Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Christa Ludwig Franz Schubert - Die Winterreise|
Actors: Schubert, Ludwig, Spencer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Christa Ludwig is acknowledged as one of the twentieth — century's most explorative and complete vocal artists. Her — professional singing career spanned five decades and, as a — star of the international operatic stage, she ... more »
The 'Winterreise' of a Wise Woman
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 06/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are those, of course, who decry a woman singing Schubert's 'Winterreise' because its texts are very much from a man's point of view. It is not unheard of, though, for a woman to sing the cycle. Lotte Lehmann and Elena Gerhardt did it to great acclaim. In the notes for this DVD Ludwig says she prefers to feel the protagonist is a 'soul' rather than a man. That is, perhaps, sophistry, but in any event this performance -- with the wonderfully supportive but unflashy accompaniment by Charles Spencer (of whom I'd never heard) -- is masterly. The performance was recorded in 1994 when Ludwig was sixty-six years old (!). The plushness of her voice is perhaps just slightly diminished by age, but the artistry that comes from almost fifty years of performing more than makes up for this. Indeed, this is a luminous performance. There are a few places where the voice doesn't do quite what she might have wanted: legato passages, as in 'Der Lindenbaum', can be a bit short-breathed, and some fast, dramatic passages, as in 'Erstarrung', are a little choppy. But the overall effect is one of great wisdom at the service of great art. Ludwig's is one of the great voices of the past century and her artistry is at the same level. She has always excelled in lieder; witness her prior recordings with Leonard Bernstein at the piano, or her earlier CD of 'Winterreise' accompanied by James Levine Schubert: Winterreise.
The DVD is rounded out by a masterclass she conducted with three young singers at Vienna's Volkstheater in 1999. Her gentle but instructive way with these young professionals is a lesson in how to conduct a public singing lesson. I was particularly impressed with mezzo Stella Grigorian. I'm a little surprised one hasn't heard of her in the ensuing ten years.
So, this is a DVD for lovers of Schubert, admirers of the legendary Christa Ludwig, and for those who wish to see a Ludwig masterclass. Recommended.
Total time: 116 mins; Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish; Sound: PCM stereo; Picture format: 16:9/4:3; Region: 0 (worldwide)