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Korngold: Die Kathrin / Brabbins, BBC Concert Orchestra

Album Summary

>Korngold, Erich Wolfgang : Die Kathrin, opera, Op. 28
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

"It has taken 62 years for the first complete recording of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's unlucky final opera, 'Die Kathrin,' to reach us. Not only is this the first-ever recording, this "live" in-studio effort represents only the third time a performance has ever been mounted of the opera...Kudos to cpo for resurrecting this marvelous work from the void. The highest recommendation, and an easy sure bet for my 1999 Want List." -Johnson, Fanfare

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is the first modern performance and recording of Korngold's last stage work. Die Kathrin is separated by 10 years from its predecessor, DasWunder der Heliane. Between Heliane and DieKathrin, Korngold's career had changed. From being the wunderkind of the 1910s, he had developed into the film composer and arranger of large-scale operettas. If Heliane is the most grandiose of his operas, Die Kathrin is the most unpretentious; Korngold had thought of labelling it a folk-opera. The story is simple. The hero, François, is a singer who has been conscripted into the army. He falls in love with Kathrin, leaving her pregnant. She loses her job, follows him to Marseilles, where in a vaguely Tosca-like plot-twist François is implicated in the murder of the villain, who has actually been shot by one of the cabaret girls. Five years pass, François returns to find Kathrin and his child. The opera ends with a rapturous love duet. The music is full of typically lush Korngold scoring. In the night-club scene, obligatory in any 1930s opera, there are two catchy numbers, and Korngold brings in such fashionably jazzy instruments as a trio of saxophones and a banjo. The cast is exceptionally strong. Diener has just the right weight of voice for Kathrin, and Rendall makes François into a very positive hero.

Brabbins brings out the essentially Puccinian side of the score; in its structure the opera resembles La rondine more than a little: verismo didn't die with Turandot. Devotees of Korngold's music won't need any encouragement. Those with a taste for tuneful, Romantic opera, sometimes bordering on operetta, should give it a chance.


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Works Details

>Korngold, Erich Wolfgang : Die Kathrin, opera, Op. 28
  • Performers: Melanie Diener (Soprano); Robert Hayward (Bass); Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano); David Rendall (Tenor); Lillian Watson (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Mary Brabbins
  • Notes: Composition written: 1932-37.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1932-1937