Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Essential Recordings

Essential Recordings

Philharmonia/Herbert von Karajan
Warner Classics 9029581745 (three CDs)
Late in life, Schwarzkopf supervised the CD remastering of Legge’s original mono tapes, now hard to find; the stereo is almost ageless.

VPO/Karl Böhm
DG 4453382 (download only)
Live at the Salzburg Festival, hardly note-perfect, but catching the conductor on fire and the cast in the most sexy, intense by-play.

Bavarian SO/Carlos Kleiber (rec. 1973)
Orfeo C581083D (three CDs)
The sweet but never cloying beauty of Lucia Popp’s Sophie makes a perfect foil for Brigitte Fassbaender’s tour-de-force as Octavian.

VPO/Carlos Kleiber (rec. 1994)
DG 0730089 (two DVDs)
Kleiber’s second ‘dream’ cast, live at the Vienna State Opera, in sumptuous sound and vision, led by Felicity Lott’s Marschallin.

VPO/Franz Welser-Möst
C major 719404 (Blu-Ray)
The cool beauties of Harry Kupfer’s staging combined with the chamber-music delicacy of Welser-Möst’s conducting, live at Salzburg.

Metropolitan Opera/Sebastian Weigle
Decca 0743945 (Blu-Ray)
Essential for Renée Fleming’s farewell to the Marschallin and the exquisite ambivalence of Elina Garanca as Octavian/Mariandel.