Strauss: Daphne

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Ever since Renée Fleming featured the gorgeous finale from Strauss' Daphne as one of the opera scenes on her 1997 Signatures album, hopes have been high that she might make a complete recording of this underrated "bucolic tragedy." Well, it's arrived at last, and not only does it fill a major gap in the Strauss discography -- the only other modern studio recording, starring the radiant Lucia Popp, is sadly out of print -- but it does so with immense style and eloquence, revealing Daphne as the most consistently lovely of Strauss' late operas. Portraying this "sex-shy nature-lover" to quote one Strauss scholar's unforgettably apt description, Fleming gives one of the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Ever since Renée Fleming featured the gorgeous finale from Strauss' Daphne as one of the opera scenes on her 1997 Signatures album, hopes have been high that she might make a complete recording of this underrated "bucolic tragedy." Well, it's arrived at last, and not only does it fill a major gap in the Strauss discography -- the only other modern studio recording, starring the radiant Lucia Popp, is sadly out of print -- but it does so with immense style and eloquence, revealing Daphne as the most consistently lovely of Strauss' late operas. Portraying this "sex-shy nature-lover" to quote one Strauss scholar's unforgettably apt description, Fleming gives one of the most lustrous performances of her career. Some critics have lamented that the soprano hasn't been given the chance to record a complete Rosenkavalier, but frankly, having her Daphne on disc is more valuable still: If anyone can bring this hauntingly lyrical gem into the mainstream repertoire at last, it's Fleming. From her long opening soliloquy, "O bleib, geliebter Tag," to the unforgettable "Transformation Scene" at the close, she soars through the difficult but glorious vocal writing of this role, one of Strauss' supreme love letters to the soprano voice. Like his early masterpieces Salome and Elektra this is a compact opera, a single act lasting 100 minutes; the concision adds to its impact, and Decca has wisely placed the final half hour alone on the second disc in this package, making it easy to revisit the score's most rapturous pages. Fleming's accomplishment aside, this is no one-woman show, and the other singers -- including Michael Schade and Johan Botha as Daphne's two suitors one a shepherd, the other a god and Anna Larsson in the rich contralto role of Daphne's, mother Gaea a close vocal relation of Wagner's Erda -- all contribute to the recording's total success. A feather in Fleming's cap and one of the finest opera recordings of 2005, this is indeed the Daphne we've been waiting for.
Gramophone - Alan Blyth
The most spacious yet immediate recording the work has yet enjoyed. In some ways the title role might have been written for Renée Fleming's succulent, expansive voice and she fills Strauss's taxing yet rewarding line with the glowing warmth it calls for, while at the same time paying more attention than has sometimes been the case to fashioning the text.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Sarah Bryan Miller
[Grade: A] Fleming is the leading Straussian of our time, and to have her Daphne, recorded in her prime, is a treasure indeed. Her luscious voice spins Strauss' line effortlessly.
Classic FM Magazine - Warwick Thompson
Fleming has never sounded more luscious or seductive than she does here in the title role, and colours every one of her phrases with a freedom that is inventive but never mannered.... Ecstatic, exciting and exhilarating.
Fanfare - Richard Kaplan
If you’re a Fleming fan, or need every note of Daphne, or want the most beautiful voices, or you want the up-to-date studio sonics, go with Decca. If you want a piece of history, some of the most memorable characterizations, or a true Strauss voice in the title role, get the DG [version of the opera]. I’m keeping both.

[Grade: A] Fleming is the leading Straussian of our time, and to have her Daphne, recorded in her prime, is a treasure indeed. Her luscious voice spins Strauss' line effortlessly.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/13/2005
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947569268
  • Catalog Number: 000518202
  • Sales rank: 159,905

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Renée Fleming Primary Artist, Vocals
Michael Schade Vocals
Semyon Bychkov Conductor
Carsten Wittmoser Vocals
Cosmin Ifrim Vocals
Julia Kleiter Vocals
Anna Larsson Vocals
WDR Rundfunkchor Köln Damenchor Choir, Chorus
Kwangchul Youn Vocals
Johan Botha Vocals
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln Performing Ensemble
Twyla Robinson Vocals
Gregory Reinhart Vocals
Eike Wilm Schulte Vocals
Technical Credits
Michael Haas Producer
Mark Millington Art Direction
Christoph Gronarz Engineer
Maria Pelikan Libretto Translation
Andrew Eccles Cover Photo
Evans Mirageas Executive Producer
Hans-Martin Höpner Executive Producer
Joseph Gregor Librettist
Brian Kellow Liner Notes
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Good Library Version

    If you don't know this opera, you should. While the somewhat silly plot (daughter of river-god faces Appollonian/Dionysian dilemma and turns into laurel tree) limits its attractiveness as theater, the last ten minutes are so excruciatingly gorgeous that you shouldn't miss out. The two-CD set is even divided so that you can play the final scene by itself. Fleming sings beautifully, although her diction is often a problem. Anna Larsson and Johan Botha handle the difficult tessituras of their roles well--high in his case (as in Fleming's), and low in hers (the role of Daphne's mother, Gaea). But, aside from the title role, this is a conductor's opera. Bychkov avoids the coolness that Haitink brought to his refined EMI set (now OP) but doesn't quite bring the glowing intensity that Karl Bohm brought to the score in his 1964 recording. Nevertheless, it's a very successful reading. I also miss James King's tenor from 1964. And, I'd like to hear the Vienna or Berlin Phil in this score, but I guess we'll have to wait for another day for that. By the way, Santa Fe staged it, unforgettably, some years ago. NYCO has done it recently, but I missed out. But you can enjoy this in your living room!

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