Beethoven, Fidelio, A. Denoke, J. Villars, A. Held, T. Quasthoff, Berlin Philharmonic, S. Rattle
(re-released on November 11, 2008)
EMI 2 17630 2 | 110'10"
Paul Robinson, Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio
Angela Denoke has had her detractors, in this role and others, although her coverage at Ionarts has been generally positive. Still, for power, pitch accuracy, and overall beauty of tone (in spite of a lovely "Komm, Hoffnung") there are far better Leonoras out there, like Christine Brewer (in either German or English), Christa Ludwig (stupendous), Birgit Nilsson (impeccable), Gwyneth Jones (intense), Elisabeth Söderström (at Glyndebourne with Bernard Haitink at the helm), Hildegard Behrens, Deborah Voigt, and the upcoming re-release of Jessye Norman from Decca. Regrettably, there are better Florestans than Jon Villars, too: a young Jonas Kaufmann in a Zurich DVD conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Ben Heppner before the cracks in the Met DVD with Karita Mattila. A truly excellent recording will cost more, and Rattle's version cannot complete against, for example, Mackerras's historical instruments recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, not to mention classics by names like Klemperer (above all, by most accounts) and, roughly in this order, Furtwängler, and Kleiber (with room further down the list for Böhm, Karajan, and Solti).