Von Klemperers hervorragendem New Philharmonia Orchestra werden – beispielsweise in Eriks Traumerzählung – viel tiefere Schichten zum Klingen gebracht als bei einem “Naturalisten” wie Solti. Ernst Kozub singt den Erik dramatisch engagiert und dynamisch differenziert. Einen glaubwürdigen und stimmlich prachtvollen Daland gibt Marti Talvela. Theo Adam ist ein Holländer, dem vielleicht das Dämonische und die Schwärze fehlt, der aber dennoch vom Volumen her viel eher ein Anrecht auf Wagner-Partien hat als Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Adam singt den Holländer wirklich; er formt Worte, Phrasen, Bögen. Ihm steht das Differenzierungsvermögen eines Oratoriensängers zur Verfügung – und er nutzt es eindrucksvoll. Schließlich Anja Silja als Senta; ihr Defizit ist schnell benannt: Varnay und Rysanek haben die bei weitem tragfähigeren Stimmen. Anja Silja bewegt sich hier ganz klar an der Grenze dessen, was ihrer Stimme möglich ist. Aber wohl keine Sängerin der Schallplattengeschichte hat eine so junge und so hysterische Senta dargestellt. Das Duett zwischen Erik und Senta gehört zu den großen Momenten imaginativen Singens auf Tonträgern. Da entsteht vor dem Hörer wirklich das Bild einer Wahnsinnigen, die nur noch einer Vision folgt und an Erik vollkommen vorbei singt. Klemperers Fliegender Holländer ist wegen der langsamen Tempi und wegen der Senta von Anja Silja vielleicht der riskanteste der Aufnahmegeschichte. Ich halte ihn aber auch für den hörenswertesten. Die Klangqualität der 1968 von EMI realisierten Aufnahme ist sehr gut.

Rating
(6/10)
User Rating
(4/5)
Media Type/Label
EMI, HMV, Angel
EMI, Warner
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Technical Specifications
700 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 768 MByte (flac)
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