Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier
Teatro Colón Performance, Buenos Aires, 20 September 1936
Featuring Alexander Kipnis

53005-2 (3 CDs)  | $ 54.00


Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier
Listening to a recording of a remarkable live performance can transport the listener to a seat in a theater and make him believe he was in attendance. If you could choose a performance of Der Rosenkavalier, attending a performance at the Colón, in the thirties, with Alexander Kipnis, Tiana Lemnitz, Germaine Hoerner, Fritz Krenn, and Editha Fleischer would not be a bad fantasy. Hear Fritz Busch conduct this outstanding cast perform Rosenkavalier.
CD 1 (58:29)


ACT I (58:29)
1. Einleitung/Introduction 3:19
2. Wie du warst! Wie du bist! 1:37
  (Octavian, Marschallin)  
3. Du bist mein Bub’, du bist mein Schatz! 5:14
  (Marschallin, Octavian)  
4. Der Feldmarschall sitzt im krowatischen Wald 4:00
  (Octavian, Marschallin)  
5. Quinquin, es ist ein Besuch 1:49
  (Marschallin, major-domo, Baron,Octavian)  
6. Selbstverständlich empfängt mich Ihro Gnaden 5:56
  (Baron, footman, Marschallin, major-domo)  
7. Hat Sie schon einmal 5:45
  (Baron, Octavian, Marschallin)  
8. I komm’ glei…Drei arme adelige Waisen 2:48
  (Octavian, three orphans, dressmaker, animal-handler, Marschallin, Valzacchi)  
9. Di rigori armato il seno 1:50
  (Italian singer)  
10. Als Morgengabe… 2:46
  (Baron, Attorney, Italian singer)  
11. Mein Lieber Hippolyte 3:20
  (Marschallin, Valzacchi, Baron, Annina)  
12. Da geht er hin, der aufgeblasene schlechte Kerl 5:08
13. Ach, du bist wieder da! 3:58
  (Marschallin, Octavian)  
14. Mein schöner Schatz 4:10
  (Octavian, Marschallin)  
15. Ich werd’ jetzt in die Kirchen 6:41
  (Marschallin, Octavian, footman)  
CD 2 (50:07)


ACT II (50:07)
1. Einleitung/Introduction :41
2. Ein ernster Tag, ein grosser Tag 1:13
  (Faninal, Marianne, major-domo)  
3. In dieser feierlichen Stunde der Prüfung 2:55
  (Sophie, Marianne, three servants)  
4. Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren 6:56
  (Octavian, Sophie)  
5. Ich kenn’ Ihn schon recht wohl 3:33
  (Sophie, Octavian)  
6. Jetzt aber kommt mein Herr Zukünftiger 2:04
  (Sophie, Faninal, Baron, Octavian, Marianne)  
7. Brav, Faninal, er weiss, was sich gehört 2:38
  (Baron, Octavian, Sophie, Faninal, Marianne)  
8. Wird kommen über Nacht 2:03
  (Baron, Octavian, Marianne, Faninal)  
9. Hab’ nichts dawider 3:12
  (Baron, Octavian, Sophie, Faninal’s major-domo, Marianne)  
10. Was Sie ist…Mit Ihren Augen voll Tränen 2:32
  (Octavian, Sophie)  
11. Herr Baron von Lerchenau! 5:49
  (Valzacchi, Annina, Baron, Sophie, Octavian, Baron’s attendants, Faninal’s attendants, Marianne, Faninal)  
12. Er muss mich pardonieren 6:12
  (Octavian, Faninal, Sophie, Marianne, Baron)  
13. Da lieg’ ich! 5:13
  (Baron, Baron’s attendants, Annina)  
14. Da…Herr Cavalier! 5:00
  (Baron, Annina)  
CD 3 (78:08)


ACT III (51:35)
1. Einleitung und Pantomime/Introduction & Pantomime 6:58
2. Hab’n Euer Gnaden noch weitre Befehle? 1:55
  (The innkeeper, waiter, Baron)  
3. Nein, nein, nein, nein! I trink’ kein Wein 6:28
  (Octavian, Baron)  
4. Wie die Stund’ hingeht 3:39
  (Octavian, Baron, Annina, the innkeeper, four children, waiter, Valzacchi)  
5. Oh weh, was maken wir?…Halt! Keiner rührt sich! 5:37
  (Valzacchi, the police commissioner, Octavian, Baron, the innkeeper, Faninal, four children, on-lookers)  
6. Muss jetzt partout zu ihr!…Ihre hochfürstliche Gnaden 8:22
  (Baron, the innkeeper, Octavian, the police commissioner, Marschallin, Sophie)  
7. Ist halt vorbei 2:25
  (Marschallin, Sophie, Baron, Annina, a child, waiters, the innkeeper, Valzacchi, music performers, coachmen, porter)  
8. Mein Gott, es war nicht mehr als eine Farce 2:18
  (Sophie, Octavian, Marschallin)  
9. Heut oder morgen oder den übernächsten Tag 2:40
  (Marschallin, Octavian, Sophie)  
10. Marie Theres’!…Hab’mir’s gelobt 5:15
  (Octavian, Marschallin, Sophie)  
11. Ist ein Traum, kann nicht wirklich sein 5:58
  (Sophie, Octavian, Faninal, Marschallin)  
Commercial recordings of selections from Der Rosenkavalier
12. Di rigori armato il seno 3:02
  with Charles Kullman, tenor; Fritz Zweig, conductor  
  September 1932; Columbia (WR 427) DW 3051  
13. Kann mich auch an ein Mädel erinnern 4:19
  with Barbara Kemp, soprano; Leo Blech, conductor  
  10 June 1927; HMV (CDR 4682) EJ146  
14. Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding 4:45
  with Barbara Kemp, soprano; Leo Blech, conductor  
  10 June 1927; HMV (CDR 4683) EJ 146  
15. Herr Kavalier 4:43
  with Alexander Kipnis, bass; Else Ruziczka, mezzo-soprano; Erich Orthmann, conductor  
  13 April 1931; HMV (2D 312) DB 1543  
16. Marie Theres’!...Hab’mir’s gelobt 4:53
  with Viorica Ursuleac, soprano; Erna Berger, soprano; Tiana Lemnitz, soprano; Clemens Krauss, conductor  
  July 1936; DGG (594 _ GS) 67075  
17. Ist ein Traum, kann nicht wirklich sein 4:44
  with Erna Berger, soprano; Tiana Lemnitz, soprano; Clemens Krauss, conductor  
  April 1936; DGG (606 _ GS) 67075  


Producer: Igor Kipnis

Audio Conservation: Ward Marston

Audio assistance: J. Richard Harris

Photographs: Roger Gross, Igor Kipnis, and Charles Mintzer

Booklet Design: Takeshi Takahashi


Marston would like to thank Rudi Van den Bulck, Vincent Giroud, John Humbley, Andrew Karzas, and Fabian Piscitelli for their help in the production of this CD 000000set.


Marston would also like to thank César Arturo Dillon whose research, photographs, biographical information, and chronologies were invaluable to the production of this CD set.


This CD set is dedicated to the memory of Igor Kipnis.

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Der Rosenkavalier

20 September 1936 • Teatro Colón Performance, Buenos Aires Featuring Alexander Kipnis

Opera in three acts
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal


Soprano Princess von Werdenberg (Die Feldmarschallin)Germaine Hoerner
Bass Baron Ochs von LerchenauAlexander Kipnis
Soprano Octavian, Count RofranoTiana Lemnitz
Baritone Herr von Faninal, a wealthy bourgeoisFritz Krenn
Soprano Sophie, his daughterEditha Fleischer
Soprano Marianne, her governessLucy Ritter
Tenor Valzacchi, an Italian intriguerHanns Fleischer
Mezzo-soprano Annina, his partnerIrra Petina
Bass A police commissioner; an attorneyVittorio Bacciato
Tenor The major-domo to the FeldmarschallinHumberto Antonelli
Tenor The major-domo to FaninalLuis Santoro
Tenor Italian singerJ. Cavara (Arturs Priednieks-Kavara)
Tenor An innkeeperUnknown
Soprano A dressmakerNelly Rubens
Tenor An animal-handlerAntonio di Siervi
Sopranos, Mezzo-soprano Three noble orphansYolanda di Sabato, Maria Malberti, Emma Brizzio
Fritz Busch, conductor
Teatro Colón Orchestra and Chorus, Buenos Aires Rafael Terragnolo, chorus master
Carl Ebert, production
Hans Busch, staging
Camillo Parravicini, sets


Act I:

The opera takes place in Vienna during the 1700s. It is early morning in the palace of Prince von Werdenberg, the Field Marshal. The young Count Rofrano (Octavian) is embracing his older and married lover, Princess von Werdenberg, the Marschallin, in her bedchamber. The Marschallin’s husband is away hunting. The tender scene is interrupted by loud noises coming from the Marschallin’s antechamber. Fearing the return of the Field Marshal, Octavian hides. The commotion is caused by the unexpected visit of the Marschallin’s country cousin Baron Ochs von Lerchenau, who bursts into the boudoir. The purpose of the Baron’s visit is not immediately apparent because his attention is diverted by the presence of the comely chambermaid Mariandel, who is actually Octavian in disguise. After several improper remarks directed toward Mariandel, Baron Ochs comes to the point of his visit: he requests the Marschallin to supply a family ambassador to present the customary silver rose to his fiancée, Sophie, the daughter of nouveau riche Herr von Faninal. In addition, Ochs requests the advice of an attorney to settle the marriage contract. Ochs more assiduously pursues Mariandel by shamelessly singing of love. As time passes, the bedroom fills with attendants, including an attorney, an Italian singer, three orphans, and two disreputable foreigners, Annina and Valzacchi. Ochs, in turn, argues with the attorney concerning matters of a dowry and interrupts the climax of the second verse of the Italian singer’s song. Mariandel/Octavian leaves during this mayhem; Baron Ochs conspires with Annina and Valzacchi to spy on Sophie and arrange a meeting with Mariandel; and soon the bedchamber is cleared by all but the Marschallin. Her solitude provides the opportunity for the Marschallin to sing of youth long lost, and she expresses fear of being left for someone younger to Octavian who has now returned without his disguise. Octavian is unable to console the Marschallin and he leaves her without an affectionate farewell. Regretting this parting, she tries unsuccessfully to bring Octavian back. Instead, she sends her young page Mohammed to deliver to Octavian a silver rose presumably for the purpose of delivering it to Sophie.

Act II:

The act begins in the salon of Herr von Faninal. Faninal is pleased with his daughter’s betrothal to established nobility and conveniently ignores Och’s obvious motive of marrying for money. Sophie, and her governess Marianne, prepare to receive a cavalier, who will deliver the silver rose. According to custom, as explained by Faninal’s major-domo, Herr von Faninal must be absent from the house when the silver rose is presented. Marianne and Sophie excitedly watch as Octavian’s coach approaches and are further delighted by neighbors’ notice of a royal procession to the Faninal household. Octavian presents Sophie the rose, yet Sophie is more interested in Octavian and Octavian is equally interested in Sophie. As their conversation takes a more intimate turn, Baron Ochs, his entourage, and Herr von Faninal enter. Ochs’s crude, boorish, and condescending manner repulses Sophie and angers Octavian. The tension is broken when the attorney calls Ochs to another room to draw up the marriage contracts between himself and Faninal. With Ochs away, Octavian and Sophie vow that her marriage to Baron Ochs will not take place, and embrace. At this instant, Ochs’s spies Valzacchi and Annina spring from hiding, and call for the Baron. The Baron returns, yet instead of seeing a contrite Octavian and Sophie, he receives countless taunts from Octavian for his unseemly behavior toward Sophie. Ochs reluctantly draws his sword against Octavian, as etiquette would demand for his inflammatory remarks, and Octavian, in response, ever so slightly wounds Ochs with his sword. This yields an overly dramatic response from the Baron resulting in great commotion from servants, a physician, and Herr von Faninal. Sophie announces her refusal to marry Baron Ochs and her father responds with promises to send Sophie to a convent. Octavian vows to win Sophie’s hand, and recruits the mercenary Valzacchi and Annina to help. After the room has emptied except for Ochs, who is nursing his wounds with drink, Annina hands the Baron a note from the Marschallin’s fictitious chambermaid with an offer to rendezvous. Baron Ochs is pleased with this good fortune yet refuses to pay Annina for delivering the note…a slight not to be forgotten.

Act III:

The scene opens in a strange room in the unsavory, Viennese inn named in Mariandel’s letter. Octavian, dressed as Mariandel, Annina disguised as a woman dressed in mourning, and Valzacchi, test the various trap doors, blind windows, secret panels, and other effects designed to terrorize the Baron. At this point, both Octavian and Baron Ochs employ Valzacchi and Annina, yet their allegiance is clearly aligned to the more generous Octavian. The Baron arrives at the inn and Valzacchi leads the eager Ochs to the sabotaged room. Once alone, the Baron quickly tries to seduce Mariandel in his unskillful and crude manner but is interrupted by the prepared apparitions appearing from the various trap doors. Mariandel feigns ignorance to these strange happenings. The coup de grace is Annina, emerging from a blind window in widow’s garb, claiming to be Ochs’s wife. The commotion draws the attention of the innkeeper, several servants, and many children, who are calling Ochs “Papa.” The distraught Ochs calls the police without thought of the compromising situation. When the police commissioner arrives, Ochs, to preserve his reputation, claims Mariandel to be his fiancée, Sophie von Faninal. This is quickly brought into question when the real Sophie von Faninal, accompanied by her horrified father, enter the scene, presumably brought there by the scheming Annina and Valzacchi. To add insult to injury, Baron Ochs sticks to his original story and thereby pretends not to know the real Sophie and her father Herr von Faninal; Faninal is greatly angered.

In the height of the mayhem, the Marschallin appears. At about the same time, Mariandel disappears and her alter ego Octavian, returns. The Marschallin uncannily and correctly takes in the situation and restores order. She tells the police commissioner this whole matter is a practical joke and he leaves the inn; she directs Ochs, who has clearly tried the Marschallin’s patience, to leave as well; and in an act of graciousness, maturity, and sad resignation, she directs her former lover Octavian toward his true love, Sophie.


A Personal Recollection

By Hans Busch


On the evening of 7 March 1933, the Dresden State Opera was scheduled to give Rigoletto under the baton of my father, Fritz Busch, the company’s general music director. The house was sold out that night, any remaining tickets having been bought up not by Verdi enthusiasts but by members of Hitler’s S.A. As my father made his way to the podium, the Brownshirts in the audience began a chorus of boos so deafening as to prevent the performance from even starting. My father laid down his baton and left the auditorium before any S.A.-planned riot could begin.Long before the Holocaust, my father, with rare common sense, had seen, as it were, the swastika on the wall. For him the Nazis were nothing more than thugs, and outspoken as he always was, he made no secret of his contempt for the movement and its hateful ideology. So by January 1933, when Hitler came to power, Fritz Busch’s opposition to the Nazis was well known.

Following that ill-fated Rigoletto, my father resigned his position as music director at Dresden. Shortly thereafter he left Germany in protest, returning only in 1951, the year of his death.

The next time Fritz Busch raised his baton was at the famed Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. There, in summer, 1933, he made his long-awaited South American debut conducting a series of memorable Wagner performances in the Colón’s German temporada (season), held each winter (our summer). Buenos Aires hailed my father as the greatest Wagner conductor it had ever experienced. Pleased by the Colón’s superb orchestra, chorus, and soloists, Fritz Busch happily returned for the German temporadas of 1934, 1935, and 1936, alternating between Buenos Aires, the Glyndebourne Mozart Festivals, and the Danish State Radio Symphony. By the time war broke out, he considered Buenos Aires his home.The temporada of 1936 included revivals of productions of Parsifal and Der Rosenkavalier, both first seen in that debut season of 1933. Earlier I had had the opportunity to serve as assistant to the stage director of those productions, Carl Ebert; now, in 1936, I was to direct myself. Hard work and youthful enthusiasm compensated for whatever talent or experience I was lacking at that time. The distinguished cast, including Alexander Kipnis, Marjorie Lawrence, and my future brother-in-law Martial Singher, proved unfailingly helpful, kindly accepting my direction and lending all their moral support.Marjorie Lawrence in particular took a kindly interest in her twenty-two-year-old director. At one point during rehearsals, Miss Lawrence, as Kundry, asked whether in Act II she should kiss Parsifal a second time. She was totally unfazed by the reply I hastily blurted out, resorting to the multi-lingual jibberish favored by the Colón’s stagehands of Italian descent: “Ne kiss pas otra volta.” Many years later, when Miss Lawrence, now confined to a wheelchair, was in Bloomington to judge Metropolitan Opera auditions, she shared a good laugh with me as I quoted to her that rather bizarre direction of mine from 1936.

Bloomington, August, 1966


(Hans Busch was professor emeritus at the School of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, and was the author of several books on the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. He died in September, 1966.)


The Cast

Germaine Hoerner (Princess von Werdenberg, Die Feldmarschallin)

26 January 1906 Strasbourg (then part of the German empire); 19 May 1972 Strasbourg


Hoerner studied at a Strasbourg conservatory and completed her studies at the Paris Conservatoire. She made her debut at the Paris Opéra on 22 November 1929 as Rossweiss in La Valkyrie and sang Sieglinde the following year. She was the leading dramatic soprano in Paris until her retirement from the stage in 1955, her only real rival being the great Germaine Lubin. She was particularly associated with Wagner (Senta, Elisabeth, Gutrune, Elsa). Her repertoire was very broad, spanning classical 18th century opera, lyric roles, and near-coloratura parts. She was associated with some noted Paris revivals, such as La Juive, in which she sang Rachel to Paul Franz’s Eléazar in 1933 and Valentine to George Thill’s Raoul in Les Huguenots in 1936. She appeared with Arthur Endrèze in the stage premiere of Albéric Magnard’s Guercoeur in 1931 and appeared as Photine in the world premiere of Max d’Ollone’s La Samaritaine with André Pernet and José de Trevi. In addition to the Marschallin, her Strauss repertory included Chrysothemis, which she sang at the Paris premiere of Elektra in 1932, with Lubin in the title role. Her other 1936 Colón performances included Lohengrin, under Fritz Busch, and Castor et Pollux and Alceste under Hector Panizza. Also at the Colón, she appeared as the Empress in the American premiere of Die Frau ohne Schatten in 1949 under Erich Kleiber. In her retirement she taught singing in Strasbourg. Germaine Hoerner was reputed to have a large but flexible voice, brilliant in its upper register. No commercial recordings of Hoerner’s have ever surfaced, so we are indeed lucky to have two off the air performances from South America: Elisabeth and the Marschallin heard here.


Alexander Kipnis (Baron Ochs von Lerchenau)

13 February 1891 Zhitomir, Ukraine; 14 May 1978 Westport, Connecticut


Kipnis entered the Warsaw Conservatory at age 19. In 1912 he traveled to Berlin, where he began studying voice with Ernst Grenzebach, who was also the teacher of Lauritz Melchior, Max Lorenz, and Meta Seinemeyer. While in Berlin, Kipnis, a Russian, was interned. Freed in 1915, he made his stage debut in Hamburg, singing three Strauss songs as a “guest” in the second act party scene of Die Fledermaus. In 1922 Kipnis joined the Deutsches Opernhaus in Berlin; from 1923–1932 he was on the roster of the Chicago Civic Opera; in 1927 he sang in Parsifal under Karl Muck at the Bayreuth Festival; and in 1938 he settled permanently in the United States. By the time of his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1940 as Gurnemanz, he had sung at virtually every major opera house and festival, including the Colón, where he appeared in 1926, 1928, 1931, 1934–1936, and 1941. According to his son, the late keyboardist Igor Kipnis, Alexander Kipnis sang 108 roles from 1915–1951 and performed in opera and oratorio over 1600 times. Following his retirement from the Metropolitan in 1946 (his last concert appearances were in 1951), he began teaching, first at the New York College of Music and then in 1966 at the Juilliard School. Alexander Kipnis’s voice was large and beautiful, admired particularly in the Russian repertory, and his acting talent, versatility, and skill as a lieder singer are also well-known.


Tiana Lemnitz (Octavian)

26 October 1897 Metz (German territory after the Franco-Prussian war); 5 February 1994, Berlin, Germany


Lemnitz studied at Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main with Anton Kohmann. She made her operatic debut in Lortzing’s Undine in Heilbronn in 1920. From 1922 to 1928 she sang in Aachen (according to Hugo Wolf Society’s album, her operatic debut was there in 1922). Lemnitz subsequently pursued a distinguished career as a member of the Hannover Opera from 1928 to 1933. She was a regular guest at the Dresden State Opera (1933–1934) and an esteemed member of the Berlin State Opera from (1934–1935), where she appeared in the world premiere of Henze’s Der Prinz von Homburg in 1935. She also made guest appearances in Vienna, Munich, Rome, London’s Covent Garden (1936, 1938) and Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón as Octavian in this performance in 1936. The same season she performed in Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro (Countess), and Lohengrin (Elsa). Lemnitz returned to the Colón in 1950 as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Jenufa in Jenufa, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, all under the baton of Karl Böhm. Her repertoire included many leading roles in German, Italian, French, and Russian operas. She sang Pamina; Aida; Micaëla; Wagner’s Elsa, Eva, and Sieglinde; and Strauss’s Octavian as well as the Marschallin. One of her most admired performances was at the 1939 Salzburg Festival, where she sang Agathe in Weber’s Der Freischütz. Tiana Lemnitz was known for her exquisite singing, delicate tone, and subtlety of expression. She retired in 1957 and lived in Berlin until her death in 1994.


Fritz Krenn (Herr von Faninal)

11 December 1887 Vienna; 17 July 1963 Vienna


Krenn studied at the Wiener Musikakademie and made his stage debut in 1917. From the mid-1920s he sang at several of the Berlin opera houses and took part in the world premiere of Hindemith’s Neues vom Tage at the Kroll-Oper under Klemperer (1929). At the Teatro Colón he made his debut during the 1931 season as Jokanaan in Salome, and also took part in Die Fledermaus, Tristan und Isolde, Das Rheingold, and Götterdämmerung. Krenn appeared at the Salzburg Festival (1935, 1938, 1939) as Pizarro in Fidelio and Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, his most famous role, which he sang nearly 400 times. Krenn returned to the Colón for the 1936 season, singing in Lohengrin, Parsifal, Die Fledermaus, and Der Rosenkavalier. In 1939 at the San Francisco Opera, he sang in Fidelio with Kirsten Flagstad, Alexander Kipnis, and Marjorie Lawrence, and in Die Walküre with Flagstad, Lawrence, Kipnis, and Lauritz Melchior. At the Vienna Opera after the war he sang 39 performances as Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier. There he also sang Cavalleria rusticana, Fidelio (Pizarro, Don Fernando), Der Zigeunerbaron (Homonay, Zsupan), The Bartered Bride (Kezal), Die Meistersinger (Kothner), Don Giovanni (Leporello), Der Freischütz (Ottokar), Arabella (Waldner), and many other roles. During these years he became a member of the Volksoper, singing several hundred operetta performances. He also sang at the Bayreuth Festival, La Scala, and Covent Garden. Krenn made a late debut (he was 63 years old) at the Metropolitan in New York during the 1950 season, singing seven performances as Baron Ochs, and lived out his last years in Vienna with his wife Luise Kornfeld.


Editha Fleischer (Sophie)

5 April 1895 Falkenstein (Oberpfalz); unknown


Fleischer studied with Lilli Lehmann and made her debut in 1918 in Berlin. She sang Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival in 1922. She toured North America between 1922–1924 with the German Opera Company and then remained in the United States to join the William Wade Hinshaw Opera Company. In 1926 she joined the Metropolitan Opera in the role of First Lady in Die Zauberflöte and sang 400 performances with the Metropolitan Opera from 1926–1936. She took part in the first complete Metropolitan broadcast of Hansel und Gretel as Hansel, with Queena Mario as Gretel. At the Teatro Colón she sang in five seasons, 1933/1937: 1933, Die Meistersinger (Eva), Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie), and Fidelio (Marcellina); 1934, Falstaff (Alice), La fiamma (Monica), Cosí fan tutte (Despina), Arabella (Zdenka), and The Bartered Bride (Marenka); 1935, Falstaff (Alice), Schwanda (Dorota), and Don Giovanni (Zerlina); 1936, Werther (Sophie), Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna), and Die Fledermaus (Adele); 1937, Falstaff (Alice), and Fidelio (Marcellina). Fleischer was married to conductor Erich Engel, who was Busch and Kleiber’s assistant at the Colón for nearly 15 years and she was the sister of Hanns Fleischer who also sang in 1936 Rosenkavalier performance. During the 1940s she taught singing at the Colón and later taught at the Conservatory of the city of Vienna. Editha Fleischer was a highly regarded concert soprano.


Hanns Fleischer (Valzacchi)

8 November 1890 Falkenstein (Oberpfalz); 28 April 1964 Leipzig


Fleischer specialized in buffo or character roles, such as Pedrillo, Monostatos, and Mime, which he first sang in the German provinces. He was hired by the Leipzig Opera beginning with the 1924–1925 season, and took part in the premiere of D’Albert’s Die schwarze Orchidee there in 1928 and that of Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny in 1930. Between 1933 and 1936 he appeared at Covent Garden, where his interpretation of Mime was particularly well received and performed in Antwerp and Amsterdam. He sang at the Colón during 1934–1936 as Wenzel (The Bartered Bride), Elemer (Arabella), Heinrich (Tannhäuser), Mime (Das Rheingold), Mime (Siegfried), Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro), and Alfred (Der Fledermaus).


Irra Petina (Annina)

1907 St. Petersburg;


Her father, General Stepan Petina, was personal adjutant to the last Russian Czar. After the 1917 Revolution she and her family fled to China. There she first appeared on the stage in a small part in Eugene Onegin. In 1930 she came to the United States and began her vocal training at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. After some appearances in concert, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera (1934); her first role was that of Desire Annable in the world premiere of Hanson’s Merry Mount. She remained at the Met until 1950 in 345 performances at the house and 99 performances on tour! She was highly regarded as Martha in Khovanshchina in 1950. Her other roles at the 1936 Colón season were Maddalena (Rigoletto), Nicklausse (Les contes d’Hoffman), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) and Mary (Der fliegende Höllander). She also appeared in the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide on Broadway. She made guest appearances in Los Angeles and San Francisco and after 1950 was outstandingly successful in operetta, notably Song of Norway, based on the life of Grieg. She was also esteemed as an interpreter of Russian songs.


J. Cavara aka Arturs Priednieks-Kavara (Italian singer)

29 June 1901 Liepaja (Latvia); 9 April 1979, Florida, USA


Priednieks-Kavara studied with Buttner in Berlin and continued his studies in Vienna. He changed his name to “Cavara” in honor of his favorite role, Cavaradossi. In the printed program of the 1936 Colón Der Rosenkavalier he appears as J. Cavara though he usually sang under the name of Artur Cavara. At the Kroll Oper he sang the principal tenor roles in Contes d’Hoffmann, L’heure Espagnole, Ibert’s Angélique, The Bartered Bride, Krenek’s Leben des Orest, Auber’s La muette de Portici, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Rigoletto, Janácek’s From the house of the dead, and the world premiere of Hindemith’s Neues vom Tage with Stückgold, Krenn, Wirl, Kalter, and Ernster under Otto Klemperer. He also sang at the Charlottenburg Opera in Salome (Narraboth) with Maria Nemeth and Hans Reinmar; Undine (Hugo von Ringstetten) with Gerhard Hüsch; and in Oberst Chabert an opera by Hermann Waltershausen (Graf Ferraud) with Hans Reinmar and Gerhard Hüsch. He also sang in the world premiere of Zemlinsky’s Der Kreidekreis in Zurich, 1933. After WWII he traveled to the United States, where he later became a vocal teacher.


The Conductor

Fritz Busch

13 March 1890 Siegen, Westphalia; 14 September 1951 London


German musical life was influenced by many outstanding conductors during the first half of the 20th century. Fritz Busch was one of the greatest among them. The son of a unique man—a carpenter, violin-maker, musical instrument dealer, and a self-taught amateur musician—Fritz Busch was born in Siegen, Westphalia, on 13 March 1890. Two of his brothers also achieved world renown as musicians: Adolf, violinist and composer, and cellist Hermann. Already a proficient pianist as a young child, Fritz Busch attended the Cologne Conservatory from 1906 to 1909, studying piano with Karl Boettcher and conducting with Fritz Steinbach. Immediately after graduating he conducted at the Deutsches Theater in Riga. The following year he was conductor of the spa orchestra in Bad Pyrmont, and in the winter months director of the Musikverein in Gotha. In 1911 he married Grete Boettcher, the niece of his piano teacher, and in 1912 he was appointed Music Director of the city of Aachen. His work in Aachen was interrupted by the First World War, in which he served as a soldier. From 1918 to 1922 he conducted in Stuttgart, before being called to the Sächsische Staatsoper in Dresden. Until 1933 Fritz Busch led the Sächsische Staatskapelle in over 1000 opera and concert performances. In addition to championing the then practically unknown works of Giuseppe Verdi, he was also an open-minded supporter of the musical avant-garde of the 1920s. Richard Strauss was so delighted with the world premieres of his operas Intermezzo and Die Aegyptische Helena, that he dedicated his Arabella to Fritz Busch and Dresden’s Intendant Dr. Alfred Reucker. In 1924 the Bayreuth Festival reopened after a ten-year hiatus, with Fritz Busch conducting Die Meistersinger. He was also a frequent guest conductor in New York, Berlin, Leipzig, Salzburg, and other European music centers. Because Fritz Busch refused to collaborate with the National Socialists, he was driven out of the Staatsoper in Dresden in a dramatic episode before a Rigoletto performance on 7 March 1933. He left Germany and found new spheres of activity in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and New York. With his friend, the stage director Carl Ebert, he founded the Glyndebourne Festival, which rapidly achieved world fame. In the fall of 1950 Fritz Busch conducted at the Vienna State Opera, and was asked to become its musical director. Only in 1951 did he return to Germany. He was so enthusiastically received in Cologne and Hamburg that he believed it was possible to build new bridges to a new Germany. But unfortunately this was never to happen. After a successful season in Glyndebourne and a guest appearance in Edinburgh, Fritz Busch died in London on 14 September 1951.

Lia Frey-Rabine, 1996

The Teatro Colón’s performance of Strauss’s Der Rosenakvalier was recorded on 20 September 1936, just two days prior to recording Wagner’s Parsifal. This is, undoubtedly, the earliest known live recording of Der Rosenkavalier and it is fascinating from several standpoints. Although the voices of Tiana Lemnitz and Alexander Kipnis are familiar to most operatic collectors, this is the only recording where they can be heard in their complete roles as Octavian and Ochs. This recording also gives us the opportunity to hear other well known singers, namely Germaine Hoerner, who otherwise made no commercial recordings. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this performance, however, is Fritz Busch’s compelling and delightfully idiosyncratic handling of the score, so temperamentally opposite to his conducting of Mozart in those vaunted Glyndebourne recordings from the same period. The only really unsatisfying feature of this performance is that it is so heavily cut in all three acts, about 30 minutes in all. The cuts range in size from a few bars to several pages, and one can only speculate as to why they might have been made. It should be mentioned, though, that the practice of making cuts in Der Rosenkavalier was customary at this time, even in German houses.

The details surrounding the recording of these 1936 Teatro Colón productions are, at best, sketchy. During the fall of 1936, four operas were recorded: Parsifal, Der Rosenkavalier, Lohengrin, and Der fliegende Holländer. No one is certain as to exactly why these recordings were made and why other operas during that season were not transcribed. What is certain is that these four operas are the earliest recordings emanating from the stage of the great Teatro Colón. The recordings were all made on sixteen-inch, aluminum-based, lacquer-coated discs, using two turntables running at approximately 33 rpm. I have been told that the recording equipment was located in the basement of the Colón and that three microphones were used, one above the orchestra, a second above the front of the stage, and a third over the rear of the stage.

The balance in this recording of Der Rosenkavalier favors the orchestra to a great degree, but the singers are almost always audible. Fortunately, the recording technician made very few adjustments in sound level during the performance. Consequently, there were only a few places where I needed to make sudden level compensations. The recording is not without flaw, however, and there are two serious lacunae that I must mention. For unknown reasons, the final ten bars of Act One and the final two bars of Act Two are missing from the recording. The technician simply aborted the recording process before the music had ended. In order to maintain continuity, I have inserted the appropriate music from a 1939 performance conducted by Artur Bodanzky. Another small flaw in the recording occurs during the changes from one side to another. At these points, there is about a quarter second of missing music, which made it impossible for me to join the sides seamlessly.

In remastering this recording, my first task was to eliminate as much surface noise as possible without compromising the sound on the original discs. This was accomplished by carefully cleaning the discs and by keeping them wet during play-back. I also found that using several different sizes of styli on different portions of the discs produced an enormous sonic improvement. I next attempted to remove many hundreds of clicks and pops which afflict this recording. CEDAR technology proved to be a tremendous help in this process, but many pops still had to be manually removed. Finally, while transferring each side I noticed some pitch instability due to slight speed fluctuation on the original discs. Throughout the remastering process, I made careful adjustments in speed in order to keep the pitch as constant as possible.

This recording of Der Rosenkavalier possesses remarkable sound for its time and one truly does have the feeling of actually being in a seat at the Colón. The next opera in this series that I plan to issue is Wagner’s Lohengrin, featuring Germaine Hoerner, Rene Maison, and Alexander Kipnis, with Fritz Busch conducting.