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Herbert von Karajan & Berliner Philharmoniker & Harwood, Stratas, Kollo, Kelemen/ Lehár Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) This album represents the sublime essence and sophistication of Lehár recorded by Herbert von Karajan with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) at their prime. At long last, listeners can get to experience all the tracks of 泥ie Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) in the ultimate sound quality of Super Audio CD/CD hybridization technology.
Distributed exclusively by ESOTERIC COMPANY

Discontinued (August, 2011)

■ Product ID: ESSG-90039 / 40 [2 discs]
■ Format: SA-CD/CD Hybrid
■ Label: Deutsche Grammophon
■ DSD mastering / SA-CD layer: Stereo / CD layer: ADD
■ Deluxe Digipak packaging

典he Merry Widow studio recording made during the heydays of Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

The works of Herbert von Karajan (1908 to 1989) have been re-evaluated from various standpoints since 2008, which marked the 100th birth anniversary and the 10th death anniversary of the pioneering conductor who was dedicated to recording albums with a never changing, lifelong passion. Karajan left a large volume of recorded works spanning from SP recordings to digital recordings. In the course of a long recording history and career, Karajan reached one of his musical peaks in the1970s. During this period, Karajan痴 relationship with the BPO finally became so deep that they made very high-caliber recordings one after another. Like 鉄econd Viennese School (ESOTERIC ESSG-90017), which contains Schoenberg痴 天erklärte Nacht and other orchestral works, already re-mastered in hybrid Super Audio CD/CD format by ESOTERIC. For ESOTERIC痴 re-master process, this complete album of 典he Merry Widow originally released in 1973, is also a landmark masterpiece that demonstrates the musical heights of that era.

The first ever operetta recording made by Deutsche Grammophon

典he Merry Widow was recorded in studio sessions that took place purely for the purpose of recording. It was very rare for Karajan to make a recording of an opera independently of a live performance because live opera performances and recordings were invariably carried out in conjunction at that time (Karajan never conducted this opera on an actual stage). René Kollo and Elizabeth Harwood were appointed as the two leading characters of this operetta. René Kollo was becoming prominent as a Wagnerian tenor vocalist at that time and sang in the role of Walther for Karajan痴 1970 recording of 泥ie Meistersinger von Nmberg in Dresden prior to this recording. On the other hand, Elizabeth Harwood, the English soprano vocalist who was favored by Karajan, sang in the role of Musetta in the complete album of 釘a bohéme. Besides these two, other roles were assigned to Karajan痴 preferred vocalists including Teresa Stratas, Zoltan Kelemen (who sang in the role of Alberich in all tracks of Karajan痴 典he Ring of Nibelung), Werner Hollweg (tenor vocalist in Haydn痴 典he Seasons), Donald Grobe, and Werner Krenn. Together with these distinguished vocalists and the choir of Deutsche Opera Berlin, lead by the eminent choir director Walter Hagen-Groll, Karajan produced an operetta of ultimate sophisticated splendor. In a live operetta performance on stage, there is often more prominence put on the stage performance and audience reaction rather than the finer points of singing and orchestra parts. But, in this album, the singing and orchestra parts were recreated meticulously so that the opulence of the music composed by Franz Lehár, which could not be experienced so clearly prior to this studio recording by Karajan, was manifest for the first time to listeners. This album has been regarded highly since its release as a most creditable masterpiece both in name and real terms as the first operetta recording ever made by DG who had no prior experience with operettas since its founding.

Ultimate sound quality by Super Audio CD (SACD)/CD hybridization

All the tracks of 典he Merry Widow were recorded over seven days in sessions that took place at the Jesus Christ Church in Berlin from 1972 to 1973. This album was one of the last recordings made at this church by Karajan and the BPO since their recording venue was moved to Berliner Philharmonic (BPO痴 home concert hall) after March 1973. The Jesus Christ Church, located in the quiet suburb of Dahlem, served as broadcasting and recording venue after World War II because of its superb acoustics. DG produced many masterpieces at this church following the recordings made by conductors Wilhelm Furtw舅gler and Ferenc Fricsay. DG痴 distinguished tone meister Gunter Hermans, who had an in-depth knowledge of this church痴 acoustics, was in charge of recording 典he Merry Widow. The famous opera director August Everding, who was an attendant at Hamburg State Opera at that time, was in charge of directing the dialogs of the performers. This masterpiece album was released on CD from the earliest days of digital recordings. This time, however, ESOTERIC has issued a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) re-mastering from high sound quality master, allowing the listeners to appreciate the sophisticated world of Leh疵 via a crystal clear and yet fresh sound for the first time.
Franz Lehár (1870-1948)
Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan
Zolt疣 Kelemen
Teresa Stratas
Ren Kollo
Elizabeth Harwood
Werner Hollweg
Donald Grobe
Werner Krenn
Karl Renar

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Einstudierung: Walter Hagen-Groll
Dialog-Regie: August Everding
Executive Producer: Hans Hirsch
Recording Producer: Hans Weber
Balance Engineer: Günter Hermanns
Location: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin
Recording Date: Feb., Nov & Dec 1972
Producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (ESOTERIC COMPANY)
Mastering Engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center)

Herbert von Karajan

Herbert von Karajan