RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR
RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Opera Award Winner 2022
WINNER Korngold’s Die tote Stadt
In the 125th anniverary year of his birth, a magnificently cast, imaginatively directed and superbly conducted performance of Korngold’s youthful opera
The Bavarian State Opera, one of Europe’s oldest musical institutions, has launched its own label at a time when the survival of physical formats is no longer a given. Remarkably, its first three releases have all been shortlisted for Gramophone Awards and at this rate readers may wish to acquire the lot. Stylish platinum lettering glints alluringly even before the discs reach the player. Die tote Stadt is a vision in Prussian blue – and that’s just the packaging. Then again, if we already have a perfectly decent ‘classic’ recording of this opera, supervised by Korngold authority Charles Gerhardt and conducted by Erich Leinsdorf (RCA,
1/76), do we really need another? Perhaps you’ll have been persuaded to dismiss the work, unseen and unheard, as a farrago of sub-par Richard Strauss, kinky obsessional sex and spiritualist hanky-panky.
Not the least of the miracles of Simon Stone’s much-lauded modern-dress production is the way it injects depth and plausibility into a narrative not unlike Hitchcock’s Vertigo but contingent on the ‘it-was-all-a-dream’ conceit associated with Dallas series 9. Marginalizing the dark streets of the ‘dead city’ in favour of a mutable well-lit apartment on a revolving stage, the Australian director and his team somehow avoid the alienating effect of
34 GRAMOPHONE GRAMOPHONE RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2022
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