Among the legendary opera singers of the post-war era was Lisa Della Casa, one of the few internationally known musical stars produced by the little country of Switzerland and a member of the exceptional Mozart ensemble built up by the Vienna State Opera. For opera-goers on both sides of the Atlantic, she was the first choice as the Countess in ‘Figaro’ and Donna Elvira in ‘Don Giovanni’ but with a voice which the Italians would class as lirico-spinto, she commanded a number of verismo roles.
For a singer of her eminence, Lisa Della Casa made relatively few records. Central to her discography were the three Mozart–Da Ponte operas, recorded in Vienna in 1955 for the composer’s bicentenary the following year with three of the most eminent Mozart conductors of the time – Karl Böhm (‘Così fan tutte’), Erich Kleiber (‘Le nozze di Figaro’) and Josef Krips (‘Don Giovanni’); all three recordings have become benchmarks for these works and all three are highlighted in this collection. As was often the custom when she was recording, the arias from Handel’s ‘Giulio Cesare’ are sung in German.
The 1949 recordings (Cherubino’s aria sung in German) are released on Decca CD for the first time.
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV17:
Hast du mich ganz berauscht?
Es blaut die Nacht
Breite aus, die gnäd’gen Hände
Weine nur, klage nur
Heil und sicher kam mein Nachen
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Don Giovanni, KV 527:
Ah, fuggi il traditor
In quali eccessi – Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata, KV 540c
Crudele! … non mi dir
Così fan tutte, KV 588:
Temerare! Sortie … Come scoglio
Ei parte … Per pieta, ben mio, perdona
Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492:
Cosa mi narri … Canzonetta sull’aria (with Roberta Peters, soprano)
E Susanna non vien … Dove sono i bei momenti
Die Zauberflöte, KV 620: Ach, ich fühl’s*
Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492: Voi che sapete*
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Lisa Della Casa, soprano
*FIRST RELEASE ON DECCA CD
Recording Producers: unknown (14, 15); Peter Andry (1–10, 13); Ray Minshull (11, 12)
Balance Engineers: unknown (14, 15); James Brown (1–13)
Recording Locations: Victoria Hall, Geneva, November 1949 (14, 15); Redoutensaal, Vienna, Austria, May 1955 (9, 10), 6–21 June 1955 (6, 7), June 1955 (13); Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, June 1956 (1–5, 8), June 1958 (11, 12)
Remastering Engineers: Chris Bernauer, Ben Wiseman
‘beautifully sung, with much warmth and a good deal of style’ (Handel arias) Opera on Record: Vol. 2
‘she sings “Non mi dir” very expressively and with well-shaped and clean fioriture … her Fiordiligi aria is touchingly done and well in character’ Gramophone