ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Mozart at the Royal Swedish Opera 1952-1967: extracts from Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro
PERFORMER: Elisabeth Söderström, Sigurd Björling, Birgit Nilsson, etc
CATALOGUE NO: CAP 22059
This is the sixth volume from the Caprice label of unpublished recording extracts from the Royal Swedish Opera archives. Since these performances date from 1952 onwards, they come after the modernisation of the Swedish style of performing Mozart, effected by Bruno Walter and Fritz Busch in the 1930s and 1940s.
There are glimpses of some great stars in their prime here, such as the single arias by Birgit Nilsson as Donna Anna (1952) and Elisabeth Söderström as Donna Elvira (1961). Others such as Hjördis Schymberg (Queen of the Night, 1956) are captured about 10 years too late. Notable among the men are Sigurd Björling (Don Giovanni, 1952) and the slightly heavy-voiced Jan Sarring as Figaro (1959). What these discs document well is the varied Mozartian career of Eva Prytz (b. 1917) with extracts from her Zerlina (1952), Pamina (1956), and Donna Anna (1961). Being live performances, there are some passing mini disasters (the opening of the Figaro finale in 1967) and the original recording quality is not always great, but they form part of a tradition which, one day, we’ll be glad to have preserved. Misha Donat