Strauss: Die Fledermaus
Clemens Krauss
Catalogue No.

Still considered by many to be the finest recording ever made of the jewel in Viennese operetta: ‘Die Fledermaus’ was one of a trio of Strauss-family recordings made by Clemens Krauss for Decca in the early 1950s. Like ‘Der Zigeunerbaron’ (482 7371) and his New Year Concerts (482 7364), it is now reissued by Eloquence, in a new remastering and with fresh editorial retrospectives on the special chemistry between composer, conductor and orchestra.

At the time of its premiere in 1885, ‘Die Fledermaus’ attracted censure – and was given a run of only sixteen performances – for singing the praises of champagne while many of the inhabitants of Vienna were starving or on the breadline. Today, however, the piece delights audiences worldwide, above all when it is celebrated in a performance by its native interpreters, the Vienna Philharmonic with Clemens Krauss conducting. Krauss was able to claim that he had been gently rocked and swayed to the sound of this orchestra even before he was born; his mother was a dancer with the Vienna court ballet, not yet seventeen years old at the time of his birth in Vienna in 1893. Before he was 30 he had conducted ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ at the State Opera; Strauss himself was co-director of the house at the time, and came on stage to tell Krauss, ‘Consider yourself engaged forthwith.’

When Decca made this recording in September 1950, the city and its inhabitants were still recovering from wartime privations just as Strauss’s first audience had been. Krauss himself had worked with the Philharmonic throughout the war, and he cast this ‘Fledermaus’ from among his circle of friends in Vienna: Wilma Lipp, Julius Patzak, Alfred Poell and Kurt Preger, all local singers, in command of Vienna’s particular dialects of speech and song.


Die Fledermaus

Gabriel von Eisenstein: Julius Patzak
Rosalinde: Hilde Gueden
Dr. Falke: Alfred Poell
Adele: Wilma Lipp
Prinz Orlofsky: Sieglinde Wagner
Frank: Kurt Preger
Alfred: Anton Dermota
Dr. Blind: August Jaresch

Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Clemens Krauss

Recording information

Recording Producer: Victor Olof
Balance Engineer: Cyril Windebank
Recording Location: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria, 16–22 September 1950
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original Decca LP Release: LXT 2550–51


‘This 1950 ‘Fledermaus’ has consistently rated at the top of all performances. Clemens Krauss is simply the finest-ever conductor of the Viennese waltz genre. There is a joie de vivre here, despite the grimness of life in occupied Vienna in 1950, that hasn’t been equalled elsewhere. Also, the soloists are among the finest Vienna has produced and are all first-class.’ Fanfare magazine, Nov/Dec 1992