Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
Karl Böhm
Catalogue No.

Karl Böhm’s only studio version of this work was recorded in 1958. When Deutsche Grammophon originally planned the recording, there were already two rival versions on the market: the Decca recording under Erich Kleiber and EMI’s version under Herbert von Karajan. Karajan’s recording was made in December 1956 and should have included Irmgard Seefried as Octavian and Rita Streich as Sophie but in both cases cast changes became necessary: Seefried was replaced by the young Christa Ludwig, and pregnancy forced Rita Streich to withdraw. As a result, Deutsche Grammophon was able to use both these singers for its own recording exactly two years later. It boasts a wonderful cast with the full-throated Marianne Schech as the Marschallin, Irmgard Seefried bringing a range of colour to the ‘trouser’ role of Octavian, Rita Streich light and exquisite as Sophie and a rounded, lyrical portrait of Faninal from Fischer-Dieskau. The recording also reunited Böhm with his ‘old’ orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, an orchestra often referred to as the ‘Zauberharfe’ or ‘Magic Harp’ for the fluent and airborne quality of its sound.


Der Rosenkavalier

The Marschallin: Marianne Schech
Baron Ochs of Lerchenau: Kurt Böhme
Octavian: Irmgard Seefried
Herr von Faninal: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Sophie: Rita Streich
Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin: Ilona Steingruber
Valzacchi: Gerhard Unger
Annina: Sieglinde Wagner
Chor der Staatsoper Dresden
Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden
Karl Böhm

Recording information

Executive Producer: Professor Elsa Schiller
Recording Producers: Wolfgang Lohse
Balance Engineer: Heinrich Keilholz
Editing: Hans-Peter Schweigmann
Remastering: Emil Berliner Studios
Recording Location: Lukaskirche, Dresden, Germany, December 1958


‘These [singers in this Böhm recording] make probably the best-matched cast in any modern recording [of Rosenkavalier]. This is a performance in the best Straussian tradition, which is not surprising since Karl Böhm is conducting the Saxon State Orchestra of Dresden, the home of Strauss’s operas until Munich took over.’ Music on Record

‘Seefried is essential listening for lovers of great singing’ The Guardian

‘If you want a Rosenkavelier that bubbles along with joy and that captures the touching quiet passages in a way that conveys the compassion and the ripe 1910 Vienna character of this work then there really is no other recording that’s even worth considering’ review

‘Schech is a wonderful Marschallin, verbally acute without tipping over into the overemphasis of Schwarzkopf … Rita Streich [sings with] marvellous verbal acuity … Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a very young Faninal but his singing is simply wonderful.’ Fanfare