Notes & Reviews:
Set in mythical, medieval Germany, in a Wagnerian world of legends and folklore, Schumann’s only operatic composition is a refined take on the ancient German folktale Genoveva. Taking inspiration from the many authors and playwrights who had portrayed the story throughout the years, including Christoph von Schmid and Friedrich Hebbel, Schumann set out to write a sophisticated recounting of the innocent Genoveva, her husband Siegfried’s wrongful mistrust of her and the cunning Golo who falsely accuses her of adultery. Bouts of self-doubt led Schumann to labour on his project for six years, with another two before the opera was premiered in 1850, to limited success at first. Despite its mixed reception, the opera has been recognised since as containing some of Schumann’s finest orchestral writing, a precursor to Wagner not just in the mythical elements of the plot but also in the deeply textured harmonies and flowing vocal lines. Adding to its extensive collection of some of the finest available opera recordings, Brilliant Classics is pleased to present this version from 1976, the first recording of this opera ever made and featuring a stellar cast. Soprano Edda Moser takes the title role, with acclaimed baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau playing her suspicious husband and Peter Schreier completing the love triangle as the evil Golo. Genoveva still suffers in comparison to the rest of Schumann’s oeuvre, but thanks to some fine orchestral playing and the "peerless" Fischer-Dieskau (MusicWeb International), this recording can only serve to increase appreciation for Schumann’s only dramatic work.
BBC Music Magazine, August 2015
Masur's strongly cast 1976 recording remains the finest.
Recording information: Studio Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, Germany (10/1976).
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Works DetailsSchumann, Robert : Genoveva, Op. 81
- Conductor: Kurt Masur
- Ensemble: Rundfunkchor Berlin
- Running Time: 115 min. 32 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1847-1849