"The Kleiber must-haves are two New Year's concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic (1989, from Deutsche Grammophon; 1992, from Philips). Here is the very essence of joyous music-making with the added visual value of the sumptuous large hall of the Musikverein in Vienna." - New York Times
Carlos Kleiber's 1977 La Traviata is a rare gestalt among studio opera recordings, and it is one of the conductor's finer achievements. Kleiber knits the score together with unwavering rhythmic and dramatic intensity, never allowing any single moment to eclipse the larger scene or musical structure. The singers are kept on a tight leash – given enough room to shape phrases and cadences, but not to indulge in sheer vocal display. The orchestra is similarly focused on realizing every detail of rhythm, melody, and articulation with vivid intensity. As a result, favorite arias, duets, and ensembles melt into the surrounding scenes in a way that invites curiosity about the drama at large while propelling it relentlessly forward. The general pace may strike some as a bit fast, but it's never boring, and frequently brilliant.
Der Freischutz is one of the great milestones in the history of opera. The resounding success of its premiere in 1821 practically made it a manifesto for German Romantic opera, one that would become a significant formative influence on Wagner. Although it has its roots in the Singspiel tradition exemplified by Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Der Freischutz cut new ground with its potent mixture of supernatural elements, dreams, folk melodies, evocations of nature, and symphonic tone painting.
Performances from Pamela Coburn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Janet Perry, Eberhard Wachter, the Choir und Ballet der Bayerischen Staatsoper, and the Bayerisches Staatsorchester. Rosalinde, wife of Eisenstein, is having an affair with Alfred. Eisenstein is due to begin a prison sentence the next morning, and the prison governor, Frank, is expected to collect him at any moment. However, Eisenstein allows himself to be talked into attending a fancy dress ball by Dr Falke, and when Frank arrives to find Alfred with Rosalinde, he assumes him to be Eisenstein and carts him off to prison.
Carlos Kleiber was perhaps the most highly regarded conductor of the late 20th century, but his relatively few excursions into the studio have left the musical world with a frustratingly small number of recordings. Thus we are particularly fortunate that, from among the relatively few appearances in his career, several concerts, one operetta and two operas were filmed. This concert with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester from Munich's Herkulessaal in October 1996 was on of his last.
Carlos Kleiber was perhaps the most highly regarded conductor of the late 20th century, but his relatively few excursions into the studio have left the musical world with a frustratingly small number of recordings. Thus we are particularly fortunate that, from among the relatively few appearances in his career, several concerts, one operetta and two operas were filmed.
The art of conducting was certainly imbued in Carlos Kleiber's whole persona and these magnificent performances of Beethoven's Fourth and Seventh symphonies find him on home ground with the excellent Concertgebouw Orchestra. Recorded in 1983, these concerts are a final testament to the art of great symphonic conducting and should definitely be in every serious music lover's collection.
“One can share in a more carefree expression of joy here. Many fine conductors have presided over these traditional Strauss tributes, but none with such élan as the late Carlos Kleiber. The music swings and sways in terpsichorean ecstasy. Kleiber appears blissful as he inscribes elegant arcs with his baton, and the players beam.” (Gramophone)
The Vienna Carmen from 1978 is a sensational filmed document from the musical legacy of Carlos Kleiber: the meticulous conductor only ever conducted a highly selected repertoire, and among his very few audio and video recordings are only seven complete operas.