Fidelio with Claudio Abbado at the Lucerne Festival
Fidelio - Beethoven
Lucerne Festival, August 2010
Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Rachel Harnisch, Christof Fischesser, Falk Struckmann, Christoph Strehl, Peter Mattei
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Recording DECCA CD 'Beethoven FIDELIO' with Claudio Abbado
If there has been a better Marzelline on record than Rachel Harnisch, I have not heard her!
Mr. Abbado’s winning cast includes the rosy soprano Rachel Harnisch as Marzelline, Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan, the appealing lyric tenor Christoph Strehl as Jaquino and the veteran bass-baritone Falk Struckmann as an uncommonly cagey villain, Don Pizarro.
New York Times
Rachel Harnisch is charming as Marzelline, her lyric soprano contrasting nicely with Nina Stemme's fuller sound . . . Claudio Abbado conducts the forces of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in an energetic reading of the score . . .
Mike Silverman, Boston Globe
Already the first bars of this Fidelio "new recording make listen. The introductory chords of the overture are accentuated with energy, announcing the imminent drama. But then the solo horn, beautifully softly intoned, hints at the infinite power of love. What Claudio Abbado and the fabulous combination of Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Lucerne Festival Orchestra promise at the beginning of this recording, will be solved in the sequence. Technical precision, aural beauty and deeply felt musicianship combine to create such a satisfying unity that questions about the supposedly historically correct sound form or the philologically correct interpretation of tempo information must be silenced. Some passages - the magical beginning of the prisoner's choir (magnificently the Arnold Schoenberg Choir), the heavy chords in the introduction to the Florestan aria or the ecstatic, but in no way overly haunted final jubilation - one would no longer want to hear differently made music.
Fortunately, Abbado had not only an excellent orchestra for this half-staged performance, which was severely curtailed in the dialogues, but also a singers ensemble that, with one exception, performed at a high level. Nina Stemme has the warm soul tone in the middle layer, which is essential for Leonore, but also the necessary power for the dramatic dungeon scene. And she does not have to surrender even to the delicate high of the great aria. In Jonas Kaufmann, she is currently the world's best Florestan to the side. With almost uncanny ease he climbs the ascent to the "heavenly realm" ", but even more thrilled by the sheer unlimited palette of colors and shades with which he understands how to express the suffering of the prisoner.
In the role of Marzelline, Rachel Harnisch likes the bright soprano, but there are also enough colors available to make the young woman's conscience plausible.
The Opera Glass, A. Laski