Search - Classic Archive: Elizabeth Schwarzkopf on DVD

Classic Archive: Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
Classic Archive Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 47min


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Movie Details

Creator: Various
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Euroarts
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1971
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German, French, English

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Movie Reviews

Classic Schwarzkopf Recital Footage
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD contains footage from a number of different sources: two BBC-TV recitals accompanied by Gerald Moore, two brief TV broadcast concerts accompanied by the French Radio and TV orchestra under Berislav Klobucar, and a group of Menotti songs accompanied by Geoffrey Parsons recorded in Brussels and broadcast over BBC-TV. All the footage dates from 1961 - 1970. All is in mono sound, generally fairly well reproduced, and all but the second BBC-TV recital are in black-and-white. The French and Belgian B&W clips are a little fuzzy, but the BBC footage is visually quite acceptable. There are spoken introductions for the BBC-TV recitals, either by Schwarzkopf or by Moore, in English, as well as a brief introduction in French for the orchestra-accompanied 'Morgen'. There are some duplications of repertoire. For instance, there is a piano-accompanied Strauss 'Morgen' but also one accompanied by orchestra - both excellent. The same is true for a couple of Mozart songs and Schubert's 'Seligkeit'.

Songs are by Mozart, Gluck ('Einem Bach der fliesst'), Schubert (e.g., 'Seligkeit', 'An Sylvia'), Wolf, Schumann ('Der Nussbaum'), Brahms (e.g., 'Vergebliches Ständchen'), Mahler ('Lob des Hohen Verstands'), R. Strauss, Menotti and the ever-present Anon ('Drink to me only with thine eyes'). One real highlight is the complete Willow Song and Ave Maria from Verdi's 'Otello', sung movingly by la Schwarzkopf.

Throughout Schwarzkopf is in good voice and her vaunted acting with the voice is very much in evidence. Particularly moving, in that regard, are both 'Morgen' versions, as well as Wolf's 'Das verlassene Mägdlein' and Schubert's 'An die Musik.' There is some dated and somewhat intrusive cutesiness in the staging, particularly of the color BBC-TV broadcast -- (Why is that cello propped up against a table on the stage?) -- but one soon is caught up by the singing (and Moore's playing) and forgets about it.

There are other Schwarzkopf DVDs -- not to speak of opera recordings -- but these recitals were not long ago found in the BBC vaults and those of French TV and they deserve to be seen, particularly by those, like me, who have long been enamored of this great soprano.

Running time: 105mins; Format: NTSC 4:3; Sound: mono; Subtitles: English, French, German; Region: 0 (worldwide).

Scott Morrison

A Great Singer
David D. Dollinger | Pasadena, CA | 11/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For reasons that will always mystify me, Schwarzkopf (in this country, at least) has been a controversial figure. Although those who do not regard her highly are quick to point out that it is the singing that turns them off. In actuality I feel it is the political aspects of her career that Americans are simply unable to come to terms with.

To be up front I adored her from the very first disc I ever heard, O mio babbino caro on a 10" British Columbia. She never sang the role of course,and the tempos are very slow. She sings exquisitely. From that point on she became my diva of choice--in her repertoire. She sang many recitals in the southern California area and appeared with the SF opera company in her best roles: Elvira, Contessa (Figaro and Capriccio) the Marschallin and Mistress Ford and Fiordiligi. I was fortunate to see/hear them all.

Portions of the DVD are devoted to BBC studio tapes. First in black and white, the later are in color. The setting is hardly natural for such a strong personality. Even so I am thrilled to have them. The central portion is devoted to a concert given at the Salle Pleyal. Mozart and Strauss songs are featured, but in the center is performance of Desdemona's Willow Song and the Ave Maria. They are exquisite; technically they are beyond criticism. Vocally every nuance is mined and the ultimate effect overwhelming. Of course this is not an Italian Desdemona; how could it be? But it is Desdemona.

The only section that I will probably not play again is of two of Menotti's songs. They are utterly redundant musically; I wonder why she wanted to sing them. What should have been included is a performance of the Four Last Songs; surely a video clip must exist that is presentable; and even if it isn't I would be more than willing to have it as a momento."
Charles Scribner | New York, NY | 12/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I just received this treasure--for that is what it is, discovered in the studio vaults--an early Christmas surprise from a longtime friend and fan of Dame Elisabeth. And what a gift! Just to see and hear her 'Ave Maria' from Otello is grace enough. The 1970 BBC evening of lieder was colorfully and cleverly staged as if we might enter a Vermeer painting to hear a voice paint such a masterpiece in sound. Danke!"