Friday, December 13, 2013

Gratuitous Friday - The Wunderlich/Ludwig Non-HIP Edition

Earworm's hankering for another recording of Giulio Cesare made me (for some strange reason) think of this performance from 1966*. So, of course, I needed to track it down. In this clip, Fritz Wunderlich and Christa Ludwig as Sesto and Cornelia, sing "Madre...Son nata a lagrimar." But acutally, in this performance from Munich (with the Münchner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner, conducting) it's in German: "Mutter...Nur weinen lernte ich." 

These performances are not what we'd consider "Historically Informed," though I think they were pretty HIP for the time (pace N. Harnoncourt). Some da capos are cut, but the ones that remain are ornamented. Not ornamented in the way we expect today, (I am not sure what historical period these ornaments would fit into), but I think it's fascinating to hear that they were making an effort to authenticize in a modern setting. 

And of course, here, Sesto is a tenor, but what a tenor!! The main point here is the marvelous singing from both mother and son, and the opportunity to hear these two great artists singing in duet. It will never supplant the most wonderful performances of mezzos, sopranos, or counter tenors singing Sesto, but it's not meant to. 

And for a bonus, here are Walter Berry as Caesar and Lucia Popp as Cleopatra (she's off- or above-stage, which is why she sounds more distant and echo-y).

*Meanwhile, that same year, back in New York City, a certain Beverly Sills was about to wow the world with her Cleopatra (and a whole slew of anachronistic ornamentation)! But, as Cunegonde said to Candide, we'll go into that another day. 

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