RICHARD STRAUSS - UND SEINE HELDINNEN - A film byh Thomas Von Steinacker
This site has mentioned a number of recordings of Turandot on CD and video. These include idhistoric recordings by Borgiot Nilsson and Franco Corelli at La Scala in 1975 (REVIEW), and the extraordinary Met broadcast of 1964 (REVIEW) with Nilson/Corelli/Stokowski. On video we have the luxurious Zefferelli production with Eva Marton and Placido Comingo in 1987. Also available is an important 1958 Italian Television performance with Cporelli and Lucille Udovich (REVIEW). Now we have two new productions. The one from the Bregenz Festival was made June/July 2015, and takes full advantage of the venue's huge stage filling it most of the time. There are manhy vivid projected images that impress. Marco Arturo Morelli provided the sets and directed; Constance Hoffmann designed the brilliant costumes. It is a spetacular show in every way. It begins as Calaf, in modern attire, wanders across the stage and finally, brooding, sits down at a table—then the music starts.In this version, the plot is somewhat changed. In the final scenes, it is Turandot who kisses Calav, not the other way around. The entire cast is strong and they act well. Highly entertaining!
Of equal visual interest is the December 2015Teatro Carlo Felice Genoa production. Italso is a great show, and Daniella Dessi is a very attractive Princessemoting furiously djring the questioning scene. Lovers of this opera surely will wish to investigate both of these new videos.
About six months ago, this site mentioned a documentary about the life and music of Richard Strauss bhy Eric Schultz, At the End of the Raiunbow (REVIEW). Now we have another such documentary, this one by Thomas Von Steinacher. It focuses on the women in Strauss's life and how he reflected them in his operas and lieder. There doesn't seem to be much new here. There are interviews with sopranos who often sang Strauss including Christa Ludwig, Gwyneth JOnes, Renée Fleming and Brigetti Fassbaender, as well as the composer's grandson. There are brief excerpts from recent videos of operas by Strauyss but only snippets. The film also mentions Strauss's association with the Nazis, and we do have short scenes of the composer conducting.This is not a very good documentary on the subject. Why doesn't someone issue on video all of the known films of Strauss conducting. We know they exist. Now that would, indeed, be valuable. Notes for this release state there is a bonus: Wilhellm Furtwängler conducting the Berlin Phiulharmonic in Till Eulenspiegel. However, I could not accerss it. It is not listed anywherte on-screen. It seems odd that a major company such as Arthaus Musik would have such inadequate production. This is not the first incidence of a "bonus" being impossible to access.
R.E.B. (Decemb er 2015)